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Belles

REPORT | Belles 2 Chorley Women 1

25 July 2021

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The Belles had to come from behind to claim their first win of pre-season at the Club Doncaster Sports Park.

A Jasmine Saxton double in the first half saw the Belles grab their first win, bouncing back after last week’s defeat at Stockport County, and coming after going a goal down early on.

The Belles had the first chance of the game, with Jess Andrew and Lauren Breen exchanging crosses, the latter setting up Andrew for a shot on goal which went just over the bar from close range.

Despite the Belles’ early dominance, it was their Division One North visitors who grabbed the opener on the quarter of an hour, as a Chorley midfielder picked the ball up 25 yards out and fired beyond the Trialist goalkeeper.

Andy Butler’s side reacted well to the set-back and after the drinks break mid-way through the half, they had a big chance to get on level terms.

Freya-Mai Rattenbury’s long ball forward found Nadia Khan down the right, and she squared for Saxton in space in the 18-yard box, however she could only find the underside of the bar from close in.

This didn’t deter Saxton however and less than a minute later, she did get her goal; a ball down the left found her in plenty of space and one-on-one in front of goal, she slotted under the visiting stopper to get her side on terms.

Saxton was quickly in search of a second moments later as she was picked out in the penalty area by a Breen corner from the left, heading just wide of the far post with a glancing header.

The Belles No.9 then turned provider as she found strike partner Khan in space six yards out, however this time the Chorley goalkeeper did make a good save.

It was that combination that got the Belles ahead though on the stroke of half time, with Saxton pouncing quickest on the loose ball after Khan’s initial effort was saved, taking a touch before firing into the corner.

There was a whole host of changes for both sides after the break, with only a handful of players remaining for Butler’s team, and it was two of those changes that went close to extending the lead on 48 minutes.

Lily Harrison and Hannah McWilliams both saw shots blocked by the visiting defence, before the visitors had a couple of close chances of their own, with a free kick and another effort from a similar distance going just wide.

Phoebe Sneddon was next to go close for the Belles just shy of the hour-mark, breaking into space in the box before forcing the away stopper into a save.

Sneddon then played in fellow substitute Jess Price in, but the outcome would be the same as the Chorley goalkeeper continued her good form.

Price went even closer with 15 minutes to go, curling a good effort from the edge of the box off the far post, before McWilliams follow up effort was blocked.

The Belles hit the post again a minute later, with Harrison this time from a similar position finding time to fire on goal, again beating the goalkeeper but not the frame of the goal.

Chorley had a huge chance to level the scores themselves 12 minutes from time as a low ball across goal caused panic in the Belles’ box, however the on-rushing visiting striker could only fire well over.

The Belles managed to see the game out and now move on to another home game next Sunday against Durham Cestria as they ramp up their preparations for the upcoming 2021/22 Division One Midlands season.

 


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