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Report: Rovers Ladies 0-1 Birmingham City Women

The Blues were narrowly beaten by Birmingham City in the Conti Cup

7 October 2020

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A late goal saw Rovers Ladies fall to defeat against Birmingham City Women in the Continental League Cup Group Stage on Wednesday evening.

Claudia Walker's 84th minute winner proved to be the difference between the two sides, but Rovers took their Barclays FA Women's Super League opponents all the way on a wet and windy night at Bamber Bridge.

Gemma Donnelly made three changes to the side that beat Crystal Palace with Alex Brooks deputising for Fran Bentley in goal and Leah Embley handed her first Rovers start. 

Full-back Chelsey Jukes returned to the starting 11, with Aimee Hodgson and Kayleigh McDonald making way.  

There was a place on the bench for new recruit Maria Edwards, signed on loan from Manchester United. 

The Blues more than held their own in the opening stages and could have taken an early lead when Elise Hughes closed down City's debutant 'keeper Danielle Kosinska and deflected her clearance narrowly wide of goal.

City midfielders Mollie Green and Connie Scofield both saw efforts fail to hit the target, before Brooks did well to hold Harriett Scott's attempt after Jukes made a crucial intervention in the box.

Rovers carried their own threat and when Jukes found Hughes, she flicked the ball on for Saffron Jordan, who saw her fierce shot eventually held by Kosinska.

Scofield had two more opportunities before the break, shooting wide and heading over, while Natasha Fenton's free-kick had to be dealt with by the visitors' 'keeper. 

Then came the best opening of the match for City, as Abbi Grant beared down on goal and was ready to strike, until Charlotte Newsham's perfectly timed last-ditch tackle prevented a scoring opportunity. 

Back at the other end, the ball sat up for Jordan to hit from range, but she failed to trouble Kosinska.

Chances were few and far between in the second-half. Grant did have the ball in the net for the away side, but the offside flag was already up, denying City the opener. 

Rovers then threatened through the lively Aimee Hodgson, but Birmingham captain Scott made a sliding tackle to prevent her pulling the trigger. 

Again City were off target as both Green's free-kick and Christie Murray's half-volley sailed over the crossbar. 

However, danger signs were there for Rovers when Brooks had to produce a sharp diving save to keep out Walker, and the substitute would not be stopped a second time. 

She broke free of the Rovers defence and curled the ball inside the near post from the edge of the area, with Brooks off her line trying to close down the danger. 

The hosts mustered up a golden opportunity to level and take the game to a penalty shootout but Ellie Stewart's header was cleared off the line before Hughes' effort was also blocked on the goal line. 

Birmingham managed to survive to keep a clean sheet and take three points from the opening match, sitting top of Group E.  

Next up, on Sunday, Rovers travel to face Lewes in the Championship (12pm kick-off). 

ROVERS: Brooks; Jukes, Richards, Stewart, Newsham; Embley (Hodgson 56), Fenton (Montgomery 90+2'), Doyle (Edwards 56), Fletcher; Jordan (C) (Walters 66), Hughes.

Unused subs: Bentley, Bradley, Dykes, Boydell. 

Referee: Christina Hattersley

HT: 0-0


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