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REPORT | York City 2 Belles 2

13 March 2024


REPORT | York City 2 Belles 2

13 March 2024

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The Belles staged a dramatic second half comeback to earn a point from their trip to York City.

Goals from Milly Ash and Ella Duffield had the hosts 2-0 up before the hour mark at the LNER Community Stadium.

But the Belles roared into life in the later stages with Jasmine Saxton scoring twice in three minutes to secure a share of the spoils.

And they could easily have claimed all three points as Mollie Barlow and Phoebe Sneddon both hit the woodwork in quick succession.

It was not a vintage performance from Ciaran Toner’s side over the first hour of the game, with York enjoying the better of proceedings and clearly buoyed by the strong support they received at the stadium.

But the Belles showed tremendous character to get back on level terms, with Saxton claiming her 20th and 21st goals of an excellent personal campaign.

Toner made four changes from the defeat at Middlesbrough three days earlier with Laila Abadi, Freya Rattenbury, Katie Yates and Lauren Breen coming into the XI.

The hosts started brightly in front of a healthy crowd of 604, and could have taken the lead early on when Jess Holder’s header from a corner was kept out by Ellie Sharpe.

The deadlock was broken on the half hour mark, when Sophie Tinson was able to spin in the area and lay the ball off to Ash, who calmly swept home to give York the lead.

The Belles almost responded immediately, with Saxton cutting inside on the left and firing straight at Sidwell in the York goal.

Lindsey Tugby-Andrew could have drawn level right on half time when she fired over from a corner.

York started the second half as brightly as they opened the first, and could easily have gone 2-0 up when Tinson rounded Sharpe in the penalty area only to be denied by a fantastic last ditch challenge by Lindsey Tugby-Andrew.

But they did double their lead on 51 minutes when Duffield found space to curl the ball home.

And York could have been further ahead when Tinson saw her header clawed away from the bottom corner with a brilliant save from Sharpe.

The Belles struck back on 74 minutes, when Saxton was able latch onto a pinpoint through ball from Rattenbury and calmly slot into the net from just inside the penalty area to reach the 20-goal mark for the season.

This proved to be the catalyst, and less than two minutes later the Belles were level. Holly Housley’s cross evaded everybody inside the penalty area only to be tapped home by an unmarked Saxton at the far post.

And the turnaround was very nearly completed in stoppage time when Barlow’s shot was spectacularly tipped onto the crossbar by Sidwell, with Sneddon’s header agonisingly hitting the post on the follow-up.

Belles: Sharpe, Yates, J Tugby-Andrew, Rattenbury, Housley, L Tugby-Andrew, Barlow, McWilliams (Sneddon 71), Abadi, Breen (Gigg 46), Saxton. Subs not used: R Johnson, Parnham, Morris.

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