BLACKBURN Rovers Ladies booked their place in the final of the Lancashire FA Women’s Challenge Cup with a 5-3 semi-final victory at home to plucky Padiham.
Goals from Evie Manning, Nichol Forster, Vicky Westerman and Hannah Forster fired Rovers into a 4-0 lead at the break.
Padiham improved after the restart, scoring three times, but Sophie Flynn added her name to the score sheet to secure the favourites’ safe passage to an 11th successive final, where they will meet either Morecambe or Preston.
Rovers started strongly and the breakthrough arrived on the quarter-hour mark when Manning received the ball on the right flank before firing a long-range effort over the Padiham goalkeeper from 30 yards.
Rovers continued to create opportunities and added a second when Rio Hardy fed the ball through to Nichol Forster, who coolly slotted home.
Westerman added a third, picking out the bottom corner from just outside the box after good combination play in midfield, before Hannah Forster got in on the act by hammering in a fantastic free kick.
Rovers made three changes at the interval, completely changing their midfield, which resulted in a sluggish start to the second half. Padiham reduced the deficit when a long ball forward was allowed to bounce in the box and ended up in the back of the net.
But Rovers restored their four-goal advantage when Flynn’s first-time shot flew in. With the tie seemingly won, the hosts switched off and the visitors pulled a goal back when a Padiham player headed home unmarked from a corner.
Rovers played out the final 20 minutes with 10 players after Hardy was forced off with an ankle injury and a Padiham penalty late on gave the scoreline a closer look.