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Club News

Ladies reach last four

22 February 2016

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Rovers Ladies booked their place in the semi-finals of the FA Women’s Premier League Cup courtesy of a 4-1 victory at home to Sporting Club Albion.

Sophie Jones scored two and set one up as Gemma Donnelly’s side made it four cup wins on the spin.

Sporting made a flying start and almost opened the scoring after 30 seconds, but their striker fired wide from eight yards.

Rovers’ response was immediate and they broke deadlock with just two minutes on the clock. Jess Holbrook delivered a corner and Jones headed home through the keeper’s legs.

The visitors had another great chance on 12 minutes, but again the Sporting striker fired wide after latching onto a ball over the top.

Rovers made them pay, doubling their advantage on 20 minutes. Alex Taylor delivered a sublime cross from the right and Jones got above her marker to head home.

It was almost 3-0 just before the half-hour mark, but Natasha Fenton’s shot was well saved and Albion halved the deficit 10 minutes later, Trina Greaves finishing off a well-worked move from close range, following a ball inside the full-back.

However, Rovers restored their two-goal lead just before the break. Another Holbrook corner was met by Lynda Shepherd, her initial header was blocked, but she was on hand to poke home the rebound.

After a slow start to the second half, Sporting were gifted a golden chance to reduce the arrears on the hour mark when they were awarded a penalty, but Rovers received a let-off, as the spot-kick was put wide.

Rovers thought they had extended their advantage five minutes later, as Shepherd’s header rattled the bar and the follow-up was fired home, but the goal was disallowed for a foul.

As Sporting threw caution to the wind late on, Rovers looked to hit on the break. Ella Toone came close on 90 minutes, but struck the woodwork, however she did add a fourth with virtually the final kick of the game.

Shepherd took a quick free-kick to Jones, who crossed and the 16-year-old substitute volleyed home from 12 yards out.

Manager Gemma Donnelly said: “We’ve had a number of cup games recently where we’ve come up against lesser opposition, so it was a good opportunity to gauge where we’re at against a team from our division.

“Sporting Club Albion are considered to be title hopefuls as well and we beat them 2-0 earlier in the season, so we knew it was going to be a tough task, but bar the first 10-15 minutes, I felt that we were in control for the majority of the first half and played some really decent attacking football.

“The second half was a much more even encounter. They went for broke early on and made it quite an open game and ultimately we are delighted to progress.

“I must give a special mention to Ella Toone, who has only just returned from California, where she was representing England’s Under-17s and although she only came on for the last 20 minutes, she made a noticeable impact, hitting the post and then scoring the final goal with a sweetly-struck volley.”

ROVERS: Hill, Flynn, Cook, Taylor, Kinvig, Jones, Fenton (Jordan 61), Fleming, Shepherd, Holbrook, Strickland (Toone 71).

Subs not used: Bickett.

Meanwhile, Rovers Ladies Reserves drew 2-2 away to Bradford City to remain top of the (Reserves) Northern Division table.

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