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Belles

Leafield Athletic 0 Belles 4

25 October 2020

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Nadia Khan’s hat-trick fired the Belles up to second in the table as they overcame challenging conditions at Leafield Athletic.

Khan’s three strikes, coupled with a Kirsty Smith free-kick, secured the 4-0 victory as Andy Butler’s side also kept a third-straight clean sheet.

The Belles’ customary fast start was again in evidence, despite the heavy rain pouring down in the Midlands, and they went ahead after three minutes.

It was a trademark Khan move, as her pace meant she got on the end of Hannah McWilliams’ pass. She beat the full-back before firing past Summer Finley.

The weather made it difficult for both sides and chances were at a premium as a result. Sophie Brown, making her first competitive start of the campaign after recovering from injury, won the ball after 14 minutes but her low effort was wide.

The home side first threatened after 22 minutes, but Daisy-Mai Clement flashed her effort wide without worrying Ellie Sharpe.

Only a great reaction save from Finley denied Fiona Berry a goal after 24 minutes, when the ball fell nicely to her after a corner.

The Belles’ second goal did come after 31 minutes when Phoebe Sneddon was fouled just outside the area. Smith saw a gap at the near post and her low perfectly-placed effort went in after clipping the woodwork.

Sharpe did well to get both hands to another Clements effort after 40 minutes in the last action of note in the opening half.

The rain, thankfully, stopped during the break and Khan took full advantage of the clearer view by adding her second of the game two minutes after the restart. After turning into space outside the area she lifted a shot which went over the goalkeeper and just under the bar.

Leafield showed plenty of spirit despite trailing by three goals, and Georgia Harris did well with almost a copycat of Khan’s second goal - except this time the ball came back off the underside the of the bar.

Chances came more frequently for the Belles in the second period, with McWilliams going close on a couple of occasions.

Butler made changes as the half progressed, with Jenna McGee coming on for Brown and Lily Harrison replacing Smith - with Charlotte Dinsdale taking the captain’s armband for the final 20 minutes.

Khan’s hat-trick goal was the simplest of the three finishes, with Harrison and Jess Andrew combining on the right before the latter’s cross bypassed Finley and allowed Khan to tap home from close range.

Lucy Dunlop came on for the closing stages, replacing Khan shortly after her third goal, and could have got on the scoresheet herself with an effort which was deflected over after good work from McWilliams.

 


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