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Ladies bow out of FA Cup

29 February 2016

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Rovers Ladies suffered FA Cup heartache, as they lost 2-1 away to Brighton at the fourth round stage.

Gemma Donnelly’s side were second best in the opening period and fell behind inside three minutes when a shot from the edge of the area caught the wind and flew over Danielle Hill in the Rovers goal.

The hosts remained on top and restricted Rovers to half chances. On 18 minutes, Lynda Shepherd saw a shot saved on the break and 10 minutes later, Sophie Jones fired wide from 18 yards out after getting inside the full-back.

Either side of those chances, Brighton were twice denied by the woodwork. At the midway point in the half, the hosts hit the post and Hill was grateful to see the ball roll back into her arms. Then, just before the break, Brighton again struck the post, before hammering the rebound over the bar.

Rovers were much improved after the interval and were back on level terms just past the hour mark. Saffron Jordan was brought down in the box and Shepherd made no mistake from the spot, sending the keeper the wrong way.

Both sides pushed for a second, with Hill making a point-blank save from a free-kick, before Shepherd had a header cleared off the line.

Then, with 10 minutes remaining, Brighton grabbed the winner in the cruelest of circumstances, as a shot from the edge of the area trickled through Hill’s legs and crept over the line.

There was still time for Rovers to equalise, but Jones put a great chance wide when through on goal, Shepherd then failed to hit the target from a promising position, before Jones saw a shot saved in added time.  

Donnelly said: “Brighton were by far the better team in the first half and we were very lucky to go in only 1-0 down. We couldn’t get to grips with their formation or the conditions, which suited their style of play.

“In the second half, we were by far the better team and created so many clear-cut opportunities, but it just seemed to be one of those days when things didn’t go for us.

“I was pleased with our second-half performance and we gave a good account of ourselves, but football isn’t a 45-minute game. To go out of the competition in the manner that we did is so cruel, but best wishes to Brighton in the next round.”  

ROVERS: Hill, Pearson, Cook, Kinvig, Flynn (Taylor 39), Shepherd, Fleming, Holbrook, Jordan, Strickland (Toone 56), Jones.

Subs not used: Fenton, Bickett.

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