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Match report | Solihull Moors 2 Belles 0

4 September 2022


Match report | Solihull Moors 2 Belles 0

4 September 2022

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A goal in each half condemned Belles to their first defeat of the season away on the 4G at the ARMCO Arena.

Belles manager Andy Butler kept the same squad and starting eleven that beat Sheffield FC in mid-week, and was looking to build on what has been an encouraging start to the season. Solihull were looking to follow up on two home wins and also to avenge the double which Belles did over them last season.

Belles started brightly and looked to take the game to Moors. After six minutes striker Sophie Brown had an early chance on the break to test Harley Savage in the home goal, but her shot went wide.

Play ebbed and flowed for some time with neither side carving out real chances, until Solihull took the lead on nineteen minutes. Belles failed to clear a Moors corner to the back post, leaving Lyndsey Ross-Baker to poke the ball home from two yards.

The goal gave the hosts some impetus, with Belles on the back foot as Moors’ midfield started to gel in possession and look to quickly close down any visitor attempts to get the ball moving.

Belles had to work hard to make the chances and on thirty-two minutes a Jess Andrew free-kick into the box fell to Olivia Harness whose shot was well saved at the far post by Savage.

Approaching half-time, and in what was to be a portent of things to come, play was stopped for a while as a Solihull player received treatment. On the re-start, Moors went on the attack and saw a curling effort clear the bar, much to the relief of Belles keeper Ellie Sharpe.

Into the second half, and following another stoppage in play, Belles looked to get back into the game. On forty-nine minutes, good team build-up around the edge of the box saw Halima Essa feed Sophie Scargill, but the Belles’ club captain was unlucky to have the ball whisked off her toes by the advancing Savage. On fifty-three minutes, Belles again broke through Moors backline but Brown’s shot was deflected wide.

On fifty-five minutes Andy Butler brought on Holly Housley and Izzy Gigg to replace Shannon Durkin and Halima Essa, but on sixty minutes the hosts doubled their advantage when Belles again failed to deal with a corner, leaving Becky Knight to head in at the back post.

Andy Butler looked for a quick response but Moors were keen not to let the visitors back in to the game, acting quickly to stifle the Belles’ midfield. In a stop-start game following another stoppage in play for a Moors injury, Butler first brought on Eliza Bedford for Lily Wishart and then the final throw of the dice with Ryley Johnson and Chloe Dean replacing Sophie Brown and Lindsey Tugby.

On 79 minutes another Andrew free-kick into the box put the home defence under pressure, but as the ball hung in the air, Savage was again there to collect under pressure. At the other end, Moors broke and Belles were lucky not to go further behind as a header went over the bar.

As the game moved into added time, Belles nearly halved the deficit with a chance for Harness, but her close shot was again blocked and smothered by Player Of The Match Savage. Savage was yet again on hand to deny Belles as she palmed away a goal-bound Housley free-kick as Belles looked to get something out of the game.

With two more further delays to play due to injuries, time finally ran out for the Belles and the hosts were able to enjoy their third home win of the season and Belles’ first defeat.

We return to the Iqbal Poultry Stadium next Sunday 11th September when we entertain  visitors Merseyrail FC in the Determining Round of the FAWNL League Cup, kick off 2pm.

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