Belles win to ease pressure ahead of tough run of fixtures

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​Doncaster Rovers Belles consolidated their position of seventh in FAWNL Division One North with a 3-0 win at home to Norton & Stockton Ancients.

With the wet weather again preventing play at Thorne Colliery, the game was switched to the 3G pitch at the Eco-Power Stadium and the value of the back-up facility cannot be understated.

It was the third home game Belles have had to re-schedule at the venue since just before Christmas.

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Belles have won all three of those games and, equally important, have avoided a fixture backlog.

Jasmine SaxtonJasmine Saxton
Jasmine Saxton

Captain Jess Tugby-Andrew fired Belles ahead with a long-range free-kick.

Jasmine Saxton also scored twice late on, her first a penalty, as Belles recorded the double over their opponents and also registered a first FAWNL clean sheet of the season.

Victory lifted Belles on to 17 points from 13 games, 10 points clear of the relegation places - providing invaluable breathing space as well as a confidence boost ahead of the next four league fixtures, three of which are against the current top three teams.

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Belles visit Barnsley Women Reserves in the Sheffield & Hallamshire County FA Women’s Cup this Sunday.

The semi-final tie is, like all of Belles’ previous games in this season’s competition, a potential banana skin.

Belles overcame Barnsley’s first team 1-0 a year ago en route to last season’s final.

Holders Huddersfield Town host Handsworth in the other semi-final.

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Weather permitting, Belles host Hull City at Thorne’s Iqbal Poultry Stadium next Wednesday (7.45pm) but there is always the back-up of the 3G at the Eco-Power.

Hull, currently third and pushing strongly for promotion, won 3-0 when the teams met earlier in the season.

Meanwhile, Belles’ away game against current leaders Middlesbrough on Sunday, March 10, is due to be played at the Riverside Stadium.

*Harworth Colliery boosted their chances of North East League Southern Division survival thanks to a 2-1 home win over bottom team Ripon City.

Kat Cunliffe and Georgia Walker-Ellis scored for Harworth with former Belles striker Chloe Bethell on target for Ripon.

Harworth are currently 10th (of 12) and need to climb a place to be safe.