Doncaster Belles have pride in defeat after last-gasp cup final setback

Doncaster Belles played out the final at Sheffield Wednesday's Hillsborough stadium.Doncaster Belles played out the final at Sheffield Wednesday's Hillsborough stadium.
Doncaster Belles played out the final at Sheffield Wednesday's Hillsborough stadium.
Doncaster Belles coach Ciaran Toner declared his pride after watching his side narrowly beaten in the final of the Sheffield and Hallam County Senior Cup.

Belles were beaten by Huddersfield Town for the second year running, with the West Yorkshire side running out 3-2 winners in the fixture that was played at Hillsborough.

Town almost made the perfect start, only being denied a goal in the opening 30 seconds when Freya Rattenbury headed off of the line. The holders had the better of the first half, Yasmin Mason putting them ahead with a shot from outside the box on 18 minutes. That only a single goal separated the teams at the interval owed much to the Belles goal surviving a hectic spell late in the first half when the ball was pinging about their area with defenders blocking attempts on goal.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

If the first half belonged to Town, then Belles could claim the honours after the break, deservedly drawing level with a shot from outside the area by Hannah McWilliams. Mason rose high to send a header past Ellie Sharpe to restore Town’s lead, but substitute Phoebe Sneddon put Belles deservedly level for a second time shortly before the end of normal time.

With the game going straight to a penalty shoot-out if the scores were level, it was still 2-2 as play entered stoppage time. However, there was heartbreak for Belles just over 60 seconds into the additional several minutes when Mason broke into the area and rifled a shot past Sharpe to complete her hat-trick and also retain the trophy for Town.

Toner, speaking post-match, said: "I'm really proud of my players. We knew it would be a tough test against a side that's the level above. We wanted to come away with people saying we're a good team and that we can compete with other good teams and I felt we did that."

Meanwhile, Belles conclude their FA Women’s National League Division One North fixtures away to Barnsley (at Sheffield’s Olympic Legacy Park) this Sunday. They need to win and hope Stockport County drop points if they are to finish in the top half of the table. Belles were 1-0 home winners over Barnsley, who are guaranteed a top four finish, when the teams met in early March.

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.