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Blackburn Rovers 0-0 PNEWFC (Blackburn win 3-2 on pens)

27 February 2015

Preston North End Women were knocked out of the Lancashire County Cup at the semi-final stage on Wednesday night after losing on penalties against Blackburn Rovers Ladies.

The game was being replayed after both sides fielded an ineligible player in the original game and the two teams couldn’t be separated in normal time so it was penalties to decide the winner of the tie.

And it was former PNE player Lynda Shepherd who sealed Rovers’ progression into the final with their fifth and final penalty.

PNE started the game the better of the two sides and created a pair of chances within the opening ten minutes.

Sarah Chadwick headed narrowly wide from Alice Forshaw’s cross before Jade Parker was denied by a great save from Rovers goalkeeper Gemma Jackson.

Blackburn slowly came into the game as the first half progressed and created their first chance in the 25th minute.

Sophie Jones whipped a free kick to the near post and Vicky Westerman rose highest but headed wide of Danielle Brown’s post.

The attacking duel between the two sides continued and PNE’s Chelsea Flanagan saw her header cleared off the line before Brown tipped away Jess Holbrook’s long range effort to ensure the two teams went into the break at 0-0.

The second half seemed to slip into a lull almost straight away as both teams were involved in a midfield battle to protect their own backline.

Flanagan thought she had opened the scoring for the Lilywhites in the 57th minute but Jackson prevented it hitting the back of the net at the last second.

As time ticked towards the full time whistle both Blackburn and PNE were hesitant in throwing bodies forward in fear of conceding a late goal.

The final chance of the game in the fifth minute of added time fell to PNE captain Laura Walker who tried her luck from forty yards but saw her effort drift just wide to set up another penalty shootout.

It was Walker who was up first in the shootout and she smashed PNE into the lead with a powerful shot that hit the back of the net via the crossbar.

Nicky Twohig stepped up to take Rovers’ first penalty and she levelled the scores despite the best efforts of Brown.

The returning Paige Forster aimed her penalty for the bottom left hand corner and saw it beaten away by Jackson before Rovers’ skipper Amie Fleming hit her penalty high over the bar.

Alice Forshaw, who scored in the previous shootout against Rovers, was up next for PNE but also saw her penalty saved by Jackson.

Sophie Flynn had the chance to put Rovers in the lead but followed her captain as she smashed her penalty over the crossbar.

PNE’s top goalscorer Flanagan took the fourth penalty as she went for power over placement but couldn’t convert as it clipped the bar and went over.

Rovers then took the lead for the first time in the shootout as Jess Holbrook sent Brown the wrong way.

18-year-old Holly Rawcliffe knew that if she missed her penalty, PNE would be out, and she shunted the pressure by burying the ball in the bottom corner to make it 2-2.

Former PNE midfielder Lynda Shepherd then took Rovers’ fifth and final penalty as she copied Rawcliffe by burying it into the bottom corner to send PNE out at the semi-final stage.

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