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Blackburn Rovers Res 6 Bradford City Res 0
Blackburn Rovers Reserves lifted the FAWPL Reserve Section League Cup with a comprehensive 6-0 win over Bradford City Reserves at Hednesford Town F.C.
Player of the match Leah Foster scored four as Rovers dominated after a bright opening from Bradford, playing in their third successive Reserve Cup Final. Resolute in defence with pace and variety in attack, Blackburn gave a complete performance but the Bantams never gave in despite playing virtually the whole second half with ten players after a very unfortunate injury to half time sub Laura Gadd who was stretchered off within two minutes of the restart.
Bradford had the first meaningful effort on goal, Jess Graham going close from 25 yards and the action was end to end for the first 25 minutes. Foster gave notice of her threat on 14 minutes, breaking clear but shooting wide under pressure from advancing keeper Kate Rawthore.
Laura Elford, who had a fine match for Bradford, cleverly worked a chance before volleying wide but it was a disputed free kick wide on the left which brought the opener, Emily Hockenhull heading in from close range on 26 minutes.
Foster doubled the lead on 33 minutes with a crisp finish from a tight angle. Bradford went close from an Elford free kick before Foster added a crucial third close to the break, again beating a defender before drilling home a powerful effort to Rawthore's left side on 42 minutes.
Little went right for Bradford on the restart, going down to ten players then conceding an unfortunate fourth when Rawthore's clearance from a low cross hit Foster and rebounded home for her hat-trick. Within a minute the same player was through again on goal and finished calmly on 58 minutes for 5-0. Rawthore denied Neeve Hulton with a fine save and then did the same when Ria Montgomery got through on goal on 62 minutes as Blackburn threatened to run riot.
Happily, Bradford were able to stop the flow of chances to avoid an embarrassing scoreline. They had moved the ball well at times and were able to threaten Katie Maher's goal several times in the latter stages but Blackburn defenders were alert and snuffed out the danger. The most threatening moments for the Bantams came from corners but it was Blackburn who found a late sixth goal, Foster turning provider with a cross well finished under pressure by Hockenhull for her second on 88 minutes.
Whilst Foster was outstanding with her movement and finishing skills, Blackburn's win was truly a team effort with fine performances all over the pitch and they deservedly earend the club's first FAWPL Reserve Section League Cup win.
Blackburn Rovers: Katie Maher, Katie Samuels, Kerry Hope, Neeve Hulton, Demi Deveraux, Nimh O'Dea, Ria Montgomery, Alice Adams, Abby Bennett, Emily Hockenhull, Leah Foster. Subs: Lucia Chichirillo, Georgia Lambe, Charlotte Healey, Zaynab Hafeji.
Bradford City: Kate Rawthore, Katy Woodcock, Laura Midgley, Joely Ruse, Antonia Butcher, Amee Ruszkai, Jess Graham, Laura Elford, Zoe Roberts, Keavy Smith, Faye Boshell. Sub: Laura Gadd.
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
Photos by www.jamesprickett.co.uk:
(top) Katy Woodcock in pursuit of Emily Hockenhull
(middle) Zoe Roberts slides in to tackle Ria Montgomery
(bottom) Blackburn Rovers with the trophy
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