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Foster double secures third spot

24 May 2016

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Leah Foster scored twice as Rovers Ladies beat Newcastle United 2-1 to secure a third-place finish in the FA Women’s Premier League.

Rovers started strongly, with Ellie Cook heading over from a corner on three minutes, before the hosts opened the scoring just two minutes later.

After great play down the right, the ball found its way to the feet of Foster, who fired a low shot past the advancing Newcastle keeper.

Rovers almost doubled their lead just a minute later, as a corner to the back post found Ella Toone, who put the ball into the danger area, but Foster failed to hit the target from close range.

The young forward threatened again just past the half-hour mark, as Saffron Jordan supplied a cross, but Foster couldn’t get enough purchase on the ball and the keeper saved. 

Moments later, Toone tried a dipping volley from 20 yards, which went not too far wide, but three minutes before the break Rovers did add a second. Jess Holbrook played a pass across the edge of the area and Foster fired high into the roof of the net.

However, Newcastle reduced the arrears deep into stoppage time when a free-kick into the box was diverted into her own net by a Rovers player.

Chances were few and far between after the interval. On 68 minutes, a Rovers free-kick on the edge of the box was laid off to Lynda Shepherd, whose shot was blocked and Cara Bickett fired the rebound over the bar.

On 84 minutes, Holbrook tried her luck from long range, but the keeper gathered, and a minute later, Shepherd struck the bar and Ainsley Strickland fired the follow-up over.

As the clock ticked past the 90-minute mark, Foster was inches away from completing her hat-trick, as she dragged her shot just wide from 10 yards out and then straight down the other end, a Newcastle wasted a carbon copy chance to secure a share of the spoils.

"It was a fitting way to finish the season," said Ladies boss Gemma Donnelly.

"I thought the girls put in a professional performance, they put in 100% despite it being the last game and nothing particular to play for.

"We played well, we never really looked threatened, we were very comfortable and sat behind the ball for large spells of the game. We just had to be patient and I thought the girls did well.

"It equals our league position from last season in finishing third, but we got four points more this time. We finished off the season how we want to start the next season.

"I must also add commiserations to the reserve team who were knocked off the top spot to finish second having lead for the majority of the campaign, but well done to them for their season."

ROVERS: Hill, Taylor, Pearson (Flynn 65), Cook, Bickett, Toone (Shepherd 55), Fleming, Holbrook, Fenton (Strickland 55), Foster, Jordan.

Subs not used: Kinvig, Montgomery.

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