EVIE Manning grabbed a debut goal, but it wasn’t enough to prevent Rovers Ladies from bowing out of the FA Women’s Cup at Sheffield FC.
The 16-year-old opened the scoring midway through the first half, but the hosts hit back to book their place in the third round. Playing their first competitive game since October, Rovers started the brighter of the two teams with Beth Donoghue coming close and Lagan Makin seeing a goal ruled out for offside.
But the visitors did take the lead when Manning’s shot from the corner of the area looped over the keeper and went in off the post.
The goal spurred Sheffield into life and they quickly levelled when Lisa Giampalma’s cross-shot went just over the reach of Lauren Bracewell and into net.
Donoghue then almost restored Rovers’ advantage but was denied by the keeper when clean through.
After the break Sheffield almost went in front only to hit the post with a header, while Carmel Bennett made a key intervention as the hosts threatened.
Sheffield did find the net when Suzanne Davies broke clear and slotted home the winner.
Rovers manager Scott Rogers said: “I thought my team was brilliant. We have come here with six first team players missing and we have run a good Sheffield side all the way.
“I’m disappointed to be out of the cup that we did so well in last year, but I can’t fault the effort of my players. On another day we would have won this game.”
Meanwhile, six players from Rovers Girls Centre of Excellence have been included in the English Colleges squad.
Defender Steffi Hardy, midfielder Evie Manning, winger Nicola Shirtcliffe and forward Rio Hardy (Accrington & Rossendale College), defender Helen Seed (Runshaw College) and midfielder Hollie Kelsh (Preston College) have made the final squad for two fixtures against Wales on February 22 and March 15.
ROVERS: Bracewell, Westerman (Flynn 80), Cox, Bennett, Marsh, Twohig, Turner, Manning, Donoghue, Makin (Pennington 80), Forster. Sub not used: Bland.