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REPORT | Stockport County 2 Belles 2

11 September 2023


REPORT | Stockport County 2 Belles 2

11 September 2023

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The Belles suffered a late hammerblow to ensure they returned home from Stockport County with a share of the spoils.

Efforts from Arianne Parnham and captain Jess Tugby-Andrew gave the Belles a two-goal advantage by the hour mark only for Stockport to fight back and level in the 90th minute.

Sam Winch and Alexandre Brito Nogueira made one change to the side that started at Hull City three days earlier with Parnham replacing Sophie Brown, who missed out through illness.

The hosts started on the front foot, bringing Ellie Sharpe into action within seconds from the kick-off as she kept out a strike from Maria Figueiredo. 

But having settled, the visitors began to create chances of their own. The first of which was a free-flowing move upfield which saw four players involved with Phoebe Sneddon eventually seeing her effort held by County ‘keeper Megan Brierley.

Captain Tugby-Andrew then headed a set-piece delivery over the bar, while Fran Davies went close at the other end with a header of her own.

Katie Yates was forced off just after the 20-minute mark, and her replacement Ryley Johnson played a part in the opening goal, which came through returnee Parnham’s head on 27 minutes. The full-back earned the throw-in which led to the cross into the middle for frontrunner Parnham to nod past an onrushing Brierley.

Sharpe had to react well to deny Jess Gillin one-on-one late in the half to preserve the lead, and defender Freya Rattenbury also did well to block behind a goal-bound strike from Figueiredo, with the Belles a goal to the good come the interval.

Jas Saxton almost doubled the advantage with a header which cannoned off the crossbar, but Jess Tugby-Andrew made it 2-0 on 55 minutes as she hammered home as Stockport ‘keeper Brierley spilled the ball from Holly Housley’s free-kick.

The hosts though rallied, and soon cut the gap to one goal as substitute Emily Bradshaw found the back of the net with a powerful strike which Sharpe got her fingertips to, but could not keep out.

Figueiredo then curled a strike wide of the mark, while Belles substitute Ella Mortimer dragged a strike off target at the other end trying to capitalise on an error from Brierley.

Stockport kept the pressure on the Belles, seeing Bradshaw go close with a free-kick, and it eventually told. Figueiredo was slipped in behind as the clock ticked over into the 90th minute, and the forward hammered home to break Belles’ hearts.

Before the contest was over, Sharpe had to pull off a fine double save to preserve the point the performance more than deserved, first clawing Lily Weston’s looping shot from range off the line before getting up to hold Kenzie Bentley’s follow-up at point-blank range.

The Belles are on the road once more on Sunday (September 17) as they visit Rotherham United in the first round of the County FA Cup (2pm) at the Roundwood Sports Complex.

Belles: Sharpe, L. Tugby-Andrew (Banaszczyk ’56), Rattenbury, J. Tugby-Andrew (C), Yates (Johnson ’21), Housley, Abadi, Sneddon (Morris ’73), Gigg, Parnham, Saxton (Mortimer ’81). Subs not used: Broadhurst.

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