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Rotherham United's first appearance in this season's F.A.Women's Cup saw them run out 8-0 home winners over near neighbours Sheffield Wednesday with the result in keeping with the respective positions of the two teams in the women's football pyramid.
It took just under three minutes for Rotherham to open their account. Captain Nat Shaw played a short pass to Lauren Bailey a few yards inside the Wednesday half and she advanced down the right, before knocking a low ball past Wednesday keeper Samantha Casson from the right side of the penalty area. Whether intended as a shot or a pass for a colleague to convert, the outcome was the opener.
It was just the start Wednesday did not want or need if they were to cause an upset. Jade Rabjohn played a ball in low from the left for Shaw to tap in from virtually on the line to double home advantage fourteen minutes later. Shaw could then have added two more, but Casson saved both times.
To Wednesday's credit, they wrested the initiative from their hosts for the last 10-15 minutes of the first half and on another day might well have drawn level, Rotherham twice being reprieved by the woodwork. Jodie Ealand was the first player to be denied and then after fine individual play inside the Rotherham box, Danielle Harrison saw a rising strike tipped onto the bar by Charlie Whiteley.
So, 2-0 at the interval and the next goal would strongly influence the remainder of the game. Wednesday started the second half brightly, but without posing the same threat as they had in the closing stages of the first half.
The key third goal came on 53 minutes. Jen Burke conceded a corner to prevent Shaw getting a cross in. Amy Pollock's delivery eluded Casson with Jess Birtles, who was outstanding at the heart of the home defence, lunging forward to send a diving header into the back of the net.
Three goals then followed at near exact two minute intervals as the hour mark was reached with Rotherham having wrapped the tie up. Pollock got the better of Casson, who had come out to narrow the angle, before netting and she also got the fifth with a dipper from well out on the left wing. Bailey fed Rabjohn to slot home the sixth.
Pollock went close to a hat-trick, while Shaw scorned a few chances before netting twice in quick succession in the last ten minutes to complete her treble.
So, on a day when several FA Women's Premier League teams were the victims of a giant killing, Midlands Division One Rotherham United were the round's third highest scorers, their tally only surpassed by Chorley and Loughborough Foxes and it is to Chorley where Rotherham must travel in the First Round proper.
Rotherham United: Charlie Whiteley, Lauren Bailey, Jessica Birtles, Megan Wilson, Katie Waymouth, Kat Clarke, Leanne Corns, Amy Pollock, Hayley Sloan, Natalie Shaw, Jade Rabjohn. Subs: Helen Roberts, Grace Birchall.
Sheffield Wednesday: Samantha Casson, Jen Burke, Lereece Wilson, Sophie Eyre, Emily Higgins, Emma Otley, Ali Cutting, Jodie Ealand, Emma Briggs, Danielle Harrison. Subs: April Kirk, Natalie Ledger, Holly Barwick, Annalise Carroll.
(Report by Julian Barker)
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