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Doncaster Rovers Belles LFC
With just under a month until the start of the new season for FC’s Women, a high-profile friendly against a recognised and respected name in the women’s game, Doncaster Belle’s FC, saw the Reds edge a very evenly matched game 4-2 at Broadhurst Park.
To clarify, the Doncaster Belle’s FC side that crossed the Pennines this Sunday afternoon are not connected directly to the WSL2 side or their reserve and development set up but are instead allied to the youth set up and have been competing in open age competition to give their Juniors somewhere to progress, post 18 years of age. The visitors are established at the same level FC United will be competing at this season but in the North Eastern Women’s Regional League as opposed to the Western division, where the Reds now abide.
On a warm summer afternoon in front of 80 supporters, United took the game to the visitors inside the first minute as Fran Davies and Georgie Tindell broke up a Belles’ attack with the latter feeding Beth Hayes who whipped in a dangerous low cross for Shellby Wolstencroft to fractionally lose out in a race to the ball with Doncaster keeper Grace Dixon. Within a minute the visitors outpaced the United defence and Kirstie Nicholls blazed wide as Chloe Williams raced from her line.
The pattern was set for a tight, end to end contest and inside the first quarter hour Wolstencroft went close for the hosts whilst Kirsty Nelthorpe did likewise for the visitors. It was United who broke the deadlock on 27minutes as Adora Yau retained possession through midfield and her blocked shot rebounded wide to Charlie Evans who whipped in a dangerous cross from the right to the far post where Wolstencroft arrived to steer home from close range.
As befitted the game, Doncaster surged back into contention scoring themselves on the half hour through the dangerous Nicholls beating Tindell in a race to the ball and lofting her shot over the advancing Williams.
Kirsty Chambers saw a dangerous cross sliced onto the Doncaster bar by a defender and the half finished as Beth Scholey and Yau combined well in midfield releasing the ball wide to Jess Tonge who passed forward for Wolstencroft to just lose out once again to Dixon in the Doncaster goal.
Within four minutes of the restart FC had the lead as Leah Hartshorne slid a beautifully weighted pass into the path of Feiruz Abdullahi as the striker burst through on goal and slotted the ball to Dixon’s left into the bottom corner.
Minutes later, United had the ball in the net through the excellent Scholey after good work by Aimee Cooke, Abdullahi and Hartshorne but the number three was adjudged harshly offside as she placed the ball confidently passed Dixon.
Abdullahi was causing problems again on the hour and was brought down by the keeper with Yau firing the ensuing spot kick narrowly over the bar. However, five minutes later, striker Lucy Bonner latched onto a Hartshorne pass and went to round the keeper who brought her down. Bonner blasted the spot kick emphatically past Dixon to give the Reds a two goal cushion that lasted just three minutes.
A Williams goal kick was headed back over the FC defence where Nicholls reacted quickest for the visitors, lobbing Williams from 15 yards.
Inside the final ten minutes, Bonner made the game safe as a Doncaster attack broke down and Abdullahi surged down the left, riding a couple of challenges before cutting the ball back from the bye line for Bonner who, with her back to goal turned and fired low into the bottom corner from eight yards.
An excellent, well contested game between two evenly matched sides ended with an important pre-season victory for FC United.
Report by Rob Fullen
Players of the game: 1st half – Beth Scholey – new to the squad and was an integral and effective part of a central three in midfield always looking to support the forward line whilst having the energy to track back as required. 2nd half: - Lucy Bonner – another new member of the squad proving a handful up front with Feiruz Abdullahi and scoring FC’s last two, decisive goals.
Teams 9 August 2015: Attendance: 80
FC United of Manchester Women: 4 (1)
1. Chloe Williams (Goalkeeper)
15. Georgie Tindell (right back)
2. Fran Davies (centre half)
17. Jess McCarrick (centre half)
12. Jess Tonge (left back)
8. Adora Yau (centre midfield)
7. Beth Hayes (centre midfield)
3. Beth Scholey (centre midfield)
11. Kirsty Chambers (captain, left midfield)
16. Charlie Evans (right midfield)
9. Shellby Wolstencroft (centre forward) (Goal 27mins)
14. Feiruz Abdullahi (centre forward)
4. Aimee Cooke (for No12, 46mins)
5. Chelsea Patient (for No17 46mins & Captain 2nd half)
6. Lucy Bonner (for No9 46mins) (Goals 65mins [Pen], 83 mins)
10. Hannah Dobie (for No3 60mins)
14. Feiruz Abdullahi (for No11 46mins) (Goal 49mins)
18. Leah Hartshorne (for No 7 41 mins)
Roll on Roll off:
On No7 for No16 80mins
Doncaster Belles FC: 2 (1)
1. Grace Dixon
2. Chloe Dean
4. Kelly Griffiths
6. Gabi Marriott
9. Sophie Thompson
10. Chantelle Williams
11. Kirstie Nicholls (Goals 30 & 68mins)
12. Lauren Earle
13. Vickie Sharpe
14. Kirsty Nelthorpe
15. Dany Thompson
Subs: (Changes made but not noted)
5. Helen Herrick
7. Kesley O’Driscoll
16. Melissa Waters
17. Lauren Clarke
Referee: Kevin Moore
Venue: Broadhurst Park, Moston, Manchester