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Bristol Academy 1 (Dykes 83) Doncaster Rovers Belles 0
Loren Dykes scored within a minute of coming on as a substitute to hand Bristol Academy their first league victory of the season.
The Welsh international produced a cool finish from a counter attack to settle a largely scrappy game of few chances at Stoke Gifford, not helped by a gusting cross wind which made things difficult for both sets of players.
Academy had the better of early possession and territory and won a number of corners without really testing Helen Alderson in the Belles goal, going closest through an overhead kick from Anouk Hoogendijk which cleared the bar.
Helen Bleazard fired a free kick well over the bar but a minute later, the winger had the best chance of the first half as she was put through by Ann Marie Heatherson's flick but Alderson produced a good save low down.
Both defences were well on top with the classy Tori Williams impressing in the centre for the Belles as they snuffed out most Academy attacks. At the other end, a Kasia Lipka shot, held by Siobhan Chamberlain, was the solitary strike the Belles could muster on goal.
Academy were dealt a blow at half time as midfielder Katie Daley, who had been their best performer during the first half, turned an ankle and needed to be replaced at the break by Molly Clark.
The second half was more open and the Belles in particular began to look more dangerous. They went close to taking the lead within ten minutes of the restart through a well struck free kick by Vicky Exley which was well saved by Chamberlain, who turned the ball over the bar. Katie Holtham headed over from a corner and Exley was off target with a speculative 40-yard lob.
Academy came back into the game again with Michelle Green heading wide from a deep Corinne Yorston cross and a good run and centre by Bleazard saw Heatherson miscue her header in front of goal.
Lillie Billson shot wide from the edge of the area after being set up by Jessica Fishlock but just as the game appeared to be drifting towards a stalemate, Academy came up with a late blow.
After the Belles had initially broken away from a corner, Chamberlain came out of her area to play the ball away. Grace McCatty burst down the right and skipped past a challenge from Lipka before her low centre was laid off by Billson into the path of Dykes, who took a touch before planting her shot past Alderson and inside the far corner.
Dykes could even have scored a second as Fishlock slid a pass into her path but put her shot wide, but Academy ran down the clock without any further danger to secure their first win.
Bristol Academy: Siobhan Chamberlain, Grace McCatty, Corinne Yorston, Jemma Rose, Emma Jones, Michelle Green (sub Lillie Billson 69mins), Helen Bleazard, Katie Daley (sub Molly Clark 45mins), Ann Marie Heatherson (sub Loren Dykes 81mins), Jessica Fishlock, Anouk Hoogendijk.
Subs not used: Alex Windell, Alex Culvin.
Doncaster Rovers Belles: Helen Alderson, Lyndsey Cunningham, Kasia Lipka, Katie Holtham, Tori Williams, Maria Karlsson, Becky Hall, Vicky Exley (sub Millie Bright 87mins), Aine O'Gorman (sub Shelly Cox 74mins), Kylla Sjoman, Precious Hamilton. Subs not used: Amy Turner, Mary Earps, Sarah Owen.
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