Doncaster Belles 5 Durham Women 0: Simpkins brace gives boss selection headache

Glen Harris
Glen Harris

After Emily Simpkins marked her first full game at the Keepmoat with two goals, Belles boss Glenn Harris admitted he now a selection headache.

Simpkins struck twice in their FA WSL Continental Tyres Cup tie with Durham and goals from Emily Roberts, Courtney Sweetman-Kirk and Sue Smith wrapped up a comprehensive victory for the WSL 2 leaders.

Doncaster hope they can reach the last-eight as one of the best third-place finishers and Harris admits Simpkins and co have given him food for thought.

“To get five goals and spread the goals around the team, with Emily Simpkins coming up with two is brilliant,” he said. “We’re well pleased.

“Emily Simpkins has been fantastic for us.

“We’ve done really well to bring Jade Lorton-Radburn and Emily in during the mid-season break and both of them have added quality to the group.

“We’ve got a great strong bench now and Ashleigh Mills has come back and got some game time tonight as well.”

“We’ve got strength throughout the side. I say at the team briefings every time that it makes it difficult for me, and that’s what I want, competition for places.

“They’re all competing but they’re doing it with a great attitude and a togetherness.”

After Roberts slid home the opener, Belles top scorer Sweetman-Kirk notched from the penalty spot after goalkeeper Anna Moorhouse’s foul.

Smith made it three for the Belles on 79 minutes after fellow substitute Bethany England robbed Julie Nelson in a dangerous position and played in the winger to find the bottom corner.

The two linked up again when England headed Smith’s corner back into the box for Simpkins to score.

And Simpkins had a brace within four minutes when she converted Sweetman-Kirk’s cross.

Durham midfielder Beth Hepple though, felt the scoreline was hard on her team.

“It’s a disappointing result,” said Hepple.

“Doncaster is always a tough place to come but we had opportunities in the game and it is individual errors that have let us down. We’ve identified that at the end and we’ve got to put it right.

“They scored a couple of goals towards the end as we tired a little bit. They’ve brought the likes of Sue Smith and Beth England on, who are very good to have in your squad and brilliant subs to have on. We had three 17-year-olds coming off the bench, so that’s a big difference tonight: experience.

“But it’s all game time, so we’ve just got to put it behind us. Donny played well. They’re always the same, they knock the ball about. But we played well in stages and it’s a frustrating scoreline. I don’t think it reflects the game.”

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