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REPORT | Leeds United 4 Belles 2

8 January 2024


REPORT | Leeds United 4 Belles 2

8 January 2024

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The Belles fell to defeat in their first match of 2024 as they were beaten by Leeds United at the Bannister Prentice Community Stadium.

The hosts took the lead in the first half through Jess Rousseau but the Belles quickly restored parity with a great solo effort from Izzy Gigg. 

At the break the Belles had a lead of their own thanks to Jasmine Saxton but another goal from Rousseau and efforts from Kath Smith and Sarah Danby gave the Whites the three points. 

The Belles made a bright start and Gigg drew a good save from Leeds keeper Abi Megeary after latching onto a half clearance. 

But it was the hosts who broke the deadlock on 17 minutes when a defence-splitting pass put Rousseau through on goal and while Ellie Sharpe initially saved, she could do little about the follow-up. 

Rousseau almost set the stage for a Leeds second moments later when she released Alice Hughes, but the shot was flashed across the face of goal. 

The Belles pushed for the leveller with Lauren Breen firing over the crossbar after a smart turn on the penalty spot. 

But they did find the equaliser on 26 minutes. Gigg broke beyond the Leeds backline, powered inside and cannoned a shot in off the underside of the crossbar. 

The Belles were firmly in the ascendancy and Saxton forced Megeary to parry away a shot at the near post. 

But Saxton made no mistake with the next attack on 37 minutes as she beat the keeper to the ball and rolled it into an empty net. 

Hannah McWilliams saw an effort saved early in the second half before Holly Housley produced a brilliant last-ditch tackle at the other end. 

Leeds levelled the score on 56 minutes after Sian Gibrill-Keating was brought down in the box and Smith fired home from the spot. 

The Belles twice went close to re-taking the lead when Breen fired wide from a one-on-one position while Saxton saw claims for a penalty turned down. 

It was the hosts who went ahead on 75 minutes when Rousseau headed home an Olivia Smart cross. 

And two minutes later the advantage was extended when Danby pounced on a mistake and lobbed Sharpe with a first-time effort. 

The Belles fought until the end with Housley seeing a volley pushed away but there was to be no way back. 

Belles: Sharpe, R. Johnson, Housley, Abadi (Sneddon 71), Rattenbury (Broadhurst 81), J. Tugby-Andrew, Gigg, Saxton, McWilliams (Morris 71), L. Tugby-Andrew, Breen (Barlow 78). Subs not used: P. Johnson. 

The Belles are back on home soil on Sunday, January 14 (2pm) as they welcome Stockport County to the Iqbal Poultry Stadium. There still time to secure your tickets for the  first home game of 2024 by clicking HERE.

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