Doncaster Rovers Belles 2 Manchester City 3
Doncaster Rovers Belles gave FAWSL1 heavyweights Manchester City a run for their money in their final Continental Cup group match.
City asserted their dominance after just four minutes of an entertaining game as Claire Emslie tucked away Steph Houghton’s cross from the right after Doncaster only managed to get a corner halfway clear.
Jess Sigsworth twice had the chance to equalise in the first half, but headed just over the bar from Kirsty Hanson’s excellent cross before later curling a loose ball wide from the edge of the City box.
Substitute Izzy Christiansen could have doubled City’s lead 11 minutes before the break after Nicky Davies’ clearance went straight to Emslie on the edge of the box, but Rhiannon Roberts blocked her placed attempt on goal.
Doncaster briefly drew level nine minutes after the break as Sigsworth’s efforts finally paid off, with her shot from the edge of the box deflecting past Marie Hourihan.
But City restored their lead just a minute later as Jane Ross poked home through a crowded box at the end of an attack that began with the kick-off.
Georgia Stanway doubled City’s advantage four minutes later to kill the game, bagging her fifth goal of the season with a fiercely-struck close range effort.
The Belles continued battling, however, and clawed another goal back through Christie Murray, who slotted home from substitute Rebecca Rayner’s clever lay-off after Samantha Tierney had a shot blocked.
Doncaster interim head coach Katie Rowson said: “I’ve just said to the girls I’m really, really, really proud of them. They’ve given a good account of themselves as individuals, as a team, and as a club, and that’s what we set out to do.
“I don’t know this but I’m guessing that Man City didn’t expect a game like we gave them, so it’s a huge kudos to the players and the hard work they’ve been putting in and the preparations we made for the game.
“You can see that when we equalised, yes City did go up a gear and got two very quick goals, but that’s what good teams can do.
“The kudos to our girls is that they carried on, we kept our shape and we got even more composed on the ball.
“I think that’s what let us down in the first quarter of the game, but actually once we got the composure, it went all the way through to ninety-plus minutes. I’m very, very proud of them.”