Doncaster Roveres Belles 1 Stoke City Ladies 2

Doncaster Rovers Belles lost 2-1 to Stoke City in their first game of 2019.

Tuesday, 15th January 2019, 9:18 am
Updated Tuesday, 15th January 2019, 9:19 am
Kirsty Smith and Abby Watkinson battle for possession. Photo: Julian Barker

But there are signs that Zoey Shaw's young side are starting to get to grips with life in the FA Women's National League Northern Premier Division.

Belles lost the reverse fixture 5-0 earlier in the season.

But on Sunday at Rossington Main they battled hard and could well have snatched a point despite being reduced to ten players following a red card for Georgia Marshall.

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Doncaster remain second bottom of the table but two of their three victories have came in their last four league games.

Shaw said on Twitter: 'Few factors played a part today nevertheless this team today shown what they are capable of!

'We stepped up today, players making good positive decisions, game management and confidence.'

Hannah Keryakoplis gave Stoke the lead on 26 minutes when she fired into the bottom corner.

Marshall was dismissed for a second yellow card just after the hour mark and the visitors thought they had wrapped up the points when Amy Hughes scored with a tidy finish.

It was game on again during the closing stages after Chloe Bethell was fouled in the box and Emily Burgin smashed home the resultant penalty, but despite their best efforts Belles were unable to force an equaliser.

Belles travel to Middlesbrough on Sunday.