A Lucy Sowerby brace helped Doncaster Rovers Belles’ Development Squad kick-off 2014 with a 4-3 win over Durham, writes Mark Donnelly.
The Belles were on the front foot from the off and the breakthrough came after 20 minutes when Lauren Cresswell saw her powerful free-kick parried before Sowerby tapped in the rebound.
Despite relentless attacking throughout the first period, the Belles did not extend their advantage until just shy of the 50-minute mark when a neat touch and turn from Jemma Purfield was followed with a curling effort into the top corner.
Winger Sowerby, who has been in fine form throughout the Development League season thus far, doubled her tally for the afternoon shortly after.
She controlled a deep cross before seeing her drive cannon off the underside of the bar and in.
Just as it looked as if the Belles would run away with proceedings, Durham made the contest interesting when a deep cross was adjudged to have bounced over the line, despite furious protests from the hosts’ defence.
Durham were then in the ascendency and reduced the deficit moments later. It came when a mix-up between Emma Higgins and Rhiannon Roberts saw the ball strike the post before Stacy Crooks fired the ball home.
Three points looked to be secured for the Belles 15 minutes from time when Emma Johnson, who had earlier struck the post, drilled home to reinstate the two-goal cushion.
The visitors however, weren’t finished there. A long ball was controlled well by Crooks who then executed an exquisite volley into the top corner, which left Higgins with no chance.
The final five minutes saw the game die down in tempo as the Belles’ Development Squad started 2014 with a well-deserved victory.