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REPORT | Middlesbrough 5 Belles 0

10 March 2024


REPORT | Middlesbrough 5 Belles 0

10 March 2024

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The Belles fell to a comprehensive defeat to impressive league leaders Middlesbrough.

Boro opened the scoring after four minutes and never looked back as they surged clear on their outing at the grand Riverside Stadium.

The hosts led by four at the break and added another with the last kick of the game as the Belles - despite being much improved in the second half - failed to restrict high-flying opposition in the brilliant manner they did against promotion-chasing Barnsley a week earlier.

Izzy Gigg made her 50th appearance for the Belles, having made her debut for the club in August 2022.

Ellen Turnbull met a floated corner and headed over Ellie Sharpe to give Middlesbrough the lead after four minutes.

Turnbull saw a volley blocked moments later as Boro pushed for a second.

And they found it on 19 minutes when a corner was flicked on and sparked a goalmouth scramble with Ellen Packham poking home from close range.

Turnbull proved difficult to handle and was brought down by Gigg just three minutes later, allowing Sarah Burn to smash a penalty in off the bar to extend the hosts’ advantage.

Lindsey Tugby-Andrew stung the palms of Boro keeper Laura Wareham after racing onto a loose ball on the edge of the box, with the effort bouncing off the crossbar.

It helped spark a more positive period for Ciaran Toner’s side as they showed threat, as well as quietening down the hosts’ assault.

But Boro found another goal before the break as Jess Mett made a darting run from the right and finished superbly into the top corner with the outside of her boot.

Jasmine Saxton found herself in behind the Middlesbrough defence early in the second half only for Wareham to race off her line and smother the ball at the striker’s feet.

Sharpe produced an accomplished save to deny Lauren Robson’s effort from distance before Mett spurned the chance for a brace when firing over the crossbar after neat work from Faye Dale.

Arianne Parnham was millimetres from putting Saxton clean through with a fine pass but it was not to be the Belles’ day in front of goal.

And Middlesbrough rounded off the afternoon when Turnbull pounced on a parry from Sharpe to fire into an empty net with the final act of the game.

Belles: Sharpe, Johnson (Yates), Housley, J. Tugby-Andrew, Gigg (Abadi), Saxton, McWilliams (Sneddon), L, Tugby-Andrew, Parnham (Morris), Broadhurst (Rattenbury), Barlow.

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