Doncaster Rovers Belles 2 Aston Villa 1

Courtney Sweetman-Kirk was on the scoresheet again. Photo: The FA/The FA via Getty Images

Courtney Sweetman-Kirk was on the scoresheet again. Photo: The FA/The FA via Getty Images

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Doncaster Rovers Belles deservedly held off a spirited effort by Aston Villa to move above their rivals in Division Two of the Spring Series.

Defeat ended Villa’s outside chance of winning the title.

After surviving an early scare when Nicky Davies denied Kerri Welsh with a fine reflex save, Belles dominated the first half.

Midfielder Kirsty Hanson was involved in both goals as Doncaster’s neat approach work caused Villa a host of problems.

Her 15-yard shot in the 21st minute gave Belles the lead despite a valiant effort by goalkeeper Chloe Beattie.

Then her excellent run down the right provided a straightforward 10th goal of the campaign for leading scorer Courtney Sweetman-Kirk in the 40th minute.

A one-sided half ended with Sweetman-Kirk being denied at close range by Beattie.

Villa made a double change at the interval but it was Belles who should have made the game safe when Sweetman-Kirk rolled her shot against a post after rounding Beattie.

But Davies made good saves from Mollie Rouse and Welsh before a rare error allowed Maddy Cusack to pull a goal back in the 78th minute.

Only an excellent save by Davies denied Mollie Rouse an equaliser before Hanson and Christie Murray missed clear chances at the other end in a frantic finale.

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