Rovers Ladies safely secured their place in the preliminary round of the FA Women’s Premier League Cup courtesy of a convincing 4-0 victory over Stoke City.
Two goals in each half added the gloss to an impressive performance from Gemma Donnelly’s side.
Rovers set the tempo from the off, keeping the ball well and using their pacy frontline to get in behind the Stoke defence.
They opened the scoring on the quarter-hour mark when a throw-in down the right was set back to Alex Taylor, whose cross-shot looped over the keeper and found the bottom corner.
From then, Rovers’ confidence grew, they created further opportunities and doubled their advantage midway through the first half following a quick counter-attack. Sophie Flynn picked up possession down the left, before cutting inside and teeing up Katie Anderton, who smashed a first-time shot into the top corner.
Rovers had goalkeeper Jo Hutcheson to thank for preserving their two-goal lead just before the break, as the Scottish stopper pulled off a world-class save to tip a free-kick onto the bar.
The visitors added a third just past the hour mark when good combination football saw play switched from left to right and then back, before a drilled cross was volleyed home by Sophie Jones.
Stoke piled on the pressure, but Rovers’ back four, marshalled by Lynda Shepherd, dealt with it really well. On one occasion, however, Stoke’s striker found herself one-on-one with Hutcheson, who pulled off another tremendous one-handed save.
Rovers sealed the win late on when Anderton’s right-wing cross was inadvertently sliced into her own net by a Stoke defender.
Assistant manager Amanda Goodwin said: “The girls showed character, belief, more experience in the back four, with Lynda Shepherd dropping back there, and leadership from back to front.
“It was a quality display throughout and a real team performance. We’re growing and gelling and going in the right direction again. We go into Thursday’s derby game against Preston on a high and we’re looking forward to it.”
ROVERS: Hutcheson, Taylor, Shepherd, Chandarana, Shaw, Holbrook, Fleming, Flynn, Jones (Emery 76), Anderton, Sheen.