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Ladies suffer cup heartache

6 March 2017

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Rovers missed on a place in the FA Women's Premier League final after a 4-3 extra-time defeat by Charlton Athletic.

After the match ended 2-2 after 90 minutes, the Addicks struck twice in added time and although Rovers, who finished the tie with only nine players, pulled a goal back, it wasn't to be for Gemma Donnelly's side.

Rovers struck the crossbar early on when a Danielle Whitham centre bounced off the woodwork, but with half-time approaching it was the home side who grabbed the opener.

It was an impressive strike from Kit Graham who spun her marker outside the area before lashing home from 25-yards.

1-0 at the break, it was soon 2-0 as the second half got underway. Gemma Shepherd with a smart finish after cutting in from the flank.

It could have been worse for the Rovers as keeper Danielle Hill brought down Avilla Bergen in the box, but Gemma shepherd put the penalty wide of goal.

Boosted by that let-off Rovers grew in confidence and pulled a goal back on 75 minutes when Saffron Jordan headed home a wonderful cross by substitute Alex Taylor.

And with four minutes of the match remaining Rovers ensured the game would go to extra-time when Jordan was felled in the area by the Charlton keeper. Captain Lynda Shepherd stepped up and smashed the ball home to make it 2-2.

However, with Rovers having made all of their subs, they would have to start extra-time a player light as Emma Rankin was unable to continue due to injury.

Despite Charlton having a numerical advantage there was little between the two sides as both had chances to take the lead in an open start to the extra-time period. Jess Holbrook going close for Rovers, whilst Hill made an important stop at the other end.

But with penalties looking likely it was the home side who grabbed a 3-2 lead on 115 minutes when a cross from Stefanie Simmons flew over Hill and into the net.

Pushing for another leveller, Rovers were caught on the break, and although Hill made three consecutive saves, Simmons eventually forced home her second of the game to put daylight between them.

To their credit the Rovers Ladies continued to press and grabbed a third goal as Jordan smashed home Taylor's centre, but as Ellie Stewart was red carded for a second bookable offence, the final whilst blew to signal the end of their cup hopes.

ROVERS: Hill, Pearson, Cook, Stewart, Bickett (sub Fenton 56 mins), Shepherd, Holbrook, McCoy (sub Taylor 56 mins), Toone (sub Rankin 78 mins) Jordan, Whitham.

Subs not used: McDonald

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