TITLE HOPES SUFFER SETBACK

DONCASTER Belles' bid for the National Division title suffered a huge set-back on Sunday when they were beaten 1-0 by leaders Arsenal.

DONCASTER Belles' bid for the National Division title suffered a huge set-back on Sunday when they were beaten 1-0 by leaders Arsenal.

A goal six minutes from the final whistle gave Arsenal the win after Doncaster had dominated for long periods.

A crowd of around 500 - one of the biggest of the season - cheered the Belles on, and they were treated to a fine spectacle as Doncaster dominated the midfield and created several chances.

But they could not find the net with Arsenal's defence soaking up all the pressure, and they clinched the points when a backpass was intercepted in typical opportunistic style.

The result means the Belles must beat Arsenal on their own ground when they meet in a few weeks time.

Club spokesman Mick Abrahams told the Free Press: "We were all very disappointed and there were some tears shed afterwards, as well as some tough words.

"We played some superb dominant football and were the better team for much of the game, but we just couldn't get the ball in the net.

"I still believe we're just as good as them, but they've got the momentum at the moment."

Sunday's agonising result was not the first time Arsenal have beaten the Belles this season - they registered wins in both the League and FA Cup.

Belles were without Vicky Exley and Lizzie Gomersall through injury for Sunday, and their problems increased when Claire Utley was taken off in the 17th minute with a cruciate knee ligament injury which will keep her out for the rest of the season.

Meanwhile the Belles must pick themselves up for this Sunday's trip to Everton, knowing nothing less than a win will do if they are to lift the league title.

* The Belles reached the final of the Yorkshire County Cup with a 5-1 victory over Leeds City Vixens.

Karen Walker and Mel Garside both scored twice for Belles, with Becky Easton grabbing the other to set up a final clash with either Huddersfield or Bradford on May 2 at Woodlesford.

* The Belles Reserves take on Arsenal Reserves in the Reserves League Cup final this Sunday. The match, at the Letchworth County Ground, kicks off at 2pm.

CAPTION: Amanda Barr foils an Arsenal attack.