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Blues Ladies 1 Doncaster Rovers Belles 0

Posted: Sun 11 Aug 2013
Author: Chris Quinn

Chelsea Weston in action against Doncaster.

Image by: Ville Vuorinen

A third goal in two games from Melissa Lawley was enough to give Blues Ladies a hard-fought 1-0 win over Doncaster Belles.

Lawley’s brace last weekend at Lincoln secured a 2-1 win and her strike with seven minutes left once again gave Blues maximum points.

Mary Earps replaced Rebecca Spencer in the home goal as the only change from last weekend’s victory, with the England international attending a family event. Established names Karen Carney, Laura Bassett and Rachel Williams were among the substitutes. 

Winger Lawley set the early tone straight from kick-off as she weaved her way to the edge of the box, but fired over from 20 yards out. 

Emily Westwood and Kirsty Linnett both had chances to give Blues an early lead before another Lawley run and shot ended up in the arms of visiting goalkeeper Nicola Davies.

The Belles survived the early Blues pressure and then had chances of their own to take the lead. Jess Sigsworth’s effort with the outside of her boot was tipped around the post by Earps and Ashleigh Mills hit the post when it seemed easier to score at the back post.

Just after the half-hour mark, Kerys Harrop was booked for stopping a rampaging run from the visitors Kasia Lipka in the centre circle.

Mills had another chance to put the Belles ahead as half-time loomed, but volleyed wide when getting in at the back post again.

Blues boss David Parker made a double change at the interval, with Carney and Williams replacing Isobel Christiansen and Kate Wilkinson.

It took just eight minutes of the half for Carney to give Doncaster a scare. A deep cross from the left-wing by Hannah George picked out the England international but she was leaning back and slipped as she struck her effort over the bar. 

Scrappy fouls from the visitors gave Jo Potter a couple of chances to whip in dangerous balls, but Davies parried away two efforts that went past everybody in the box.

The best chance for Blues appeared to be shooting from distance. In the 69th minute, Lawley rifled an effort into an onrushing defender and Linnet then fired over from 30 yards as Blues searched for a bit of magic to break the visitors down.

With seven minutes to go and a 0-0 looking increasingly likely, Blues finally broke the deadlock. 

Substitute Bassett made a bursting run from midfield to latch on to a through ball but as she checked inside to try and get the ball on to her favoured right foot, she was closed down well. However, the club captain lifted her head and picked out the onrushing Lawley down the right-hand side of the box and after taking a touch the in-form winger arrowed an effort across Davies into the far bottom corner.

As injury time began Bassett had the ball in the net, but the effort was ruled out after a foul by Lawley who had her initial effort saved.

The visitors’ Lauren Cresswell showed her frustrations at Lawley’s brilliant performance and was booked for a tough tackle on the winger late on, but the real damage had already been done as Blues took all three points to move up to fourth in the FA WSL.

Blues: Earps; Weston, Harrop, Westwood, George; Christiansen (Carney, 46), Potter, Moore, Lawley; Linnett (Bassett, 76), Wilkinson (Williams, 46)

Subs: Simpkins, Mannion, Haines, Myers.

Goal: Lawley (83)

Bookings: Harrop (33), Moore (84), Weston (87)

Doncaster Belles: Davies, Cunningham, Little, Sigsworth, Lipka, Smith, Bright, England (Brusell, 76), Williams, Mills (Roberts, 84), Cresswell

Subs: Chadwick, Purfield, Cox, Johnson, Higgins.

Bookings: Bright (77), Cresswell (90)

Attendance: 317

Player of the Match: Melissa Lawley