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REPORT | Barnsley 3 Belles 2

6 May 2024


REPORT | Barnsley 3 Belles 2

6 May 2024

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The Belles fell narrowly short with a dramatic comeback as they saw out the season with a 3-2 loss at Barnsley Women.

The hosts had raced into a 3-0 lead inside the first half, with Jasmine Saxton and Arianne Parnham’s second half strikes giving the Belles hope of an unlikely comeback.

The game marked goalkeeper Ellie Sharpe’s 100th start for the club, and she marked the feat by being made captain for the afternoon.

But it was Barnsley who burst into life in a bright start, which saw Emily Pierrepont drill an effort wide of the post early doors.

And the early pressure paid when Rosie Axten’s shot was adjudged to have crossed the line despite the block of Katie Yates on the goalline.

The home side kept going, and doubled the lead inside the first 15 minutes through Charlotte Stuart’s spectacular long range effort, leaving goalkeeper Sharpe with no chance.

Megumi Shenton - on her first start for the Belles - almost responded immediately when her looping shot had to be beaten away by Clarke.

But Barnsley extended the lead further when Axton popped up to smash in a loose ball in the six yard box to cap off a near-perfect first half for the hosts.

The Belles came out a different side in the second half, and should have pulled themselves back into the contest when Saxton turned Parnham’s ball wide from close range.

Saxton may have felt hard done by when she was felled by Nuttall on the edge of the penalty area - with the referee deeming a yellow card sufficient punishment.

And the striker was again front and centre as the Belles deservedly got on the scoresheet, with Mollie Barlow’s through ball perfectly weighted for Saxton to finish from a tight angle.

This gave the Belles a spring in their step, and they could have had another shortly after when Saxton’s shot was blocked by the boot of a Barnsley defender on the front post.

Despite their first half dominance, Barnsley threatened little throughout the second period, although they came close to restoring their three-goal lead when Housecroft’s shot struck the crossbar before looping behind.

The Belles found further cause for complaint when Parnham was brought down cynically by Nuttall - with the referee opting not to show the defender a second yellow.

Parnham was front and centre of the action for large parts of the second half, and she deservedly got her goal when she lofted the ball over goalkeeper Clarke to give the Belles genuine hope of a memorable late comeback.

The Belles kept pushing, with substitute Barlow heading over in stoppage time, but the equaliser was not forthcoming.

The result saw the Belles finish the season in seventh in FAWNL Division One North, after a first defeat in six games.

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