Doncaster Belles: Gardner goal sees U15s into semi-final

Doncaster Belles U15.  Back l/r Kelsey Douglas, Toyah Perry, Jessica Hassall, Chloe Dean, Sam Boulton, Naomi Oldridge, Keelie Earle, Kayleigh Green and Phoebe Sneddon.  Front l/r Roza Frydrych, Tia Hughes, Chanel Tomson, Mollie Cliffe, Fliss Hannington, Kirsty Nelthorpe, Emma Gardner and Libby Watson.  Picture: Malcolm Billingham
Doncaster Belles U15. Back l/r Kelsey Douglas, Toyah Perry, Jessica Hassall, Chloe Dean, Sam Boulton, Naomi Oldridge, Keelie Earle, Kayleigh Green and Phoebe Sneddon. Front l/r Roza Frydrych, Tia Hughes, Chanel Tomson, Mollie Cliffe, Fliss Hannington, Kirsty Nelthorpe, Emma Gardner and Libby Watson. Picture: Malcolm Billingham

An extra-time strike from Emma Gardner clinched a SHGCL semi-final spot for Doncaster Belles’ under-15s in their derby with Sheffield Wednesday, writes Nigel Watson.

In perfect conditions, the early season top two played out a good physical but fair cup tie.

With the Belles nervous and rushing their play in the opening exchanges, it needed an excellent save from Sam Boulton to stop the visitors from taking the lead.

Belles started to work the Sheffield defence more after the restart - the woodwork coming to Wednesday’s rescue on two occassions. Doncaster also needed Chloe Dean and Kayleigh Green to defend well against the lively Sheffield attack.

With both pushing for the vital opening goal, the defences were on top as the final whistle blew and extra time ensued.

However, tiredness crept in and Doncaster’s ‘Lass of the Grass’ Emma Gardner capitalised as she stepped inside and fired into the far corner to open the scoring for Belles.

Doncaster later hit the woodwork again as they looked for the vital second goal and Sheffield tried in vain to force penalties as Belles progressed into the next round.

Belles are next in action on November 30 when they host Sheffield FC.