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Bristol Academy are all but through to the last sixteen of the UEFA Women's Champions League after cruising to a 4-0 first leg victory away to Republic of Ireland Champions Raheny Utd in Dublin.
The game was fairly even during the opening stages but the WSL side took a grip on the game just before the half hour mark, when Nikki Watts set up Natasha Harding to score. Academy continued to have the better of things although there were chances at both ends with both goalkeepers being called in action. Watts also hit the post before Academy doubled their advantage with twelve minutes remaining as Harding scored her second goal.
The Welsh international striker went close to a hat-trick as Academy sought more goals and as the game went into injury time, Natalia Pablos Sanchon was brought down in the area by a challenge from Pearl Slattery and Watts slotted home the resulting penalty. Even then, there was still time for Natalia to put them even further ahead on aggregate, scoring the fourth after being set up by Laura Del Rio to make next week's second leg at Ashton Gate little more than a formality.
There is a strong possibility that Bristol Academy will find themselves up against Barcelona in the last sixteen after they won their first leg 1-0 away to Slavia Prague.
Raheny Utd: Niamh Reid-Burke, Keeva Keenan (sub Lauren Dwyer 40mins), Niamh Walsh, Pearl Slattery, Rebecca Creagh, Rachel Graham, Katie McCabe, Noelle Murray, Siobhan Killeen, Danielle Sheehy (sub Clare Shine 55mins), Clare Conlon (sub Sinead O'Farrelly 80mins). Subs not used: Laura Ryan, Catherine Cronin, Ingunn Eiriksdottir, Avril Brierley.
Bristol Academy: Mary Earps, Grace McCatty, Loren Dykes (sub Frankie Brown 88mins), Jaz Matthews, Jemma Rose, Sophie Ingle, Natalia Pablos Sanchon, Angharad James, Natasha Harding, Nikki Watts, Corinne Yorston (sub Laura Del Rio 79mins). Subs not used: Alice Evans, Georgia Evans, Gabriella Bird.
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