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Shepherd winner nicks all three points

Yet another victory for the Blues as they edge past Middlesbrough

8 October 2018

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Lynda Shepherd’s late goal was enough for Rovers to take all three points against Middlesbrough Women at Bedford Terrace on Sunday afternoon.

After Natasha Flint’s 10th goal of the season was equalled by Boro’s Anna Birtwhistle, it looked as if the Ladies would have to settle for a point in the North East, but captain Shepherd stepped up to make it 2-1 and preserve the Blues’ 100% league record.

Jess Holbrook had Rovers’ first attempt on goal and saw her effort cannon back off the bar.

Rebecca Bass also hit the bar for Boro early on, before Danielle Gibbons made a fantastic low save to deny Tyler Dodds.

Gibbons came to Rovers’ rescue for a second time when Bass got in behind the backline, racing out quickly to pounce on the ball.

The away side piled on the pressure in the closing stages of the first half with Flint’s left-footed strike tipped over the bar by Laura Wareham.

Flint went close again soon after - finding space on the edge of the box and driving a low shot towards goal, but Wareham was on hand to push the ball behind.

Rovers were a constant threat from set pieces but couldn’t find the breakthrough. Natasha Fenton shot directly from a free-kick 35 yards out, but yet again Wareham tipped the ball over.

However, it was from open play that Gemma Donnelly’s side broke the deadlock as Flint made no mistake straight after the restart. Lauren Davies squared her the ball on the edge of the box and the striker clinically fired the ball into the bottom corner.

Davies looked to get on the score sheet herself but after some good build up play her shot sliced off-target.

Flint, a constant threat for the Boro back four, then curled her left-footed effort narrowly wide of the far post.

Out of nothing, Middlesbrough levelled. Birtwhistle swung in a free-kick from just inside Rovers' half that bounced over Gibbons and into the roof of the net.

That goal gave the home side confidence and they went close when Bass played in Dale, but she toe-poked her shot wide of Rovers' goal.

Another great Rovers free-kick - this time from Flint - was tipped onto the bar by Wareham to deny the forward a second. Her strike partner Saffron Jordan then went alone, running at the Boro defence but dragging her shot wide from outside the box.

Boro went straight up the other end but Dodds' shot failed to hit the target.

Rovers really started to apply some pressure as Holbrook forced a smart save out of Wareham, before Flint hit the bar again with a long distance effort.

But Boro could have snatched another but for a brilliant last ditch tackle from Kayleigh McDonald to deny the Teesiders a free shot on goal.

Back at the other end, Jordan and Flint combined in the area but Hutchinson slid in to clear before Rovers could get a shot away.

The visitors’ winner finally came with five minutes remaining. A corner from the right was headed home by captain Shepherd for a dramatic finish to this tight encounter.

Rovers turn their attention to the FAWNL Cup next Sunday when they host Fylde Ladies in the Second Round, (kick off 2pm).

ROVERS: Gibbons (GK), Taylor (Stewart, 85), Shepherd (c), Stuart, Holbrook, Davies, Fenton, Jordan, Flint, McDonald, Walsh.

Unused subs: Brooks (GK), Kennerley.


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