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Belles keep title chance alive
 Women's Football News 5 Oct 2014
Belles keep title chance alive - 5 Oct 2014 - Women's Football NewsSunderland 1 (Mead 12) Doncaster Rovers Belles 2 (Sigsworth 60, Williams 83)
Sunderland fell to their first defeat of the league season at home to second placed Doncaster Rovers Belles in front of over 1,100 at Hetton. 
Knowing that a win would secure the title and promotion, the hosts took an early lead through top scorer Beth Mead. However Doncaster were a constant threat and levelled just after the break though Jess Sigsworth, before Victoria Williams' fine effort gave the visitors all three points.
The result leaves Sunderland five points clear at the top of the WSL 2 table, although that could be reduced to two points if Doncaster were to win their game in hand.
An early flurry of Sunderland corners saw first Rachel Furness and then Keira Ramshaw have efforts cleared off the line. However, the Lady Black Cats didn't have to wait long; with less than a quarter of an hour played, the hosts made the breakthrough when Mead was fouled out wide.
Steph Bannon's free kick was knocked skyward amongst a melee of bodies but Mead, two yards further forward, was unmarked to nod the dropping ball high beyond Nicola Hobbs from the edge of the six yard area.
From the restart it was obvious that Doncaster seemed a changed side, though the closest they came to a goal in the first period was through Vicki Greenwell, who almost turned Victoria Williams' cross into her own net.
In a second half in which the visitors enjoyed most of the possession, it took until just before the hour mark for the Belles to give Rachael Laws a real test, Beth England's free kick from 30 yards rattling the bar on the way over.
Just five minutes later Doncaster were level, a deep cross to the back post was headed powerfully at the bottom corner by Sigsworth, Bannon doing her best to keep it out, but to no avail.
With eight minutes to go, the visitors took the lead. Courtney Sweetman-Kirk ran to the goal line before cutting the ball back to Williams who curled it superbly over Laws and into the corner of the goal.
Sunderland now travel to Oxford and Millwall Lionesses knowing that four points would seal the title and promotion, regardless of other results. 
Sunderland: Rachael Laws, Abby Holmes, Vicki Greenwell, Rachel Furness, Steph Bannon, Hayley Sharp, Keira Ramshaw (sub Rebekah Bass 71mins), Kelly McDougall, Beth Mead, Abbey Joice, Sophie Williams.

Doncaster Rovers Belles: Nicola Hobbs, Lyndsey Cunningham, Victoria Williams, Leandra Little, Rhiannon Roberts, Kasia Lipka, Jess Sigsworth (sub Ashleigh Mills 80mins), Sue Smith, Courtney Sweetman-Kirk, Millie Bright, Beth England.

(Report by www.fawsl.com)

Photos by Susan Gutteridge:

(top) Abby Holmes holds off Jess Sigsworth
(middle) Beth Mead heads Sunderland in front
(bottom) Rachel Furness gets in a shot for Sunderland

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