Preston North End Women continued their good form of late by beating Blackburn Community Sports Club Women 4-2 in the Argyle Sports Plate Cup.
North End – playing a side in the division above – found themselves two goals up inside the opening half hour, courtesy of Madison Hadley and Beth Wilson, but the visitors fought back to level the scoring.
PNE regained the ascendency in the game’s final stages, though, with Freya Hunt scoring from the spot, before Sam Bell rounded off the scoring.
It was the Lilywhites who started the brighter and created a few early chances before Madison Hadley put them ahead after nine minutes.
The pressure continued and North End missed further opportunities to extend their lead as they dominated, before Beth Wilson put them two up just before the half-hour mark.
Blackburn responded and put the home side under increasing pressure, getting a goal back seven minutes later, and they then levelled the scoring in the opening stages of the second half, with a well-taken finish beating Justine Elliott.
As the game became quite cagey, chances came and went at both ends, with neither side able to make a breakthrough.
That was until late on when PNE grew in confidence and were awarded a penalty after Hadley was brought down in the area, and Hunt made no mistake from the spot to give her side a lead five minutes from time.
Blackburn, on the brink of elimination from the competition, launched a series of attacks as they searched for an equaliser, but the North End backline stood their ground to ensure nothing got past them.
PNE’s progress to the next round was then confirmed with almost the last kick of the game, as Ball – in the sixth minute of added time – found the top corner from outside the area.
Speaking after the match, Co-Manager David Rawcliffe said: “It really was a great team effort and it was so pleasing to see the performance and the intensity today.
“We knew it would be tough against higher league opponents, but we certainly matched them and our possession play at times was fantastic.
“We said to the team after the game that the challenge of having to be mentally strong after being pegged back and responding to that positively was a big plus. The girls should be proud of that performance.”