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Coventry Utd 0
att: 539; at Bradford City F.C.>
Blackburn Rovers 3 (Jordan 41, Flint 54, Fenton 71)
Coventry Utd 0
att: 539; at Bradford City F.C.
Blackburn Rovers completed a memorable season for themselves when they defeated Coventry Utd 3-0 in the FA Women's National League Championship play-off at Valley Parade.
The match is an annual event between the winners of the Northern Premier and Southern Premier Divisions and the victory secured a quadruple for Gemma Donnelly's side, adding to the league, League Cup and Lancashire County Cup.
Rovers had been beaten in the last two play-offs by Tottenham Hotspur and Charlton Athletic but this time, the added prize of a place in the second tier was not on offer as both teams have already been promoted to the Championship next season.
Both sides went into the game having been beaten only once in the league all season and it was Coventry who almost opened the scoring early on but Beth Merrick's shot came back off the bar. At the other end, a curling shot from the edge of the area by Jess Holbrook was narrowly off target.
Coventry had had the better of things early on but Blackburn came more into the game and four minutes before half time, they took the lead. Natasha Fenton and Natasha Flint combined to play in Saffron Jordan who fired a shot past Sue Wood from just inside the area.
Coventry reacted well to the setback of going behind as Natasha Merritt's header from a free kick was saved by Danielle Gibbons, who also saved an Amber Hughes effort from the edge of the area to ensure that Blackburn took their one-goal advantage into the interval.
Wood pulled off a good save from Flint early in the second half but the striker was not to be denied as she latched on to Holbrook's pass and lifted the ball over the oncoming goalkeeper to double her side's lead.
Helen Dermody was unlucky not to reduce the arrears when her 25-yard shot crashed against the bar, but Blackburn continued to look dangerous going forward at the other end with Flint firing just over and Lagan Makin clipping the bar following a good move.
The game was put beyond doubt when Fenton rose highest to plant home a firm header from a Holbrook corner, to put Rovers three ahead with nineteen minutes remaining.
The match was Blackburn captain Lynda Shepherd's last before retiring and it almost had the perfect ending as a Kayleigh McDonald header was blocked on the line and Shepherd was foiled by Wood as she tried to force home the rebound. Makin headed wide from a Holbrook cross as Rovers completed a good all round display with a strong finish.
Blackburn Rovers: Danielle Gibbons, Serena Fletcher (sub Hannah Walsh 84mins), Lynda Shepherd, Jess Holbrook, Lauren Davies (sub Alex Taylor 80mins), Natasha Fenton, Saffron Jordan, Natasha Flint, Kayleigh McDonald, Lagan Makin. Subs not used: Amelia Size, Ellie Stewart, Sophie Charlton.
Coventry Utd: Sue Wood, Chenise Austin, Nikki Miles (sub Yasmine Klucis 62mins), Rosie McDonnell, Natasha Merritt (sub Erin Riden 62mins), Beth Merrick, Jade Brook, Helen Dermody, Amber Hughes, Lois Jefferies, Amy Wathan. Subs not used: Sophie Roberts, Maz Gauntlett, Ellie White.
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