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Blues go seven ahead
 Women's Football News 24 Jul 2011
 
Blues go seven ahead - 24 Jul 2011 - Women's Football NewsBirmingham City 3 (Susi 14, Williams pen 37,84)
Doncaster Rovers Belles 0

Leading scorer Rachel Williams scored twice as Birmingham City went seven points clear at the top of the FA WSL with a
3-0 victory over Doncaster Rovers Belles.
 
 
However the scoreline did not tell the full story of the match as the Belles threatened on a number of occasions and found Blues goalkeeper Marie Hourihan in excellent form.
 
Birmingham came out strongly from the start, determined to make an early strike and Karen Carney went close in the opening minutes. The England star was involved as the Blues went ahead just before the quarter hour, releasing Dunia Susi whose initial shot was blocked by Marie Earps but Susi was able to head the rebound into the back of the net.
 
Issy Christiansen tested Earps with a volley from Susi's cross but the Belles hit back and almost levelled the scores through a spectacular 25-yard strike from Shelly Cox which brought out a superb diving save from Hourihan. Katie Holtham then went close with a good strike which was just over the bar.
 
Susi saw an angled shot saved by Earps following a cross by Jade Moore but a minute later, Birmingham were handed a great chance to double their lead. Christiansen slid a great pass into the path of Carney who tried to take the ball around Earps but was tripped whilst doing so by Rhonda Jones and a penalty was awarded. Williams sent up and sent Earps the wrong way from the spot to put her side two goals ahead.
 
With Jo Potter commanding their play in midfield with an excellent range of passing and Moore once again showing up well alongside her, Birmingham pressed hard for a third goal and it nearly came as Williams dispossessed Jones in the area but her shot was deflected just wide by the recovering defender. Carney nodded down a chip from Moore into the path of Kerys Harrop who was denied by a save from Earps as the Blues finished the half on top.
 
Birmingham made a change at half time as Christiansen was forced off with an ankle injury and she was replaced by Maz Ballard. Doncaster were to produce the half's first effort, Vicky Exley firing just wide after latching onto a pass from Maria Karlsson.
 
The home side hit back with Williams playing a fine pass to release Carney down the right and her near post cross was volleyed just wide by Ballard, under pressure from Jones.
 
The Belles needed to find a way back into the game and began to put Birmingham under pressure, Kylla Sjoman going close with a shot on the turn that sailed narrowly over. Birmingham attacks were becoming more sporadic as debutant Jones impressed in the centre of defence for Doncaster and Earps was quickly off her line to avert any danger on a number of occasions.
 
Exley again went close with a strike from the edge of the area that was just over and Birmingham were handed a scare as Carney went down with an injury whilst sending in a cross and she left the field to be replaced by Stef Curtis, who was making her comeback following a long term injury.
 
Curtis was quickly involved as Williams flicked a header into her path but her shot lacked power and was saved by Earps. Doncaster hit back and won a free kick on the edge of the area when Aine O'Gorman was fouled. Exley struck a powerful shot but was denied as Hourihan dived to her left to make an excellent save.
 
The result was put beyond doubt with six minutes remaining as Birmingham were awarded a free kick on the left for a foul on Ballard. Potter drilled an inviting ball to the edge of the six yard area where Williams gave Earps no chance with a diving header to complete her double. 
 
Birmingham City: Marie Hourihan, Chelsea Weston, Kerys Harrop, Isobel Christiansen (sub Maz Ballard 45mins), Emily Westwood, Laura Bassett, Dunia Susi, Rachel Williams, Jade Moore (sub Sally Stanton 51mins), Karen Carney (sub Stef Curtis 71mins), Jo Potter.

Doncaster Rovers Belles: Marie Earps, Rhonda Jones, Shelly Cox, Katie Holtham (sub Abbie Prosser 62mins), Kasia Lipka, Maria Karlsson, Beth England (sub Jess Sigsworth 70mins), Vicky Exley (sub Julia Scott 83mins), Aine O'Gorman, Kylla Sjoman, Precious Hamilton.


 
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