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Bristol Academy 1 (Fishlock 45)
Lincoln Ladies 2 (Clarke 41,76)
Jess Clarke scored twice as Lincoln Ladies booked their place in the last four of the Continental Cup with a 2-1 win at Stoke Gifford.
A sublime second half strike by the England winger settled matters for the Lady Imps in an often niggly affair against a below par Bristol Academy side who were reduced to ten players when defender Jade Radburn was sent off for a professional foul.
The opening minutes of the game were largely uneventful and it seemed that the best way of finding a goal would be from a set piece. Leandra Little was heavily involved at both ends, firstly the converted striker headed wide from a Sue Smith corner and four minutes later she was on hand to make a vital clearance to prevent Anouk Hoogendijk forcing home a corner taken by Corinne Yorston.
Academy were handed a great chance to take the lead as a poor clearance from Nicola Hobbs went straight to Helen Bleazard, whose pass left Lillie Billson in front of goal but Hobbs atoned for her error by making a save. Billson's resulting heavy challenge on Hobbs led to a flashpoint as Casey Stoney pushed her away - both players were booked but both could have seen red.
Chances remained at a premium for both teams; Little sent a left foot shot over the bar after exchanging passes with Lucy Staniforth and Jessica Fishlock fired over from the edge of the area for Academy.
The deadlock was broken four minutes before half time as a Lincoln corner was cleared as far as Mel Sutcliffe who fed Stoney on the right. Stoney did well to beat Yorston before drilling in a low centre, Clarke and Megan Harris both slid in with Clarke getting the final touch past Siobhan Chamberlain.
Academy responded well to the setback and were almost back on terms as Fishlock, who was involved in most of her team's best moves, sliding a pass to Bleazard whose shot was saved by Hobbs. The ball was won back by Academy and this time Hoogendijk found Fishlock who took one touch before sending in a shot which Hobbs got a hand to but could not keep out and the scores were level at the break.
The early chance of the second half went to Academy as a loose pass from Sophie Bradley went straight to Ann Marie Heatherson who fired her shot just over, but once again neither team looked seriously threatening at this point.
The turning point came on the hour mark as Clarke produced a good piece of skill to get past Radburn and she raced through on goal before being clipped from behind by the Academy defender who was shown the red card.
Smith almost put Lincoln back in front from the resulting free kick but her well struck shot was tipped over the bar by Chamberlain.
Lincoln tried to press home their one player advantage and Academy were tested by a number of dangerous corners from Smith but Chamberlain dealt well with the inswinging kicks, punching away on a number of occasions.
However it was a short corner which led to Lincoln regaining the lead, the Academy defence was caught out as Smith fed Sutcliffe who in turn slid the ball across the edge of the area for Clarke to lob home a delighful shot into the top corner, giving Chamberlain no chance.
Academy were almost back on terms as Bleazard intercepted a poor clearance and cut in from the left but her shot was narrowly past the post. Fishlock fired a left foot shot wide and Grace McCatty saw an effort blocked but the home side struggled to break down a strong Lincoln defence and Lincoln ran the clock down to see out the victory.
Bristol Academy: Siobhan Chamberlain, Grace McCatty, Corinne Yorston, Anouk Hoogendijk, Jade Radburn, Jemma Rose, Helen Bleazard, Katie Daley (sub Molly Clark 81mins), Ann Marie Heatherson (sub Loren Dykes 81mins), Jessica Fishlock, Lillie Billson (sub Jaz Matthews 56mins).
Lincoln Ladies: Nicola Hobbs, Mel Sutcliffe, Rachel Daly, Lucy Staniforth, Casey Stoney, Sophie Bradley, Megan Harris, Sue Smith (sub Sophie Barker 83mins), Leandra Little, Remi Allen, Jess Clarke. Subs not used: Bonnie Horwood, Carla Cantrell.
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