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Report: West Ham United Women 3 Rovers Ladies 1

Gemma Donnelly’s side put up a brave fight against the WSL side

3 February 2019

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Rovers Ladies’ SSE Women’s FA Cup journey is over after a 3-1 defeat to Women’s Super League side West Ham United Women at the Rush Green Stadium.

Natasha Flint gave Rovers an early lead before Adriana Leon (2) and Brianna Visalli turned the game on its head and sent the Hammers into the Fifth Round.

It was a valiant effort from the Blues, who play two divisions below their opponents. But there was little to separate the two sides in the first-half, with Rovers more than holding their own against a full-time team. 

There was an early sign of danger when Jane Ross looked to be in on goal, but Chelsey Jukes made a brilliant sliding tackle to prevent her getting a shot away. 

Down the other end, Lagan Makin chipped the ball forward for Flint, but her effort was saved by Anna Moorhouse. 

That was a sign of things to come, as the pair combined once again for the opener. 

Natasha Fenton fed Makin down the left and she used her pace to get past Erin Simon and cross for Flint – who scored at the second time of asking. 

Incredibly, that was her 30th goal of the season, bringing up the milestone in just 20 games. 

In what was the first of many great saves from the Rovers stopper, Danielle Gibbons stood tall to deny Leon, who was through on goal and looked destined to level the scores after a great run into the box. 

The Hammers continued to hammer on the door, but Rovers were standing firm in the face of the pressure – Jukes and Fenton both clearing the ball off the line before Gibbons made another smart save.

The Rovers defence was finally breached right on the stroke of half-time when Leon turned the ball home, despite the best efforts of Charlotte Stuart, after Gibbons had kept out her initial effort. 

That goal was a bitter blow for Rovers, who faced a tough task to keep the home side at bay in the second-half. 

Alisha Lehmann raced through on goal and looked certain to score until Gibbons made a brilliant diving save. 

The Blues’ second-half chances were limited. Substitute Serena Fletcher found Fenton, who played a first-time ball through for Saffron Jordan, but the striker couldn’t quite get on the end of it. 

The winning goal came 20 minutes from time. Gibbons managed to get a hand on Visalli's shot, but it looped over her and into the net. 

Visalli turned provider soon after to score the third and Leon’s second, crossing for the striker to tap in from close range. 

It was no disgrace to lose to West Ham and Rovers can hold their heads up high after a spirited performance. 

ROVERS: Gibbons, Jukes, Taylor (Fletcher 55), Shepherd (C), Stuart, Holbrook, Fenton, Jordan, Flint (Donoghue 82), Makin (Davies 82), McDonald. 

Unused Subs:Size, Pacitto.

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