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Doncaster Rovers Belles won the Sheffield & Hallamshire County Cup for the third season running, taking their successes in the competition to seven, but it was Rotherham United, the valiant runners-up, who left their impression on those watching.
Belles went into the game waiting to find out if they had been accepted into the FA Women's Super League (due to start in 2011, with the successful teams announced a day after the final), but for the first half one would never have guessed at the fact that Rotherham are two tiers below their more illustrious opponents in the pyramid.
Rotherham captain Helen Lynskey had a glorious opportunity to open the scoring, but probably didn't realise how much time and space she had after Zuzana Pramukova's strike came back off the bar with Marie Hourihan in the Belles goal beaten. Opting to head the ball away from the direction Hourihan was heading, it was agonising to see the ball clear the far post.
Pramukova fetched a fine save from Hourihan and Rachel Rutherford had a free kick tipped over as Rotherham rose to the occasion and produced arguably their best display for a long while.
At the other end Belles had a few chances, but without creating the same level of alarm as Rotherham had done in the opposite goalmouth.
The interval arrived with the deadlock still to be broken, but it was asking a lot for Rotherham to maintain the forcefulness of their first half display for a second 45 minutes.
Indeed, the game evolved into the proverbial one of two halves with the balance of play changing hands completely. Rotherham had an early let off when Rachel Williams' rising shot hit the bar.
Belles captain Vicky Exley was brought down just outside the area ten minutes after the break, the infringement being punished with her free kick finding the back of the net.
Pramukova had the ball in the net when she met a deep free kick, but referee Mateusz Kiecz was well positioned to give an offside before the ball had crossed the line.
Millie Bright made it 2-0 on 72 minutes and Exley netted her second six minutes later on the counter attack to produce a final score more in keeping with the respective status of the two finalists.
Doncaster Rovers Belles were presented the Sheffield & Hallamshire Women's Challenge Cup from Brian Jones, Chairman of Sheffield & Hallamshire FA.
(Report by Julian Barker)
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