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Belles progress after second half strikes
 Women's Football News 10 Feb 2014
 
Belles progress after second half strikes - 10 Feb 2014 - Women's Football NewsAston Villa 0 Doncaster Rovers Belles 2
A Sue Smith inspired Doncaster Rovers Belles swept into the Fourth Round of the F.A.Women's Cup as two second half goals saw them to victory at Sutton Coldfield. 
 
The Belles fielded a line up missing only the suspended Leandra Little and the injured Ashleigh Mills from last season and the veteran winger gave a great performance to help see her side home against a largely young Villa team which will improve in the weeks to come.
 
Doncaster settled down quickly on the 3G surface at Coles Lane with Beth England looking sharp early on and the striker went close as she won the ball from Abbey-Leigh Stringer in the Villa half and made her way forward but shot straight at Caitlin Leach.
 
Naomi Chadwick hit the side netting with a lob from 25 yards and Leach made a good save from England as she got on the end of a Lyndsey Cunningham cross.
 
Smith and Millie Bright both had efforts off target as the Belles continued to call the shots whilst at the other end, despite being driven on by the hard working Sherry McCue and some nice touches by Emma Follis, Villa were struggling to make an impression against the Doncaster defence with Victoria Williams and Rhiannon Roberts showing up well. McCue had their best effort on goal with a header but Villa would have been the happier of the two sides with the goalless scoreline at the interval.
 
This was to change just five minutes after the restart. Moments after having what seemed to be a good penalty shout turned down when Kasia Lipka went down in the area, Smith was tripped by Emily Owen and this time a spot kick was awarded. Williams stepped up and although Leach got a hand to her effort, the ball found the corner of the net and the Belles were ahead.
 
Before Villa could recover from the setback, they found themselves two behind. A clearly fired up Smith cut in from the right and drove at the Belles area where her shot deflected to England, unmarked and onside, and she kept her cool to pivot and steer a left foot shot past Leach.
 
The home side were finding it hard to cope with the movement of Smith, who was causing problems down both flanks, while Bright was commanding the midfield area and won a number of important challenges.
 
Villa's best moments were coming from half time substitute Sarah Mayling and the youngster went close after being picked out by a fine pass by McCue, cutting inside past Lauren Cresswell's challenge before firing straight at Nicola Hobbs. Moments later Mayling was put through on goal but again shot straight at the keeper.
 
Villa were dealt a huge blow midway through the second half when England Under-19 captain McCue was carried from the field with a knee injury before being taken to hospital after the game.
 
Doncaster were given a golden chance to put the result beyond doubt with eight minutes remaining when Jess Sigsworth broke down the right and cut the ball back for Chadwick who was denied by a fine challenge from Dani Petrovic, Smith pounced on the rebound but was brought down and a second penalty was awarded. Williams again stepped forward but this time her shot struck the underside of the bar and bounced away, Smith meeting the rebound with a header which was held by Leach.
 
Villa were unlucky not to pull a goal back when Beth Merrick's well struck left foot shot from 20 yards was superbly clawed away by Hobbs. The resulting corner produced a huge goalmouth scramble in which Villa players appeared to be queueing up to shoot at goal but somehow the Belles defence managed to keep the ball out en masse.
 
The speedy Sigsworth was always dangerous on the break and one such run took her to the edge of the area where her shot was saved by Leach.
 
Doncaster will be delighted with their first performance of the season following their controversial relegation and are likely to be a big force in WSL2 this campaign. Villa had their moments during the game and should do okay once the league gets underway in April. 
 
Aston Villa: Caitlin Leach, Erin Vaughan, Kelly Clarke, Sherry McCue, Dani Petrovic, Emily Owen, Emma Follis, Abbey-Leigh Stringer, Chloe Jones, Maddy Cusack, Olivia Fergusson. Subs: Laura Cooper, Lauren Walker, Maisie Baker, Beth Merrick, Sarah Mayling.

Doncaster Rovers Belles: Nicola Hobbs, Lyndsey Cunningham, Lauren Cresswell, Rhiannon Roberts, Victoria Williams, Kasia Lipka, Naomi Chadwick, Sue Smith, Jess Sigsworth, Millie Bright, Beth England. Subs: Lucy Sowerby, Emma Johnson, Jemma Purfield, Molly Johnson, Hope Knight.

Photos:

(top) Beth England scores Doncaster's second goal
(middle) Olivia Fergusson takes on Lyndsey Cunningham
(bottom) Lauren Cresswell is faced by Sarah Mayling

 
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