Lauren Cresswell’s late winner ensured Doncaster Rovers Belles progressed to the next round of the FA WSL Continental Tyres Cup thanks to a 2-1 win over Sunderland Ladies in Sheffield.
Goals either side of the break from captain Leandra Little and Cresswell gave Emma Coates her first win as Belles manager, and handed the Belles a big boost ahead of their FAWSL clash at the Hetton Centre next week.
In a first half of few chances, it was Little who headed in from a corner after 22 minutes, while Nicola Hobbs made a fine save from Rachel Furness to keep them ahead eight minutes later.
The visitors were frustrated until Keira Ramshaw managed to turn the ball home just after the hour mark after the home side failed to clear a corner.
It was only going to take one moment to change what was a tight encounter and that moment came from Belles’ most consistent performer of the season so far.
Winger Jess Sigsworth raced down the left and put a cross straight onto Cresswell’s head, and she scored her first goal since returning to the club last month.
That header was enough for the Belles with Furness heading wide late on, and they held on in the remaining minutes to progress to the quarter-final stage of the competition.
Doncaster Rovers Belles (4-3-3): Hobbs; Newborough (Pacheco 73), Roberts, Little, Barker; Lipka (Tierney 78), Simpkins, Cresswell; Omarsdottir, Sigsworth, Humphrey (Mosby 90).
Subs not used: Moorhouse, Smith
Sunderland Ladies (4-5-1): Olsen; Holmes, Sharp, Brown, Williams; Ramshaw, Furness, Chaplen, Hill, Staniforth; Joice (Roche 61).
Subs not used: Laws, Bannon, McDougall, Mead, Potts
Referee: Jane Simms
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