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Belles

Belles 1 Leafield Athletic 1

20 December 2020

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The Belles had to settle for a point against Leafield Athletic in a match where they had two goals disallowed.

The home side started brightly, with Charlotte Dinsdale firing a free-kick just over after six minutes and Chloe Dean also going close.

Chances came frequently in the early period, with Sophie Brown not quite able to get on the end of a cross after 10 minutes.

Hannah McWilliams saw a shot blocked, while Nadia Khan lofted an effort just wide when a corner was cleared out to her after 16 minutes.

The Belles went ahead with 25 minutes on the clock, when Brown won the ball in the air and fed McWilliams. The Belles’ No.10 cut inside a defender before finishing at the near post for her fifth strike of the campaign.

The lead was no more than the home side deserved after an impressive opening, and Brown had the ball in the back of the net again two minutes later only for an assistant’s flag to go up and rule it out for offside.

A Daisy-May Clements shot on the half-hour mark was the first real threat from the visitors, but the long-range effort was comfortably collected by Ellie Sharpe.

The ball was in the back of the visitors’ net again after 38 minutes when a McWilliams cross was tipped onto the crossbar by Natasha Weldon. A defender on the goalie could not clear the ball before Brown forced it home - only for the same assistant as earlier to raise his flag for offside.

Jess Andrew went close with a free-kick moments later which was tipped over the bar by Weldon, who also had to make a low save from McWilliams before the break.

Lily Eustace fired just wide for the visitors on the stroke of half-time, but at the interval it was the Belles who held a narrow lead.

Brown was close to getting on the end of a Khan cross after 48 minutes, then squeezed out of a chance a few minutes later after a great header from Khan.

The home side were deal a blow after 57 minute when Clements struck with a smart finish.

The visitors had dug in and defended resolutely, and proved clinical when their best chance of the game arrived.

Sophie Scargill and Sneddon went close as the home side recovered and went looking for a winning goal.

Khan proved particularly effective at getting away down the left wing, but again the visitors always managed to get in a key block from a defender or keeper Weldon - who made a brilliant stop from substitute Kirsty Smith after 70 minutes.

The visitors were not that far off snatching the lead themselves through a Michelle McCormack free-kick - her long-range effort dipped over the bar. Leafield had not committed many players forward for the set-piece, as they were ready to scrap to ensure they got a point.

Brown lifted an effort just wide with 10 minutes to go - again linking up well with Khan - after Weldon closed her down quickly to narrow her angle.

An effort was stabbed wide following a corner - it was hard to see who got the final touch - while Brown and Jenna McGee also tried their luck but the Belles were unable to make a breakthrough.

 


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