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Women's Football News
F.A.Women's Cup - Road to the Final
Bradford City ended the fine Cup run of FC Reedswood in the Third Round with a 5-0 victory, given to them by Molly-Mae Sharpe, Rachel Lee, Sarah Danby, Abigail Barker and an own goal. This has landed them a plum draw at home to Doncaster Rovers Belles, who reached this stage by beating London Bees 3-0.
The name of Doncaster Belles is synonymous with women's football and they enjoy a rich heritage in this competition, something that new manager Glen Harris will want to continue this season.
Following the founding of the club in 1969, it took only fourteen years until the Belles found themselves in their first FA Women's Cup Final. In 1983, they faced St. Helens at Lincoln City's Sincil Bank and ran out 3-2 winners. The next three years saw another three FA Cup finals, but the Belles were defeated in each one. The Belles reclaimed the trophy in 1987 following another victory over St. Helens, this time by a scoreline of 2-0. The FA Cup was retained the following year after a victory over Leasowe Pacific.
After missing out in 1989, a Gill Coultard goal saw off Friends of Fulham in the 1990 final at The Baseball Ground as the Belles won the FA Cup for the fourth time. 1992 saw the club complete their first double as Southampton Red Star were brushed aside 4-0 in the FA Cup Final. This season also saw striker Karen Walker complete a remarkable feat, as she scored a hat-trick in every round of the competition including the final.
Two years later, at Glanford Park, the Belles retained the trophy they had lost to Arsenal the following year as they defeated Knowsley United 1-0. The Belles reached the final again in 2000 but were defeated by Croydon in controversial circumstances. The most recent final appearance came in 2002, as the Belles were defeated by professional side Fulham.
The Club was originally formed in 1969 as the Belle Vue Belles by young women who were selling draw tickets on the terraces at Doncaster Rovers. They started out by playing local small-sided games but within a short period of time they found themselves venturing outside of Doncaster, where the Belle Vue part of the name had no meaning. In 1971 the club changed their name and became known as the Doncaster Belles!
After Championship success in the regional leagues (12 out of 13 in the Notts League and 2 from 2 in the North East League) in addition to many tournaments and Cup successes the Belles became founder members of the National League in the 1991/92 season - where they completed the League and F.A. Cup double without conceding a game! In the 17-year history of the National League set-up, Doncaster Belles completed the double once more and in this Championship have finished second four times and third twice.
In 2005 they formalised a partnership link with Doncaster Rovers, which enabled them to play a number of our games at Belle Vue and also to use the excellent training facilities at Cantley Park. For the past five seasons they have been proud to wear the same kit as Doncaster Rovers, then changed their name again to become finally known as the Doncaster Rovers Belles.
In March 2009, they were named as one of the eight members of the inaugural FA Women's Super League which started in April 2011. However they were controversially relegated to the newly formed WSL 2 in 2013 and narrowed missed out on a return at the first attempt, finishing as runners-up to Sunderland.
The Belles for The Community initiative was launched November 2009, becoming Britain's first social enterprise delivering community, social, health and educational services with female sport as a focal point. This launch was based on extensive research amongst a large number of community organisations and agencies within Doncaster and South Yorkshire and it has certainly raised the profile of the Belles significantly. It has also demonstrated the importance of opening up women's football to the community and to become more than 'just a football club.'
Glen Harris took over as manager for the start of the new WSL season, with Belles stalwart Julie Chipchase as Director of Football and Leandra Little as captain. The squad includes one of the country's most famous women footballers in Sue Smith who was joint top scorer last season along with Beth England. A couple of new players to watch this season are Emily Roberts and Sophie Barker, also young England Under-19 player Ashleigh Mills who has come on so well during the last two years.
Many well known players have played for the club in the past including Gill Coultard, who won 119 caps for England, and Karen Walker who is her country's second highest goalscorer of all time.
However one name above all is associated with the club - Sheila Edmunds. A founder member in 1969, Sheila played for 25 years, was physio for 13 years and is now Club President and General Manager. Sheila also had the privilege of winning six FA Cup Finals with the Belles, her only club.
Bradford City (from): Carrie Simpson, Danielle Whitham, Zoe Roberts, Chantelle O'Hara, Faye Boshell, Charlotte Stuart, Abigail Lee, Molly-Mae Sharpe, Olivia Thackray, Sarah Danby, Stephanie Jones, Paige Crosby, Aqsa Mushtaq, Rachel Lee, Abigail Brown, Rosie McDonnell, Abigail Barker, Sarah Dobby, Anne Wethe.
Doncaster Rovers Belles (from): Nicola Hobbs, Lyndsey Cunningham, Sam Tierney, Leandra Little, Rhiannon Roberts, Kasia Lipka, Molly Johnson, Sue Smith, Courtney Sweetman-Kirk, Emily Roberts, Beth England, Reanne Thomas, Sophie Stamp, Jody Handley, Ashleigh Mills, Sophie Barker, Danielle Hill, Lauren Cresswell, Hope Knight.
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