Tranmere Rovers Ladies narrowly missed out on victory as they lost 5–4 on penalties in the Cheshire FA County Challenge Cup Final against League rivals Stockport County Ladies.
Tranmere dominated from the start, pressing high up the field and not allowing the opposition to have much of the ball.
In the opening 20 minutes, Rovers should have been two goals up with a shot from inside the box just scraping past the post with another effort shortly after just going over the bar.
Down the other end, Stockport were testing the Rovers defence down the wing but the girls defended well denying them any chance on goal.
It didn’t take long for TRFC to open the scoring when Jade Collins struck the ball from 18 yards and it ricocheted off the crossbar and over the line to open the scoring.
In the final 10 minutes of the first half Stockport piled on the pressure to try and get the equaliser. Rovers lost the ball in midfield allowing County to counter attack but that was quickly cut out after Amie Neale came in with a perfectly timed challenge to deny a shot on goal.
This didn’t stop The Hatters as they continued to push on in search to restore parity. Stockport’s number nine raced through on goal but Katy Maddock came off her line to put the County forward under pressure and pulled off a fantastic save ensuring Rovers kept their one nil lead.
Just before half time, a great switch of play by Rovers left Jade Thomas in plenty of space to drive into the attacking area. Georgia Walters found herself on the end of a great ball from Thomas but her header flew straight into the keeper’s hands.
Rovers thought they had doubled their lead right before the half time whistle after Walters was fed through after a brilliant pass and found the back of the net but the linesman had his flag up for offside.
Stockport started the brighter of the two teams and on 60 minutes they drew level with a clever lob over the TRFC keeper. The Stockport Striker broke the offside trap and lofted the ball into the back of the net.
Not many chances followed for either team after this and with penalties looming, both teams didn’t want to concede at the death.
With the score at 1-1, the tie went straight to penalties.
After six penalties each it went to sudden death and cruelly for TRFC Ladies it was Stockport who kept their cool in the shootout, running out 5-4 victors.
*Rovers Ladies have one league game left to play, when they entertain FC United of Manchester this coming Sunday, 5 May, at Ellesmere Port Sports Village 3G (Postcode: Stanney Lane CH65 9LB). Kick-off is at 2:00pm, with admission free to all spectators.