A goal from captain Jess Andrew and a brace from Jasmine Saxton was enough to see off a determined Sheffield Wednesday side in the fourth round of the Sheffield and Hallamshire County Cup.
Having had two games postponed due to the weather, the Belles were looking to bounce back from the 2-0 defeat at Lincoln three weeks ago, with Andy Butler naming an unchanged side for the short trip to the Sheffield Hallam University Sports Centre.
From the off the Belles immediately sought to stamp their control on the game, winning four corners and a free kick within the first 10 minutes, which saw both Jasmine Saxton and Lindsey Tugby shoot over and Lily Wishart hit the bar.
The pressure on the home defence continued and Belles eventually took the lead on 19 minutes when captain Jess Andrew coolly volleyed Sophie Bell’s pinpoint cross over the keeper from 12 yards out.
Belles nearly doubled their lead five minutes later when Lily Wishart was put through on goal and finished, only to be ruled offside. Butler’s side did go further ahead in the 29th minute when Saxton neatly turned her marker on the edge of the box to shoot low under the oncoming keeper and finished into the bottom corner.
The pressure on the home side continued, with Andrew heading a Tugby cross just past the post, and then saw her 20-yard screamer impressively tipped over by the busy home keeper Megan Parkin.
The Owls - who play two tiers below the Belles in the North East Regional Women’s Football League Premier Division - were having to deal with the Belles’ attacking play and had struggled to create chances of their own, but on 36 minutes they pulled a goal back when forward Shannon Coughlan beat the Belles’ back line to finish neatly past the on-coming Ellie Sharpe.
At the restart, Belles continued where they had left off, and on 51 minutes a great through ball by substitute Jess Price found Saxton who rounded her marker to again slot under Parkin for the third goal. On 59 minutes Tugby tried her luck with a dipping shot from the edge of the box which hit the bar and fell into the arms of the grateful keeper.
Belles continued to press for the rest of the game with keeper Sharpe a virtual spectator. The rolling subs rule allowed Butler to give all of his squad game time including a debut for former Leeds player Holly Hounsley.
The dogged determination of the Owls in breaking up play in the final third, combined with some rather wayward finishing by the Belles, meant no further goals - but it was enough to see them through to the next round.