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Ladies

Hill's heroics earns a point

11 April 2016

Danielle Hill was the hero, saving two spot-kicks, as Rovers Ladies came from behind to secure a dramatic 2-2 draw away to Bradford City.

Rovers started the brighter of the two teams, with Jess Holbrook testing the keeper from long range on 14 minutes, before Sarah Danby saw a free-kick tipped onto the bar by Hill and Rachel Lee had an effort cleared off the line by Cara Bickett, as Bradford began to grow into the game.

But after a goalless first half, the game sprung into life at the start of the second when Bradford were awarded a penalty following a foul by Hill, but the keeper made amends by saving the spot-kick brilliantly down to her right.

Moments later, Ella Toone was played clean through, but she shot straight at the keeper, before Bradford were again denied by the woodwork, as a header from a corner hit the bar.

The breakthrough eventually arrived on 58 minutes when Toone delivered a superb deep cross and substitute Sophie Jones rose highest to head home.

Bradford’s task was made harder when they had midfielder Shauna Legge sent off for a second booking, but the hosts were soon awarded a second spot-kick after Bickett was penalised for handball, but again Hill made a superb save to deny Lee once more.

Rovers’ joy was short-lived, however, as Bradford were awarded a third penalty moments later and former Rovers midfielder Danielle Whitham made no mistake from the spot.

Rovers had a glorious chance to retake the lead seven minutes later when Leah Foster raced through on goal and rounded the keeper, but her shot was brilliantly deflected onto the post by a covering defender.

The visitors were made to pay, as Bradford substitute Hannah Campbell fired the hosts in front with a goal on the break, but Lynda Shepherd secured a share of the spoils three minutes from time, heading home from a corner.

Manager Gemma Donnelly said: “It was a fairly evenly-contested first-half, with no clear cut chances at either end, but then the second half was very eventful.

“To concede three penalties and for Bradford to have a player sent off, I’ve not witnessed anything like it. The game had it all. Danielle Hill saved two of the penalties to keep us in contention and Sophie Jones scored a great header to put us in front, but then a catalogue of errors has allowed Bradford back into the game.

“We showed real character to go from being 1-0 up to 2-1 down to score the equalising goal in the 87th minute and whilst it’s a setback for our title hopes, we’ve actually gained ground on second-place Stoke, who we play this weekend. The girls should also take great comfort from the fact that we haven’t lost in the league in over five months.”

ROVERS: Hill, Pearson (Foster 65), Bickett, Cook, Flynn, Shepherd, Holbrook, Fleming, Strickland, Taylor (Jones 46), Toone.

Subs not used: Jordan.

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