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Belles

Leicester United 4 Belles 2

22 September 2019

The Belles suffered another away defeat on Sunday as they went down 4-2 at Leicester United in the FAWNL Division One Midlands.

A Katie Cropper hat-trick and Kira Fitzpatrick's strike saw the hosts come away with three points, depsite goals from Nadia Khan and Emily Burgin for the Belles.

The hosts started brightly and had their first shot inside two minutes, with Courteney Cropper clipping the bar with a shot from out wide.

Kirsty Johnson then had to be on her toes to deny Lauren Bartle the opener, tipping the defender's shot over the bar after the home skipper took aim from distance.

Burgin would go close down the other end for the Belles from a free-kick, however she was unable to keep the set-piece down, with the ball narrowly going over the bar.

The hosts took the lead on 19 minutes, with a controversial free-kick given away by Chloe Starling, and it would be Katie Cropper who stepped up to smash the ball past Johnson to open the scoring.

The Belles came straight back and weren't too far away from immediately getting back on level terms, with Burgin's ball through finding Chloe Bethell, though Erin Hannah in the home goal saved well with her feet.

Bethell would have the Belles next chance too, cutting inside from the left-hand side and shooting on goal, only to see her effort drift just wide of the near post.

The Belles goal did come though with seven minutes left of the first period, and it would be Bethell turning provider for the leveller.

Her brilliant ball over the top of the defence found Khan in space, with the Belles no.7 taking a touch before firing past Hannah in the home goal via the underside of the crossbar.

However, the hosts' lead would be restored from the re-start, with a defensive mix-up after a ball in from the right seeing Katie Cropper pounce to fire through a crowded six-yard box to give Leicester the lead once more.

Fitzpatrick would double the lead two minutes later, with her low cross from the right catching out Johnson and finding the far corner of the goal, landing a big blow on Zoey Shaw's side.

The second half took a while to get going, but it would be Bethell who had the first meaningful chance, hitting the roof of the net with an effort from distance, whilst down the other end, Chantelle Robinson was thwarted by Johnson who held well.

Chloe Starling would then have to be back on the line a minute later with Robinson rounding Johnson before shooting, only to see Starling back on the line to block.

It would be Katie Cropper though who stole the show, rounding off her treble with a goal from the edge of the area, via a deflection, to fire over Johnson increase the hosts' lead.

Fitzpatrick almost made it five with a header from a Leicester corner on the left, but she couldn't quite direct her effort goalwards.

Khan would go close to reducing the arrears after breaking through on goal after a neat headed flick on from Eva Madarang, but it was Hannah that was equal to her effort.

The Belles did get their second goal after a corner from Madarang was bundled in by Burgin after a scramble in the box, however it would be too late for them to muster up any hope of a comeback and it was Leicester who walked away with three points from Sign Right Park.

The Belles now face their third consecutive away trip next Sunday as they travel to league leaders Wolves Women in the FAWNL Division One Midlands.


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