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REPORT | Belles exit League Cup with defeat at higher league Wolves

27 August 2023


REPORT | Belles exit League Cup with defeat at higher league Wolves

27 August 2023

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The Belles exited the FA Women’s National League Cup in the Determining Round with defeat at higher league Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Sam Winch and Alexandre Brito Nogueira’s side were well in the game until the hour mark, with the hosts netting nine in the last 30 minutes to give the scoreline a more handsome look than it perhaps deserved.

The managerial duo made four changes to their side from the one which beat FC United of Manchester 7-1 to make it a winning start in the league seven days previous.

Lilli Broadhurst, Hannah McWilliams, Laila Abadi and Shelby Morris were the quartet to come into the starting XI at the Compton Park Training Ground.

Wolves began on the front foot and saw debutant Hannah Fryer curl an effort over from range in the opening 60 seconds.

Ellie Sharpe then pulled off a smart stop to deny Beth Merrick, while forward Morris went close with a cross-cum-shot at the other end.

The hosts were the ones to open the scoring on 18 minutes through a lob from Fryer, and that’s how it remained at the break, Tammi George coming closest to adding a second for Wolves with a chip of her own which struck the top of the crossbar.

Sophie Brown was introduced from the bench by the Belles at half time, but before she could have an influence on the contest, the Wanderers had doubled their advantage through attacker George. She prodded in from a corner after an initial header had struck the bar.

Just four minutes later, the Belles halved the deficit through captain Jess Tugby-Andrew, who nodded home Holly Housley’s whipped set-piece delivery after Jasmine Saxton had worked hard to earn her side the free-kick.

Sharpe then pulled out a superb stop to tip Amber Hughes’ long-range strike onto the bar, and the momentum appeared to be with the Belles, but substitute Destiney Toussaint’s goal on the hour for Wolves ended any hopes of a comeback.

From there on in, Dan McNamara’s side made virtually every attack count, ruthlessly displaying why they’re one of the top dogs in the tier above.

George and Hughes both got in on the act before captain Anna Morphet slotted home from the penalty spot on 67 minutes after a foul on full-back Ellie Wilson inside the area.

Wilson herself grabbed the seventh for the Old Gold, while Hughes added another two minutes later.

Brown tried her luck from distance for the Belles without success, though did manage to bring Wolves shot stopper Shan Turner into action with a dinked effort moments after Merrick had made it 9-1.

Toussaint would take the hosts into double figures for the day when she slotted home the rebound following a strike which had hit the crossbar.

Hughes sealed her hat-trick to round off proceedings deep into added time with a low driven strike. 

Due to the defeat, the Belles will play in the Plate competition this season with details of opposition to follow.

The Belles are back in action next Sunday, September 3, when they host Leeds United at the Iqbal Poultry in a first home game of the season (2pm KO).

Belles: Sharpe, Johnson, Rattenbury, J. Tugby-Andrew (C), Housley, Broadhurst (Breen 71), L. Tugby-Andrew, McWilliams, Abadi (Yates 84), Morris (Brown HT), Saxton. Subs not used: Mortimer, Barlow 

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