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Women's Football News
Birmingham City and Blackburn Rovers battled out a 1-1 draw at Redditch on Sunday in an encounter where both sides had to combat the effects of having played big matches late on in the week.
The Blues had fought hard against Arsenal on Thursday night whilst Rovers had been defeated on Friday evening by Combination side Rochdale after extra time and penalties in the Lancashire County Cup Final.
Surprisingly, it was the Northerners who started the sharper, forcing early corners and taking the lead. The goal came when a half cleared corner was crossed back for Riandra Roberts to plant a firm header past Sue Wood as Birmingham struggled to get into any rhythm in the first quarter. Their best effort came from a Becky Hall corner which was met with a delightful cushioned volley by Jo Potter but hit the bar.
The hard, bobbly pitch led to difficulties with control and numerous appeals for handball due to high bounces but the home side started to look more likely to score towards the break as wingers Hall and Danni Bird received more regular service and the impressive Maz Gauntlett was a constant threat up front. At the other end, Katie Anderton missed a good chance to double the lead just before half time shooting wide from ten yards but that was the last time Rovers looked dangerous.
Captain Nat Preston and the back four enabled the lead to be protected well beyond the break and Krystal Parker made several good second half saves from long range efforts by Bird, Potter and Gauntlett. The equaliser was a scrappy affair from a corner on 68 minutes, credited as an own goal by Karen Burke.
Blackburn offered little going forward in the second period as Potter and Heather Scheuber pushed Blues on with clever passing and substitutes, especially Katy Ward, offered fresh threat. Ward used her effective long throw to set up an chance late on but the resulting shot went over. The final opportunity saw a Gauntlett backheel from a shot trickle just wide as Blackburn gained a hard earned point.
Results elsewhere went in both teams' favour, as Birmingham will finish no lower than fifth and have two matches with Doncaster Rovers Belles which may well decide which club takes fourth spot, whilst Blackburn have secured a place in the National Division next season which poor home form had put under slight threat.
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
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