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Report | Long Eaton United 1-1 Belles

10 April 2022


Report | Long Eaton United 1-1 Belles

10 April 2022

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A first goal of 2022 for Charlotte Dinsdale saw the Belles come back from a goal down, but then have to settle for a point at Long Eaton United in the FAWNL Division One Midlands.

The Belles came into this game six points behind leaders Boldmere St Michaels with two games remaining. Andy Butler made two changes from the side that beat Bedworth a week ago, with Freya Rattenbury and Hannah McWilliams coming in for the unavailable Lindsey Tugby and Lauren Breen.

On a bright day in the East Midlands, the Belles had the first chance early on when a high ball by Izzy Trevillion first found Hannah McWilliams in the box who eventually found Nadia Khan but her shot went just wide.

The hosts then had two chances in quick succession with a shot going wide and another straight at Ellie Sharpe in the Belles’ goal. Both teams were enjoying plenty of possession in the middle of the pitch and looking to push forward. The game remained tight during these opening stages, with the dry and bumpy pitch making the ball difficult to control at times.

Trevillion had been making some great runs down the left wing but was replaced on the quarter-hour by Lily Wishart due to injury. On 23 minutes a mazy dribble past three defenders by Sophie Bell took her into the box to find Jasmine Saxton, who couldn’t get her shot away. Khan was in the thick of the action a minute later when a fantastic run at speed took her past two defenders to the byline where she delivered a tantalising low cross that just evaded the on-coming Saxton and McWilliams.

On 32 minutes, the Belles nearly went in front when an in-swinging corner by Bell found McWilliams in the six yard box, but her header was cleared off the line. A few minutes later, a great through ball by captain Jess Andrew found Wishart out on the wing who put a teasing cross into the box that found Khan, but her shot was blocked on the six-yard line and cleared.

The Belles had grown into the game and were controlling most of the play through their composed passing game. However Long Eaton always looked dangerous on the break and on 44 minutes The Blues nearly took the lead when Jordan Atkin cut in from the left and went thought on goal. Her powerful shot beat Sharpe but the crossbar came to the Belles’ rescue.

The hosts did however take the lead two minutes into the second half. A pinpoint corner by Tiana Hicks found Anya Mae Cresswell in the six-yard box and under pressure she directed her header past Sharpe into the net.

Andy Butler’s side looked to respond and were enjoying plenty of the ball, but Long Eaton were sitting deep making it difficult to break them down. On 56 minutes another great through-ball by Andrew found Bell who crossed from the byline but the home keeper was alert to whip the ball off Saxton’s toes. The hosts then went straight up the other end and Sharpe did well to get down to meet a shot at the back post. Bell was seeing more of the ball in this half as the Belles pushed forward and was unlucky to see her looping cross-cum-shot hit the bar, with McWilliams unable to finish the follow up.

Minutes later, Andrew again played a lively pass - this time to Sophie Scargill  - who timed her run to perfection and unleashed a shot from 20 yards that was saved around the post by the keeper.

From the resulting corner, the Belles levelled the score. Another excellent delivery by Bell found Dinsdale on the penalty spot, who controlled and then half volleyed the ball into the top corner for her first goal since October last year.

The equaliser breathed new life into the visitors who then pushed for the winner. On 72 minutes McWilliams was replaced by Phoebe Sneddon and nearly went in front when yet another cross by Bell again found Dinsdale unmarked in the box but this time her header went wide.

The Belles continued to pile on the pressure, but were lucky to escape when on 78 minutes a Long Eaton free-header from a corner went just wide of the post. Dinsdale was again in the thick of the action at the other end when her goal-bound header was palmed over the crossbar. On 84 minutes a Wishart cross to the back post found Bell unmarked, but her half volley cannoned back off the post.

Into added time and the Belles almost snatched victory – just a few seconds after Dinsdale had volleyed a Jess Andrew free kick just over the bar, a brilliant turn by Saxton took her away from her marker and she unleashed a powerful shot from 20 yards out which again cannoned agonisingly back off the inside of the post and out to safety for the hosts.

The draw extends the unbeaten run of Andy Butler’s side to five games, but means that their chase for the title is over. However, the Belles will be looking to confirm second place when they play their final game of the season away at Solihull Moors in three weeks time.

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