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Belles

Belles 0 Leafield 3

18 August 2019

The Belles suffered defeat on the opening day of the FAWNL Division One Midlands season following a 3-0 loss to Leafield Athletic on Sunday.

Zoey Shaw's side were left to rue missed chances of their own by last season's West Midlands Premier Division champions who were clinical going forward either side of the break.

The Belles had the game's first chance inside the opening minute, with Chloe Bethell meeting Lily Wishart's ball in, only to see her effort fly over the bar.

Leafield came straight back and Kirsty Johnson was on hand to make a good save from Sarah Jackson after the visiting striker found space inside the hosts' penalty area.

From Johnson's save, the Belles broke forward and Leafield's number one would herself have to be on hand to prevent the Belles from taking an early lead, with Kirsty Grigg saving well from Lauren Breen's effort from distance.

The visitrs were soon in the ascendancy and another break forward, this time down the right almost went rewarded.

Lily Eustace broke away and cut inside onto her right foot, looking to catch Johnson out at her near post, only for Johnson to tip the ball around her post at the expense of a corner.

The Belles should then have taken the lead as Jasmine Saxton rounded Grigg inside the box, only to see her shot blocked well by a Leafield defender who had chased back.

It was end-to-end stuff in the opening stages at Oxford Street, with Wishart next to try one from the edge of the area, only to scuff an effort wide with her weaker foot.

Daisy Clements would then beat the offside trap for Leafield after a good ball over the top, but she was unable to keep her composure and shot wide.

Skipper Breen was then foiled superbly by Grigg in the Leafield goal, with Breen meeting Bethell's cross in from the right on the volley, but Grigg was across well to her left to save before tipping Abby Watkinson's follow up around the post.

It would be a double save that'd prove crucial for the visitors as they took the lead against the run of play just shy of the half-hour mark,with Jackson's ball from the right finding Clements at the back post, and the forward would make no mistake from close range.

The Belles came straight back and Saxton found Breen with a ball over the top, only for the captain to shoot over the bar from just inside the box.

Saxton herself would then have another great opportunity to get the Belles back on level terms just before the break, but she could only drag her shot wide in the last action of the opening period.

With the first attack after the interval though, it would be Leafield who would extend their advantage, with Clements beating the offside trap before knocking the ball around Johnson, leaving her to tap into the empty net from 12 yards.

Breen would lead from the front, and she would have two very similar efforts from distance in quick succession, with both not quite getting enough dip on the ball to creep in.

Another shot from Breen from distance would see Grigg called into action once again as she tipped behind for a corner, but the visitors would strike the killer blow three minutes from time with another counter-attacking goal.

A long ball down was chased by substitute Alice Rogers, with the Leafield number 17 picking her spot from the edge of the box and looping the ball over Johnson and into the corner.

The Belles will look to respond in the FAWNL League Cup next Sunday when they host Sheffield FC in a South Yorkshire derby at the Keepmoat Stadium, with kick-off at 2:00pm.

Tickets for the Belles' South Yorkshire derby with Sheffield FC at the Keepmoat Stadium on Sunday August 25 are still available from the Club Doncaster Box Office. Head to tickets.clubdoncaster.co.uk and #BackTheBelles!


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