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Ladies reach Lancs final

15 February 2016

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Rovers Ladies booked their place in the final of the Lancashire FA Womens Challenge Cup for the 13th season in succession with a 5-1 win over Bolton Wanderers.

Gemma Donnelly's side, who are the current holders, will bid to retain their country crown when they meet Preston North End, who defeated Blackburn Community Sports Club 9-0 in the other semi-final.

Rovers started the game strongly, with Jess Holbrook going close from a free-kick and Natasha Fenton firing just wide from distance early on.

Sophie Jones then had a goal disallowed for handball on the quarter-hour mark, before Rovers opened the scoring two minutes later. Holbrook delivered a dangerous corner and Lynda Shepherd supplied the finish.

Rovers doubled their lead on 24 minutes when Jones slotted past the keeper after a sustained spell of pressure around the box, before Ainsley Strickland almost added a third on the stroke of half-time.

The game was put to bed early in the second half, as Fenton fired Rovers into a 4-0 lead, bagging a quickfire brace with two fine finishes at the back post.

Bolton pulled a goal back just past the hour mark, before substitute Leah Foster completed the scoring 20 minutes from time, rounding the keeper before tucking away her first goal for the club.

Manager Gemma Donnelly said: "We were 2-0 up at half-time, but neither me nor the team were satisfied, because it could and really should have been more. We made our own problems and made it harder work than we should have done.

"We talked about ways to increase the level of our performance and demonstrate our qualities, and within five minutes of the second half, we had scored two goals and put the result beyond doubt, which enabled us to make changes.

"We've played a lot of big games in quick succession and we hold the Lancashire Cup in high regard, so it's great to get to another final and I'm sure it will be a very competitive fixture against Preston. It was also good to get through another 90 minutes without any injuries and to have three of our Under-17s play."

ROVERS: Hill, Taylor, Kinvig, Cook (Bickett 60), Flynn, Jones (Foster 60), Shepherd, Fleming, Holbrook, Fenton, Strickland (Hockenhull 75).

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