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Belles

Belles 3 Stockport County 2

25 April 2021

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Jasmine Saxton and Charlotte Dinsdale were on target as the Belles put in another good performance to maintain their 100 per cent record in end-of-season friendlies.

Those goals came either side of an impressive finish from an attacking trialist as the Belles came from behind to seal a second straight win.

They started with the confidence you would expect after a 7-1 demolition of Leeds United’s development squad the previous Sunday, with Lauren Breen forcing a save at the near post after nine minutes and Dinsdale doing the same moments later after getting on the end of a Jess Andrew free-kick.

Saxton and Dinsdale were in the thick of it, with the former having another effort saved at the near post and Dinsdale heading over from a corner.

It took an excellent stop from the visiting keeper to deny Sophie Brown after 17 minutes, after being sent through by Andrew in the best move of the match so far. The keeper got a leg to the ball and it bounced agonisingly wide of the far post.

It was therefore slightly against the run of play when Stockport took the lead after 19 minutes. They won the ball back on the right wing and a low cross was sent smartly into the far corner by Maria Figueiredo. They tried for a second with a shot from distance five minutes later, but Ellie Sharpe was well placed to pluck the ball out of the air.

The Belles regrouped and were soon back on the front foot, with another good save from the keeper after 27 minutes denying Brown from close range after Saxton’s cross from the left.

The Belles were level after 33 minutes with a move which started when Chloe Dean won the ball on the left wing. Saxton collected the ball outside the area and waltzed past a defender before finishing at the near post.

That remained the score at the break, with Stockport once more heading over and Saxton looping an effort just over the bar.

Coach Nick Buxton again made a significant number of changes at the break, with these replacements helping the Belles start brightly.

An attacking trialist saw a cracking effort from outside the area come back off the inside of a post after 52 minutes, before topping it two minutes later with the goal which put the home side ahead for the first time.

This time the shot came inside the area, though only just, as she collected a pass from Sophie Scargill before turning inside her marker and curling a left-footed effort which left the keeper with no chance.

Stockport were by no means out of the match, and Figueiredo looped a header which bounced off the bar after 61 minutes.

The Belles continued to create chances to further their advantage, with Debbie Barry firing low and wide before Harrison forced another good save out of the keeper after winning the ball back in the area.

The third goal for the Belles case after 76 minutes when Dinsdale powered home a header at the far post following a Kirsty Smith corner.

Stockport’s impressive Figueiredo notched her second of the game to ensure a tight finish, but the Belles saw out the win.


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