Match Report: Coventry United 0-1 Blackburn Rovers

Blackburn Rovers travelled to Barkers Butt’s Arena to take on Coventry United in the FA Women’s Championship on a very sunny but cold day. The change of ends before kick-off showed just how strong the sun was set behind one of the goals.
 
The game got underway and it was Blackburn on the attack winning a corner off Chelsea Weston from a Maria Edwards shot. The following corner saw a mass scramble with Alice Hassall pulling off a fantastic block and maybe a hundred more as Anna Wilcox finally cleared the ball off the line.
 
It wasn’t long before the returning Shannon O’Brien was putting the pressure on and called Alex Brooks into a save.
 
It was end to end in the opening minutes but Coventry were getting the best of the chances but couldn’t beat Alex Brooks as she was equal to the attacks from the team in red and green. Blackburn had the ball in the back of the net on the 23rd minute but Saffron Jordan was offside as she finished calmly and coolly but the scored remained 0-0. 
 
Coventry were next to go close as on the 29th minute Becky Anderson saw her effort go into the side netting after she had cut inside the defender.
 
The first yellow card of the match came when Amber Hughes was fouled by Ellie Fletcher.
 
Shannon O’Brien was causing Blackburn troubles at the back with her tenacity and pace as Chelsea Weston pumped the ball into the box and O’Brien’s header looped onto the top of the goal.
 
The final chance of the half came when Aimee Hodgson as she curled an effort towards goal causing Sue Wood to pull off a fingertip save pushing it behind for a corner. The game was very open with both teams creating chances but not taking the chances. A big 45 minutes for both teams in the second half was coming up.
 
An early yellow card in the second half saw Kayleigh McDonald as she fouled Phoebe Warner with a late challenge. Sue Wood was called into action on the 48th minute as the dangerous Saffron Jordan hit an effort but Wood was equal to it in the Coventry goal. It was Alex Brooks turn then to show why she is also a quality keeper as Coventry went close as Amber Hughes had her first effort saved by Brooks and the rebound was cleared off the line eventually by Blackburn.
 
Not too long after it was Alex Brooks once again called into action as Phoebe Warner picked out Shannon O’Brien and just at it seemed as if Coventry had opened the scoring Brooks pulled off a fantastic save to keep the score still 0-0. 
 
The way a football game goes one brilliant save and straight up the other end Blackburn found themselves winning a penalty as Saffron Jordan is brought down. Elise Hughes stepped up to take the penalty and smashed it home giving Sue Wood no chance in the goal as Blackburn had a 0-1 lead on the 54th minute. Blackburn made their first change as Chelsey Jukes came on for Maria Edwards on the 57th minute.
 
Katy Morris who had been fantastic all game dropped a corner into the box as Chelsea Weston’s header looked goal-bound Chelsey Jukes cleared the ball off the line. Amber Hughes was next in the referees book as she brought down Saffron Jordan.
 
On the 63rd minute Shannon O’Brien proved why she is one of the upcoming talents in The Championship as she turned and weaved her way but her effort went wide of the goal. This was Shannon’s last moment’s in the game as she was brought off for Amy Whatan. Blackburn also brought on Charlotte Newsham for Ellie Fletcher on the 64 minute. 
 
It was still pretty much each team taking turns to attack but with time ticking away Coventry were now chasing the game. Alice Hassall and Amber Hughes both had efforts for Coventry but both times came to nothing and Natasha Fenton made Sue Wood complete a save in the Coventry goal.
 
Coventry made their second change of the game on the 77th minute when Anna Colville came on for Phoebe Warner.
 
Coventry were pressing for an equaliser but it didn’t quite come as they pushed. Saffron Jordan found herself in the referee’s book and Hayley Crackle run the length of the pitch with the ball as no one could stop her but Coventry didn’t quite have the finish.
 
Blackburn made a final change as Georgia Walters replaced Amiee Hodgson.
 
Coventry couldn’t quite find the goal to get the point they had worked so hard for as the game ended 0-1 to Blackburn with the penalty scored by Elise Hughes the difference. Both teams could have won, a draw was probably the fairest result on the play over the game.
 
Coventry will no doubt be disappointed to leave with anything but Blackburn will be thrilled to return home with the 3 points.
 
Coventry United: Sue Wood (C), Chelsea Weston, Nikki Miles, Anna Wilcox, Hayley Crackle, Becky Anderson, Alice Hassall, Katy Morris, Phoebe Warner, Amber Hughes, Shannon O’Brien
Substitutes – Amy Wathan for Shannon O’Brien (63), Anna Colville for Phoebe Warner (77)
 
Blackburn Rovers: Alex Brooks, Ellie Fletcher, Kayleigh McDonald, Jade Richards, Ali Johnson, Natasha Fenton, Emma Doyle, Amiee Hodgson, Elise Hughes, Maria Edwards, Saffron Jordan
Substitutes – Chelsey Jukes for Maria Edwards (57), Charlotte Newsham for Ellie Fletcher (64), Georgia Walters for Amiee Hodgson (83).
 
Photo: Adam Nunn