The Belles FAWSL Continental Cup sojourn is over after defeat in their final group game away at Birmingham City. A goal in each half from Eni Aluko and Jodie Taylor proved enough to win it for the Blues who go on to face Lincoln in the semi-finals.
Though the Belles had the first effort on goal through a Jess Sigsworth shot which flew just over it would be the home side who dominated the game. Indeed Doncaster would have goalkeeper Mary Earps to thank for keeping them in the game, the keeper making a great stop to her left to deny Taylor early on, the first of many. It took a good challenge from Leandra Little to stop Taylor getting in on goal again, whilst Earps was on hand once more to deny Rachel Williams.
At the other end the Belles were struggling to create clear opportunities and so it wasn’t too surprising as Birmingham went ahead on the half hour mark, Aluko breaking into the area to drill a low shot past Earps. Doncaster’s best chance of an equaliser came just before the break as Kasia Lipka slid a neat pass into the path of Aine O’Gorman, but the Irish international fired wide.
After the break normal service resumed as Birmingham pushed for a second goal; Rachel Unitt could only redirect a Karen Carney free-kick wide of the goal, whilst Earps made another excellent stop down to her left to deny Williams. Eventually though the Blues did get their second goal, a long ball from Emily Westwood catching out the Belles back-line and Taylor managed to hold off the recovering challenges to slot past Earps for 2-0.
Though chances were fleeting, Doncaster didn’t give up on finding a consolation and almost found one as Sigsworth intercepted a stray pass and hit a long-range effort which didn’t quite dip enough to fall beneath Marie Hourihan’s crossbar. That was to prove as close as the Belles came to taking anything from the game, as Birmingham held out for the win as they continue their pursuit of the treble.
Belles line-up: Mary Earps; Leandra Little, Lyndsey Cunningham, Tanya Oxtoby, Naomi Chadwick (Shelby Hills); Alyssa Lagonia, Kasia Lipka, Katie Holtham, Aine O’Gorman (Bethany England); Millie Bright (Julie-Ann Russell), Jessica Sigsworth