SLIDESHOW: Balby celebrate national title

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Balby Carr’s girls team were punching the air with delight after retaining the English Schools FA trophy following a dramatic cup final victory.

The under-18s footballers and Reading’s John Madejski Academy’s national cup clash had to be settled in extra-time, with Balby rallying towards a stunning 4-2 win after coming back from 2-1 down.

Balby Carr girls team have retained the English Schools FA title following a 4-2 extra-time win over Reading's John Madejski Academy.

Balby Carr girls team have retained the English Schools FA title following a 4-2 extra-time win over Reading's John Madejski Academy.

The game at Coventry City’s Ricoh Arena marked an incredible fourth final for Doncaster’s match-winners in the last five years of the competition.

And Balby - sporting their new Live4Soccer kits - started brightly with Sianna Bennett forcing a mistake from the opposition defence before her first minute effort was pawed wide by Reading’s goalkeeper.

Bennett was in the thick of it again as she pounced on another error at the back, this time nipping in to slot home for 1-0.

Doncaster Belles midfielder Ash Mills was proving to be a constant threat for Balby down the right with Leah Hardy, Ellie Chandler and Brooke Smith all coming close for the Doncaster outfit.

However, John Madejski started brightly after the restart - levelling when Balby shot-stopper Megan Govier was unable to prevent a rebound after expertly saving Reading’s initial shot.

That goal seemingly rocked Balby as they found themselves 2-1 down shortly afterwards as Reading converted a penalty.

But their ‘never-say-die’ attitude came to the forefront as Balby equalised when Molly Johnson struck a superb effort into the top corner.

With neither side able to be separated, extra-time ensued with Balby having to do it all without influential captain Olivia White who had to be stretchered off due to injury.

The Doncaster side managed to take control of the match as they went into the lead for the second time in the game - this time through stand-in skipper Beth Smyth who shifted the ball out of her feet and fired in.

As Reading attacked in a bid to level the game once more, Balby took advantage of their opponent’s vulnerability at the back when Chloe Dixon finished off a superb counter-attack to kill the game off and spark wild celebrations for the Doncaster outfit.

See this week’s Doncaster Free Press for all the reaction from coach John Buckley.

Photos by Molly Johnson and Malcolm Billingham

Match report by Steven Spittlehouse