Sheffield FC Ladies 1 Doncaster Rovers Belles 2: Belles edge closer to FAWSL2 title with derby win

Emily Simpkins
Emily Simpkins

Doncaster Rovers Belles ended Sheffield’s run of four straight wins to inch closer to the FAWSL2 title thanks to second half goals from Rebecca Rayner and Emily Simpkins.

Former Belles player Hannah Cain opened the scoring for Sheffield but they couldn’t hold on in the feisty South Yorkshire affair which saw several players pick up cautions.

Despite three goals there was a distinct lack of clear opportunities for both sides, but the Belles stay top of the table while Sheffield remain in fifth after the loss.

Second-placed Brighton’s 1-0 against Watford means Belles remain four points clear at the top. Doncaster require three points from their last two games to be sure of winning the league title.

It was Zoe Johnson who threatened to continue their winning run during what was a disciplined first half, and they took the lead when Cain turned home a pull back from striker Melissa Johnson after 28 minutes.

Belles’ best chance of the first half had come inside the first 60 seconds when Rhiannon Roberts saw her header from a corner cleared off the line by Sarah Jackson at point blank range.

Neil Redfearn introduced the lively Rayner at the break and the move paid immediate dividends when the forward burst into life and equalised after being on the pitch for just ten minutes.

Cutting in from the left Rayner unleashed a stinging effort which seemed to bounce just in front of Danielle Gibbons and over the keeper’s dive to the corner.

The goal swung momentum towards the league leaders and ten minutes later Simpkins got on the end of a Kirsty Hanson cross which evaded everyone to seal the three points for the Belles.