Blackpool win place in county cup final

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Blackpool FC Girls won through to the Under-16 Lancashire Cup final with a 4-2 victory away to Burnley FC

This semi-final had fallen victim to bad weather the previous weekend and was re-arranged for the artificial pitch at Burnley College.

Pool started quickly, with Ellie Spooner shooting wide in the first minute.

With three minutes gone, Honor Rogerson’s clever pass released Spooner and her excellent through-ball allowed Nyah Cartwright to get behind the Clarets defence.

Cartwright crossed low into the six-yard box to leave Leah Fielding with a tap-in.

A period of sparring followed as the teams adjusted to the vagaries of the pitch.

Burnley corners were repelled and another flowing move involving Spooner, Rogerson and Fielding ended with Gemma Thrower shooting wide in the 16th minute.

Three minutes later, another right-wing move saw Aleysha Montgomery’s cross bravely headed on by Thrower to leave Fielding with another tap-in to double the lead.

Spooner and Rogerson had efforts saved before Alice Smith’s 32nd-minute interception was crucial in keeping the home side at bay.

Another flowing move ended with Beth Slater going close in the 38th minute and the Clarets keeper saved from Fielding on the stroke of half-time as Blackpool changed ends two goals up.

The opening minutes of the second half followed the pattern of the first, and Fielding completed her hat-trick in the 50th minute after Montgomery dispossessed a defender and promptly crossed to the far post.

Any thoughts that the game was over were dispelled five minutes later, when a carelessly conceded free-kick 25 yards out was smashed into the top right corner of the Pool net –a strike few keepers would have saved.

Spurred on, the home side presented a greater territorial threat and were denied by an excellent block from Alexis Hilton in the 63rd minute.

The home side’s need to throw players forward allowed Blackpool opportunities on the break, and when Megan Eadie’s headed clearance found Molly McKenna in space,her excellent long ball sent Thrower clear in the 68th minute.

A calm finish low to the keeper’s left ensured the home side had a mountain to climb in the final minutes.

Hannah Gorman denied the home side in the 71st and 76th minutes before lack of defensive concentration and a tidy finish earned Burnley a last-minute consolation goal.

Even so, the referee’s whistle confirmed that Blackpool were in the county cup final.