Faye McCoy admits she was relieved to get over the line as her late goal handed Blackburn Rovers the FA Women’s Premier League North title.
Blackburn welcomed Derby County to the Sir Tom Finney Stadium and with the game locked at 2-2 with just seven minutes left, McCoy slotted home following a scramble in the box to secure a 3-2 victory.
That puts Rovers nine points ahead of second-place Middlesbrough, with Boro only having two league games remaining.
- Sunday 26 March, 2017
- By Luke Baker
And McCoy concedes that while it wasn’t always pretty, the feeling at being confirmed as champions will take some beating.
“We like to make things difficult for ourselves! In every big game, instead of going for the basics, we like to mix things up,” explained McCoy.
“That doesn’t work, then we go back to basics and get the job done. I’m absolutely delighted.
“I think it was a good game for everyone to come down to watch. It was hard – because we haven’t played Derby, we didn’t know what to expect for them.
“It was a battle and I’m so glad to come through. I can’t put it into words how it feels.”
Lynda Shepherd gave Blackburn the lead from the penalty spot after Ella Toone was felled but Leanne De Silva equalised shortly after.
Melissa Johnson put the visitors 2-1 ahead after the break but Saffron Jordan calmly finished to restore parity before McCoy’s late intervention.
Middlesbrough did triumph 3-0 at Leicester City thanks to goals from Lindsey Halbrook, Emily Scarr and Jess Havelock but it wasn’t enough to deny Rovers the title.
Meanwhile, third-placed Fylde hammered bottom-of-the-table Newcastle United 3-0 and Stoke City prevailed 2-0 against fellow mid-table outfit Huddersfield Town.
In the Southern Division, Tottenham Hotspur took another step towards the title as they came from behind to win the London derby with Crystal Palace 2-1 – efforts from Bianca Baptiste and Wendy Martin overcame Gemma Bryan’s early strike.
The result leaves Spurs three points clear of Cardiff City with a game in hand, although the Welsh side did keep up the pressure by hammering Portsmouth 5-1, although Charlton dropped to third in the table with a 1-1 draw at fourth-placed Coventry United.
And in the WPL Southern Division’s other game, Lewes cruised to a 3-0 victory over C & K Basildon to leapfrog their opponents into sixth in the table.