Durham WFC 1 Doncaster Belles 3: Second successive cup win for Staniforth’s side

Sue Smith. Photo by Malcolm Couzens-The FA
Sue Smith. Photo by Malcolm Couzens-The FA
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Penalties from Sue Smith and Jess Sigsworth either side of Emma Johnson’s header gave the Belles their second successive win in the Continental Cup, writes Chris Donald.

Smith, fouled by Kate Bradley, stepped up to score in her third consecutive game to leave the Belles in control before setting up Johnson after the break.

Sigsworth sealed the victory late on after Durham goal scorer Caroline Dixon brought the striker down in the box.

Millie Bright had the first effort on goal at New Ferens Park, fizzing a shot wide of Danielle Hill’s left hand post.

Sue Smith then tested Hill but the home ‘keeper easily held as the Belles pressed for an early opening.

Lauren Cresswell was once again causing havoc down the left with her delivery and almost set up Bright at the back post.

The Belles were then awarded a penalty after Bradley was adjudged to have pulled back Smith in the box with the England international picking herself up to slot it home.

The home side’s first real chance came shortly after when Zoe Ness saw Nicola Hobbs off her line and chipped a neat effort but Hobbs tracked back to tip it behind for a corner.

But it was the visitors who remained in control and should have gone 2-0 up when the ball broke in the box to Tori Williams but she couldn’t find the contact required to turn it past Hill.

Jess Round had the opportunity to level the scores just before the break but for some last-ditch defending from Williams.

The introduction of Sigsworth brought some much needed pace to proceedings and she almost got on the scoresheet straight away but for a brilliant save from Hill.

And it was Sigsworth who would instigate the second.

The striker broke through the defence and pulled the ball back for Smith to cross before Johnson met it at the back post to nod home.

Durham came back into it after the goal and went close when Hobbs saved well from Ness’s low drive.

A deserved goal did come for the home side moments later when a great ball from Round was bundled home by Dixon after the corner came back off the post.

The home side pressed for an equaliser but couldn’t find a break through in their spell in the ascendency.

Sigsworth made Durham pay on 87 minutes as she won a second penalty for the visitors, being brought down by Dixon.

And like Smith in the first half, Sigsworth grabbed the ball herself and sealed yet another three points for Gordon Staniforth’s side in the Continental Cup to go top of the group.

Durham: Hill (Stonehouse ’88), Christon, Hanratty (Young ’61), Linsley, Bradley (Hardy ’81), Jordinson, Dixon, Round, Jennings, Hepple, Ness. Unused subs: Stonehouse.

Belles: Hobbs; Cunningham (Sigsworth ’46), Little, Roberts, Cresswell; Williams, Bright (England ’64), Johnson; Smith, Mills, Thomas (Chadwick ’72). Unused subs: Lipka, Govier.

Yellows: Bradley ’18, Dixon ‘86.