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Haslingden heroes fall just three minutes from Wembley

6 March 2017

Haslingden High School did Blackburn Rovers proud as our representatives in the Kinder +Sport Girls Cup northern finals, but saw their Wembley dream dashed with just three minutes to go.

Playing for a place in the final of the EFL Trust competition - which is held as the curtain raiser to the Checkatrade Trophy final at the national stadium - Rovers led Shrewsbury Town 2-1 with just three minutes to play, knowing that a win would put them through. However, the Shropshire side held their nerve to score three times in as many minutes to seal a 4-2 victory, meaning that the Salop return to Wembley to defend the trophy that they also won last year.
 
It was harsh on a Blackburn team that went through a rollercoaster afternoon at Sheffield Wednesday's Middlewood Road training ground against the other regional finalists, which also included Barnsley and Peterborough United.
 
Consecutive 1-0 wins against the aforementioned pair got the four team tournament off to the perfect start, but a 3-0 defeat against a Shrewsbury side that netted 12 times in their opening three games ended the winning start.
 
Knowing that they would have to try and claim maximum points in the return round of fixtures to stop the seemingly superior Shrewsbury side, hopes looked to have ended when the second clash with Barnsley ended in a bizarre 6-3 defeat - including a fluke goal that bounced in off the curved roof of the indoor arena!
 
However, a stunning fightback secured a 4-3 victory over Peterborough United, and with Shrewsbury having surprisingly only claimed one point from two games, it meant that a Rovers win in the final fixture of the day would take us to the final.
 
Alas, we already know that it wasn't to be, but the determination to fight back was a credit to the blue and white colours, and it was harsh that Barnsley's victory over Peterborough in their final game meant that we had to settle for third place on goal difference, having felt so close to winning the finals day outright with just minutes to go.
 
It means that Blackburn Rovers have taken third place at this stage of the competition for the past two seasons, with Greenbank High School having reached the same stage last season, so it shows the quality of women's football in our region that we can consistently call upon outstanding local sides to represent the club in style when it comes to national competitions.
 
If your high school would like to enter a girls' side into next season's competition - which is open to players in years seven and eight - please contact Andy Aspinall at Blackburn Rovers Community Trust via Andrew.Aspinall@brfctrust.co.uk for further information.

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