The Bees rounded off the 20/21 FA Women’s Championship season on the right end of a five-goal thriller in The Hive London sunshine.
Goals from Nicola Gibson, Mel Filis and Bonnie Horwood ensured that Sian Osmond’s side completed the campaign with a home victory.
It was the visitors who had the first opening of the match as Saffron Jordan somehow fired wide of the goal from six yards out after the ball was cut back across the Bees penalty box.
Osmond’s side started brightly but were pegged back on 16 minutes as Maria Edwards’ strike took a cruel deflection which trickled beyond Sarah Quantrill and into the back of the net.
But we continued to look for an equaliser with both Sophie Quirk and Mairanne Taho going close to levelling things up as the half time break approached.
Our endeavour was rewarded with one minute left of the half as Nicola Gibson grabbed her first goal of the campaign, powering home a header from Georgia Robert’s excellent free-kick.
Whatever Osmond said at the break had the desired effect as just two minutes after the kick-off for the second half, Filis curled an exquisite effort into the top corner via the underside of the bar from the corner of the penalty area. It was the least her performance deserved after another exciting showing in the Amber shirt.
We didn’t rest on our one goal cushion and made chances to extend our lead, the tricky Quirk powered her way through towards goal but her effort was brilliantly charged down by the Rovers defence.
There was sucker punch instore though on 54 minutes as Jordan bundled the ball home after the ball was flicked on from a visitors corner.
Gibson then went agonisingly close to her second goal of the afternoon, as her half volley whistled towards the bottom corner, only for the Rovers ‘keeper to make an outstanding stop to parry away the effort.
We continued to pile on the pressure and we were rewarded with 17 minutes left on the watch, as Quirk’s cross was met by Taho forcing the Rovers goalkeeper into another incredible stop before Bonnie Horwood bundled the ball over the line sparking jubilant scenes on the Bees touchline.
The campaign finished on a warm note as Bees Academy graduate Millie Constantine came on from the bench to make yet another senior appearance, certainly one to look out for in the 21/22 season.
The Bees were rarely threatened in the closing stages of the match and ensured they signed off their season with a richly deserved three points.
London Bees: Sarah Quantrill, Sophie Quirk, Georgia Robert, Bonnie Horwood, Marianne Taho, Melissa Filis, Nicola Gibson, Charlie Estcourt, Florence Gamby, Amelia Hazard, Evie Gane
Substitutes: Mia Cruickshank for Hazard 77’, Millie Constantine for Quirk 88’
Substitutes not used: Faye Hazelton, Mia Cruickshank, Hayley West, Lauren Pickett, Brooke Nunn
Goals: Edwards 16’, Jordan 54′
Blackburn Rovers: Becky Flaherty, Ellie Fletcher, Kayleigh McDonald, Isobel Dean, Hannah Coan, Natasha Fenton, Emma Doyle, Georgia Walters, Saffron Jordan, Maria Edwards, Elise Hughes
Substitutes: Leah Embley for Walters 60’, Aimee Hodgson for Dean 70’, Charlotte Newsham for Doyle 84’
Substitutes not used: Alexandra Brooks, Meg Boydell, Ria Montgomery
Goals: Gibson 44’, Filis 47’, Horwood 73′
Referee: Georgia Ball