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Blackburn Rovers 0-0 PNEWFC (Blackburn Win 3-2 On Pens)

29 January 2015

PNE Women were knocked out of the Lancashire County Cup in the cruelest way with a 3-2 defeat on penalties against Blackburn Rovers Ladies on Wednesday.

In wintry conditions, the two sides drew a blank in normal time before Rovers sealed progression into the final after Yasmine Swarbrick saw her penalty saved by Gemma Jackson.

The first half was a close affair with neither team creating many noteworthy chances.

Swarbrick had the first chance of the game after cutting in off the wing but saw her shot parried away by Jo Hutcheson.

Rovers started to come into the game more as the first half progressed and forced Danielle Brown into her first save in the 17th minute when she denied Karen Boyle before Rovers winger Danielle Sheen hit the outside of the post.

Manager Luke Podmore was forced into an early substitution midway through the first half when Nikki Emery was forced off with a hamstring injury in the 25th minute and she was replaced by Holly Rawcliffe.

Brown was called into action again seven minutes from the half-time whistle to prevent Rovers opening the scoring.

A corner bounced kindly to Nicky Twohig and Brown produced a fantastic one handed save to tip her effort over from six yards out.

As the conditions worsened, the game became more open with chances being created at either end in the second half.

Stand in centre back Jade Parker threw herself in front of Danielle Sheen's shot before PNE's biggest chance of the game came about in the 65th minute.

Chelsea Flanagan picked up the ball just inside the Rovers half and drove towards their defence before playing in Sarah Chadwick.

The 17 year old striker got into the box and attempted to fire past Hutcheson but was denied by a good save down low to her left and the danger was cleared.

Four minutes later England U17 international Georgia Stanway nearly opened the scoring for Rovers but she was unable to get her shot on target after taking on three PNE players before she forced Brown to tip her shot around the post.

Rovers’ goalkeeper Hutcheson was called into action again in the 82nd minute to once again deny Chadwick after she intercepted a misplaced back pass.
That proved to be one of her last moments in the game as two minutes later she was forced off with an injury after coming off worse in a challenge with Chadwick.

Hutcheson was replaced by former Liverpool goalkeeper Jackson and she was tested just a couple of minutes after coming on.

Swarbrick broke into the area on the right hand side and drove an effort towards the far corner but saw her shot tipped around the post by the fingertips of Jackson.

With penalties looming manager Podmore brought Keeleigh Savage on for Chadwick with Savage making her first appearance of the season after being ruled out since pre-season with a hamstring injury.

Savage couldn't make an impact on the game however, and the full-time whistle sounded shortly after she came on and the tie was to be settled on penalties.

The home side took the first penalty and Twohig sent the ball into the bottom corner for the advantage.

Laura Walker stepped up for PNE but saw her effort saved by Jackson to give Rovers the advantage after one penalty each.

16 year old centre of excellence striker Stanway was up next for Rovers and she saw her effort saved by Brown to leave Savage with a chance of levelling the scores.

However Jackson guessed the right way to keep Rovers in the lead.

Brown once again performed her heroics to save Amie Fleming's penalty before Flanagan slotted her spot kick into the bottom corner to make it 1-1 after three penalties.

Former PNE player Sophie Jones put Rovers in front with their fourth penalty and it was matched as full back Alice Forshaw expertly placed her penalty out of Jackson’s reach to make it 2-2.

Another former PNE player, Lynda Shepherd, stepped up to take Rovers fifth penalty in the shootout to restore Rovers' advantage to leave PNE with the situation of score or go out.

Swarbrick was up next for North End but she saw her effort saved by the legs of Jackson to send Rovers into the Lancashire County Cup final.

The night may have ended in disappointment for PNE but there were plenty of positives to take into Sunday's FA Women's Cup Third Round clash with Tottenham Hotspur at Ware FC.

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