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Cup despair for Rovers Ladies

7 February 2017

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Rovers ladies suffered their first defeat of the season as they went out of the SSE Women's FA Cup to Tottenham Hotspur.

A late wonder-goal from Spurs striker Bianca Baptiste saw a tight contest settled in the London club's favour in dramatic fashion at Bamber Bridge.

Ella Toone gave Rovers the early advantage with a sixth minute goal, but the visitors were soon level through Baptiste.

With little between the two sides throughout, the game looked to be heading towards extra-time, however the tie was settled in the 93rd minute thanks to a special strike from Baptiste. The Spurs forward grabbing her second of the game with a spectacular effort to send them through.

There was a real cup atmosphere at the Sir Tom Finney Stadium with Rovers impressing from the off.

Just six minutes into the tie the home side got their noses in front. A cross into the box from Danielle Whitham caused the Spurs defence problems, Toone taking full advantage to find the back of the net.

Rovers and Toone then went close to grabbing a second, but the forward fired wide from Saffron Jordan's centre.

It would prove to be a costly miss as the visitors equalised on 16 minutes. Baptiste with a strike from a wide position that flew into the back of the net.

Both sides were eager to get their noses in front before half-time but with defences on top it stayed all-square at the break.

Rovers threatened early after the restart when Toone and Jordan combined to tee up Lynda Shepherd, but the captain's effort sailed over the bar.

But it was always going to be a close match between two sides at the top of their respective leagues and boasting unbeaten records, however it was the visitors who were stronger in the closing stages.

Rovers defender Hannah Fryer had to clear one effort off the line before Spurs clinched the tie with a sensational injury-time strike.

Claiming possession on the left wing, Baptiste tricked her way past a couple of Rovers defenders before unleashing a stupendous effort from the edge of the box that flew into the top corner of Dan Hill's goal. It was a strike worthy of winning any game.

There was no time for a Rovers response as the full-time whistle soon went to signal the end to their unbeaten run as the Spurs Ladies celebrated progress through to the fourth round.

The Rovers Ladies return to the Sir Tom Finney Stadium this Sunday when they face fellow title-challengers Middlesbrough. Kick off at 2pm.

ROVERS: Hill, Pearson, Stewart, Whitham, Cook, Holbrook, Shepherd (c), Fenton, Fryer, Jordan, Toone (sub Rankin 84 mins)

Unused subs: McCoy, Taylor, Montgomery

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