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REPORT | Belles 3 FC United of Manchester 0

22 April 2024


REPORT | Belles 3 FC United of Manchester 0

22 April 2024

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The Belles signed off their home campaign with a comfortable 3-0 win over FC United of Manchester under the lights at the Eco-Power Stadium.

Hannah McWilliams set them on their way with an early goal before substitute Megumi Shenton provided a spark in the second half and Mollie Barlow delivered a stunning stoppage time finish to round off the victory.

The visitors started the day bottom of FAWNL Division One North but pre-match warnings from Belles manager Ciaran Toner proved correct as FC United emerged strong from the off.

Evie McCaffrey fired narrowly over the bar in the early stages.

The Belles dealt FC United a blow on ten minutes. Brilliant hold-up play by Arianne Parnham allowed her to pick out McWilliams in the penalty area to slot home her seventh goal of the season.

The Belles could have extended their lead on the half hour mark when Holly Housley’s effort from outside the penalty area appeared to have been looping in, requiring a good save from goalkeeper Donald.

FC United came close to an equaliser shortly after when Eve O’Carroll’s cross was inches in front of both Settle and Gordon, with neither able to connect with it.

Not ones to show complacency in such a successful run, Toner’s side continued to apply pressure after the break - Katie Yates going close from a free kick which evaded everybody in the penalty area.

Parnham could have got on the scoresheet herself when her low shot was deflected behind by the boot of the goalkeeper on the hour mark.

And Parnham was to come close again minutes later, when her shot from distance was tipped onto the upright by FC United stopper Donald.

The woodwork was struck yet again shortly after, as Jess Tugby-Andrew’s header crashed off the crossbar from Laila Abadi’s inviting corner.

It was to prove no hindrance - and the Belles did not have to wait long to finally double their advantage.

A great passing move between Shenton and Jasmine Saxton ended with the substitute slotting the ball across the goalkeeper and into the corner to extend the lead.

FC United kept going, and almost responded immediately as Gordon sent a low shot wide of the post.

But the Belles had one last trick left up their sleeve, and it was left for Barlow to apply the finishing touches to another satisfactory evening - the substitute producing an outstanding finish into the top right corner in second half stoppage time to put the result beyond any doubt.

The second 3-0 victory in as many games provides the perfect springboard ahead of the County Cup final next Sunday against Huddersfield Town at Hillsborough.

Belles: Sharpe, Yates, J Tugby-Andrew, Rattenbury, Housley, L Tugby-Andrew (Morris 82), Parnham (Barlow 74), Gigg (Shenton 63), McWilliams (Sneddon 63), Abadi (Banaszczyk 82), Saxton.

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