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Belles

REPORT | AFC Fylde 2 Belles 1

31 October 2022

Belles

REPORT | AFC Fylde 2 Belles 1

31 October 2022

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Belles were knocked out of the FAWNL Plate in a tight and hard-fought game away at higher league opposition AFC Fylde Women.

On a showery and breezy afternoon in East Lancashire, Belles kicked off in their change strip of lime green shirts, black shorts and black socks. The opening exchanges saw the visitors looking to take advantage of Fylde’s high back line by knocking balls forward for Oti Laki and Nadia Khan, but it was the hosts who had the best of the early chances on eight minutes when McCoy turned on the six-yard line and hit a low shot that skimmed the outside of the post.

Two minutes later Belles showed their attacking intent when Lindsey Tugby sent a through ball to Laki on the halfway line, who then took on her marker and shot from twenty yards. Grace Pomfret in the home goal parried the goal-bound effort, but the incoming Khan put the rebound over the bar.  

On fifteen minutes Belles again broke quickly when Holly Housley intercepted a loose pass and played the ball forward to Sophie Scargill on the edge of the box. Scargill played in Laki who took the ball to the byline and crossed for Khan at the near post, but under pressure her shot again went over the bar.  

However, Belles took the lead on seventeen minutes when Tugby was fouled following some good team work in closing down Fylde’s playout from the back. Up stepped captain Jess Andrew to power the thirty-five yard free-kick into the top corner in spectacular style, giving Pomfret no chance and Belles a deserved lead.

The hosts looked to get back into the game, with Ellie Sharpe called into action to marshall a long shot from the right safely past the post, and then coming out to collect the ball off the toes of Katie Smith four yards out. Belles though were working hard all over the pitch to stifle and break up the Fylde play, and so it was somewhat fortunate and contentious when the Coasters equalised on thirty-seven minutes.

Laki was harshly adjudged to have fouled in a 50-50 challenge in the centre of the field. Fylde were given space to take the free kick and bring the ball forward unchallenged, allowing a free shot from Jenna Carroll which Freya Rattenbury got her head to only to see the ball deflected over the diving Sharpe and into the net for the equaliser. The game resumed in much the same way it had before the own goal, although Isobel Binks rattled Sharpe’s crossbar on the stroke of half-time.

With the breeze and the sun at their backs Fylde started the second half strongly, and on forty-nine minutes took the lead when Sharpe could only parry a shot from the edge of the box, and as the Belles defence stood still, Coasters captain Hannah Forster ran in unchecked to force the ball home at the near post.

Boosted by their advantage, the home side settled into their stride and started to dominate the play, with Belles having less and less of the possesion. On fifty-one minutes Carroll headed over from a corner and then shot wide three minutes later. Sharpe had to be alert to collect another long range effort from Binks on sixty-six minutes, and on seventy-five minutes Rattenbury did well to block a goal-bound shot as Fylde looked to put the tie to bed.

With fifteen minutes remaining, Nick Buxton changed formation and replaced Ryley Johnson with Halima Essa. For the next ten minutes this saw Belles take the game back to the hosts, but despite having more of the play, Laki and Khan were unable to convert promising build-ups into any real chances. Fylde came back into the game and with the last real attack of the game on eighty-nine minutes a wicked low cross by substitute Amy Hughes somehow evaded both defence and attack when any touch would have put it in.

The defeat sees Belles out of League Cup action for the season, and now looking forward to a Yorkshire derby at home in the FA Cup against Huddersfield Town on Sunday 13th November, KO 1pm.

 


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