09:00 15th May 2017
City secure point away to league champions...
RACHAEL Ball’s late equaliser ensured Stoke City Ladies’ season finished off in style with an impressive 2-2 draw at champions Blackburn Rovers.
The Potters had taken the lead at Ewood Park thanks to Ashleigh Hayes’ superbly curled effort in the 18th minute. This season’s top scorer notched her 24th goal of the campaign when she opened up her body and sent a bending effort beyond goalkeeper Dan Hill.
Hayes was later denied by a superb save from Hill and Rovers capitalised by scoring two quickfire goals to turn the contest on its head. Firstly, former City midfielder Faye McCoy brilliantly volleyed home before Ella Toone sent a shot into the top corner.
Toone’s strike came amongst controversy with Stoke down to 10 players as they attempted to substitute the injured Hayes but the goal stood to put unbeaten Blackburn 2-1 up at the break.
Rovers had the better moments of the second half but Kate Asher was gifted a golden opportunity to equalise thanks to a poor back pass but she was unable to beat Hill. The hosts were also finding hard to beat the goalkeeper, with Potters’ Tilly Hall keeping City in the match.
And Hall’s saves were to set up a tremendous end to the game. With the clock ticking towards stoppage time Summer Holmes played a brilliant pass to Ball on the right wing and the substitute beat her marker before unleashing an unstoppable shot into the back of Hill’s net.
The goal sparked joyous scenes as Stoke secured fourth spot for the second consecutive year, finishing the campaign with just one defeat in 12 matches.
Stoke City: Hall, Hudson, Elson (Brown 69), Bowyer, Hyde, Owen, Palmer (Wellings 66), Holmes, Asher, Richardson, Hayes (Ball 38). Unused: Burnside, Pemberton.