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Ladies

Report: Rovers Ladies 0-2 Durham Women

Two second-half strikes proved to be the difference at The Sir Tom Finney Stadium

2 February 2020

Rovers Ladies were beaten 2-0 by Durham Women as two second-half goals handed the visitors all three points at Bamber Bridge.

Eleanor Dale and Molly Sharpe did the damage for the visitors, as Rovers failed to build on the away victory at Charlton last time out. But they remain in seventh position in the Championship table. 

The Blues handed a first league start of the season to Ria Montgomery, while new signing Georgia Walters made the bench. Missy Bo Kearns was also making her home debut for the Blues. 

But Gemma Donnelly was forced into two first-half changes when Lauren Thomas and Ellie Fletcher both went down injured under challenges and had to be replaced. 

It was a lively first 45 minutes with chances coming at either end of the pitch. Nikki Gears had the ball in the Rovers net early on but the linesman’s flag ruled her goal out. 

Gears then tried to turn provider, finding Dale in the middle but she was denied by the post. 

Rovers threatened through Kearns, who curled shot narrowly wide of the far upright. 

The visitors continued to create chances as Sharpe’s header was well saved by Fran Stenson, who was returning between the sticks. 

The England youth international was called upon again, making a diving stop at her near post to deny Dale. 

Kearns then saw an effort blocked by what appeared to be a Durham hand but nothing was given. 

The Blues almost took the lead as some nice interplay on the edge of the box led to Saffron Jordan forcing Megan Borthwick into a smart low save. 

And Natasha Flint made an instant impact, after good skill from Jordan to lose her marker and find the forward, her near post effort was turned behind. 

Rovers didn’t want half-time to come as they pushed for the opener - Natasha Fenton glancing a header wide from Kearns’ corner just before the interval. 

Durham came out of the blocks quickly in the second period and Dale called Stenson back into action straight after the break. 

The Blues still posed a threat at the top end of the pitch. Jordan won the ball back on the edge of the Durham box and then appeared to be taken down in the area but the referee waved away the penalty appeal. 

The Wildcats went close when Stenson tipped Gears’ shot around the post - and a minute later, they broke the deadlock. 

The lively Dale headed in Sharpe’s pinpoint cross, rising highest to give the visitors the lead. 

Dale and Sharpe then both got shots away, but Stenson was equal to them.

Back at the other end, Jordan found space in the box to get her shot away but could only hit the side-netting and when Flint played her in, the offside trap prevented Rovers levelling the scores. 

Two Kearns free-kicks looked to cause the Durham backline problems late one, but Ria Montgomery couldn’t quite get her header on target. 

The away side made the game safe in stoppage time. Sharpe tapped in as Rovers had pushed players forward looking for the equaliser. 

Rovers are next in action away at Coventry United Ladies next Sunday. It’s a 2pm kick-off at the Butts Park Arena. 

ROVERS: Stenson (GK), Jukes, Fenton, Jordan (C), McDonald, Thomas (Taylor 15) (Walters 66), E. Fletcher (Flint 40), Kearns, S. Fletcher, Montgomery, Stewart. 

Unused subs: Perry (GK), Beeley, Chambers-Cook. 

Referee: Amy Barber

HT: 0-0

Attendance: 265


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