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Report | Belles 0-5 Derby County

2 October 2023


Report | Belles 0-5 Derby County

2 October 2023

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Despite a much improved performance in the second half, the Belles exited the FA Women’s National League Plate First Round with a 5-0 defeat to higher-tier opposition Derby County at the Iqbal Poultry Stadium in Thorne.

Visitors County have been one of the top dogs in the Northern Premier Division for a long time, and showed their class in a dominant first 45 minutes, going in four to the good at the break, to rubber stamp their tagline as one of the favourites to win this competition.  

Manager Sam Winch and Head Coach Alexandre Brito Nogueira made two changes to their Belles side from last Sunday’s away win in the league against Norton & Stockton Ancients. 

New signing Meg Clement - joining from Barnsley - started in goal, while Lauren Breen was drafted in to spearhead the frontline. Ellie Sharpe and Jas Saxton were the two to drop out.

Derby flew out of the blocks and got themselves ahead within two minutes as Marli Rhodes-Andrews glanced home a cross from the right, and after a short spell which saw the Belles nullify their threat, the same player nodded a second past Clement on 23 minutes.

The third for the Ewe Rams came on the half-hour mark, with Rebecca May utilising a wet surface to send a long-range free-kick skidding along the surface and into the back of the net.

Three then became four seven minutes later as Maria Timms volleyed home at a corner, and only a tremendous last-ditch challenge from Holly Housley to hook the ball off her own line prevented it becoming five at the interval.

Winch and Nogueira saw their side come out much stronger in the second half, with Ryley Johnson going close with an effort just two minutes after the restart, her effort into the side netting from a tight angle the culmination of a quality move upfield.

Housley then saw a long-range strike held by Derby ‘keeper Sarah Morgan, while captain Jess Tugby-Andrew also tried her luck to no avail with a free-kick earned by some terrier-like movement from Breen.

After the visitors saw a goal disallowed by the offside flag, the Belles - who lost Lilli-Mae Broadhurst to injury at half time - then saw full-back Housley sin-binned and handed 10 minutes off the field as a result.

Under the cosh for the majority of those 10 minutes, new recruit Clement pulled off two good saves, both to deny Eleanor Ashton, with one of those seeing the follow-up kept out by the sprawling legs of Laila Abadi.

Eventually, the second half resistance was broken by Sarah Jackson from range with a lobbed strike to take the scoreline to 5-0, with a combination of Clement and the crossbar preventing it becoming six prior to the full-time whistle.

The Belles return HOME next Sunday - October 8 - when they take on Middlesbrough at the Eco-Power Stadium (2pm KO). Tickets are on sale HERE for that huge league clash, and there’s still time to take advantage of our superb season ticket offer, just £19.69 for adults HERE!

Belles: Clement, Johnson (Barlow ’81), J. Tugby-Andrew (c), Rattenbury, Housley, Broadhurst (Banaszczyk HT), L. Tugby-Andrew, Abadi, Sneddon (Morris ’65), Gigg, Breen

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