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Title joy for Ladies

27 March 2017

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Rovers Ladies secured the FA Women's Premier League North title after a dramatic match with Derby County on Sunday.

Substitute Faye McCoy was the Rovers hero, stepping off the bench to secure a 3-2 victory thanks to an 83rd minute strike.

Lynda Shepherd had fired the hosts in front from the penalty spot, but the Rams turned the game around with goals either side of the break.

Needing just a point to secure the title, Saffron Jordan made it 2-2 just past the hour mark before McCoy struck to send the Rovers ladies into dreamland.

The stage was set at a gloriously sunny Sir Tom Finney Stadium for the Ladies, who knew that if they continued their unbeaten league campaign that it would ensure title success, and they started brightly as Alex Taylor and Saffron Jordan caused early problems for Derby.

However the Rams, who came into the match off the back of a 5-0 thumping of AFC Fylde, weren't without their own opportunities as Melissa Johnson went close.

But on 31 minutes Rovers were handed the chance to open the scoring when Ella Toone was brought down in the area. Lynda Shepherd stepped up and made no mistake from 12-yards. The captain firing into the bottom corner.

Rovers soon had the chance to extend their advantage but Taylor fired straight at the keeper when in on goal.

That missed chance would prove costly as the Rams went up the other end to grab a 38th minute equaliser. A floated cross into the box caught Rovers out and Leanne De Silva headed home at the back post.

The sides were level as the second half got under way but less than two minutes in it was the visitors who got their noses in front. Good work from Nicole Dale saw her tee up Melissa Johnson to fire home.

The Rovers Ladies haven't found themselves behind too often this season, but they showed the required response and got back on level terms on 61 minutes. Top scorer Jordan was played in on goal and she finished nicely.

With 12 minutes to go Rovers threw on Faye McCoy and the Liverpudlian delivered just five minutes later. A corner saw an almighty scramble in the six-yard box with McCoy applying the decisive touch.

The home side needed an instinctive save from Dan Hill to keep out another Johnson effort in the closing stages, but Gemma Donnelly's side saw out the remaining minutes as the final whistle sparked jubilant scenes.

The champagne duly followed as the players celebrated their title success. And on a nice touch at the end, the Derby players formed a guard of honour, applauding the Rovers Ladies as they made their way off the Bamber Bridge pitch.

ROVERS: Hill, Pearson, McDonald, Cook, Whitham, Shepherd, Fenton (sub McCoy 78 mins), Holbrook, Jordan, Toone, Taylor (sub Rankin 75 mins).

Subs not used: Fryer, Bickett.

Pictures courtesy of

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