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F.A.Women's Cup - Road to the Final
Whitley Bay ended the challenge of Brighouse Town by beating them 2-1, goals coming from Julie Duggan and Catherine Shields. The win lands the North East League side with a plum home tie against Premier League Blackburn Rovers.
Formed in 1991, Blackburn Rovers enjoyed a glorious rise to the pinnacle of women's football. Under the supervision of the club's Community Department, the ladies team needed only seven seasons to reach the Northern Combination. Following a move to the club's magnificent £20m Brockhall training complex in 2003, Rovers went on to lift the Lancashire Cup and become the first team to win the Northern Combination title with a 100% record.
Rovers then made a massive impact in their first year of Premier League football, narrowly missing out on promotion when ending the season third but an undefeated Rovers side set a Northern Division record in 2005-06, winning 20 of their 22 league games and manager Andy McNally became the first coach from outside the top flight to be named Manager of the Year.
Adam Lakeland became manager in January 2007 and guided them to the F.A.Women's Cup semi finals and a top half finish and they remained in the National Division until relegation in 2011. Last year they finished third in the Northern Division.
This season is seeing Blackburn going through a period of transition under the interim management of Gemma Donnelly, assisted by Amanda Goodwin. Hannah Forster is captain and namesake Nichol Forster is leading scorer and the experience of stalwart Katie Anderton is valuable to the team.
The match takes place at Hillheads Park at 1pm and Blackburn will start as favourties due to league status, but Whitley Bay are unbeaten at home this season and will have their eyes set on an upset.
Whitley Bay (from): Charlotte Furno, Brooke Cochrane, Rachael Cowans, Katie Ellis, Steph Ord, Laura Venison, Hayley Evans, Nic Doyle, Julie Duggan, Nikki Flood, Steph O'Brien, Katie Barnes, Ashley Jackson, Lucy Johnston, Gabby Naughton, Catherine Shields, Stacey Simpson, Kamie Sword, Aimee Gray, Jess Hooper.
Blackburn Rovers (from): Gemma Jackson, Amie Fleming, Helen Seed, Steph Hardy, Victoria Westerman, Hannah Forster, Sara Noori, Nichol Forster, Rio Hardy, Chloe Adams, Katie Anderton, Kelly Bourne, Sophie Flynn, Amy Bland, Lindsay Savage, Jo Hutcheson.
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