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Ladies claim Challenge Cup prize

14 April 2015

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Rovers Ladies lifted the Lancashire FA Womens Challenge Cup for the ninth time in their history courtesy of a 3-1 win over Morecambe.

Danielle Sheen opened the scoring, before Sophie Jones bagged a brace, as Gemma Donnelly's side secured the county crown for the first time in three years.

Rovers ended the game with 10 players after Lynda Shepherd saw red and Morecambe grabbed a consolation goal late on, but the night firmly belonged to the team in blue-and-white.

Featuring in the final for the 12th season in succession, Rovers started strongly, with Sheen forcing a smart save from the Morecambe keeper early on, before they took the lead on eight minutes. Sophie Flynn played the ball into the box and Sheen finished low into the corner on the volley from 12 yards out.

Rovers remained in the ascendancy, with Shepherd shooting just wide from the edge of the box, before Sheen shot straight at the keeper and Flynn fired high and wide.

Jess Holbrook went close just past the half-hour mark, but just couldn't get enough bend on the ball, before Sheen was denied by the keeper's legs after being played through on goal.

Their pressure eventually told three minutes before the break when Rovers grabbed a deserved second, in similar circumstances to their first. Holbrook delivered a ball into the box from the right and Jones gave the keeper no chance with a clinical half-volley.

Sheen almost added a third on the stroke of half-time, but her deflected strike was well saved. 

After the interval, an Amie Fleming corner was cleared as far as Shepherd, who forced a smart stop from the keeper and it would prove to be the midfielder's last meaningful involvement, as Shepherd was shown a straight red card soon after.

Despite the player deficit, Rovers extended their advantage just past the hour mark when Jones' strike from the edge of the area squirmed through the goalkeeper's grasp.

Morecambe reduced the arrears 15 minutes from time, but Rovers saw the game out comfortably to claim the county prize.

A delighted Donnelly said: "We were far superior in the first half - we dominated possession, created chances, scored two well-taken goals and could have had a couple more.

"In the second half, the sending off changed the dynamics of the game. We had to game manage the situation, although surprisingly we seemed to create more opportunities, but without converting them.

"Overall, we are pleased to win the competition and have the trophy back for the first time in three years. We knew we would have to graft and everyone put in a shift in order to get a result. It is a good indication of how well the team have performed this season. 

"It has been a brilliant eight days - claiming six points in the league and winning the Lancashire Cup. We've got five games left and the aim now is to finish the season on a high."

ROVERS: Jackson, Shaw, Chandarana, A. Taylor, Westerman (Boyle 64), Fleming, Shepherd, Holbrook, Jones, Flynn, Sheen.

Subs not used: Hutcheson, Bourne.

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