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Doncaster Rovers Belles 0 Everton 1 (Duggan 28)
Doncaster Rovers Belles slipped to a narrow home defeat at the hands of Everton, in a hard fought contest at the Keepmoat Stadium.
A first half strike from Toni Duggan gifted Everton their first victory of the season in a lively final game before the mid-season break.
Despite a second half onslaught, the Belles were unable to force an equaliser and went home empty handed for the second consecutive match.
The visitors came out of the traps the fastest and created the first opportunity of the game in only the third minute. Captain Jody Handley whipped in a corner from the right that the Belles failed to clear and eventually Toni Duggan forced a decent save out of Helen Alderson, who did well to keep hold of the ball with Natasha Dowie lurking with intent.
With ten minutes on the clock, Dowie had her first sight of goal but she could only fire wide after Michelle Hinnigan's smart dummy on the edge of the box gave her the chance.
It didn't take long though for the home side to work their first opportunity, but Precious Hamilton could only direct her header straight at Danielle Hill after a Kylla Sjoman free kick had caused problems in the Everton area.
Two minutes later though and the visitors were wondering how they weren't in front when Jill Scott missed a great opportunity. Dowie did all the hard work on the byline but when she picked out Scott with her pull back, she volleyed over.
On 17 minutes and the home side came close again. A good passing move resulted in the ball being worked out wide to Maria Karlsson. The Swede delivered a delicious cross into the area and after Vicky Exley miscued her acrobatic effort, Aine O'Gorman saw her looping header just evade the bar and land on the roof of the net.
Just when the Belles were beginning to get a real foot hold in the game they were hit with a sucker punch as Everton took the lead after 28 minutes. Duggan picked up the ball on the left, cut inside and fired a shot into the bottom corner from just outside the area with her right foot.
The home side's response was swift and only a minute later Exley headed wide from another fantastic Karlsson cross.
After 33 minutes Dowie was furious not to be awarded a penalty as she appeared to be tripped by the trailing leg of Amy Turner, but the strikers protests were waved away by referee Garratt and her assistant.
With two minutes to go before the break, good link up play between Hamilton and O'Gorman set up a chance for Exley, but the experienced midfielder skewed her shot wide from the edge of the area.
It took less than three minutes of the second half before Everton worked an opportunity to double their advantage but skipper Handley fired over from the edge of the box.
With almost an hour on the clock the impressive Sjoman took aim from 35 yards for the Belles and was unlucky to see her ferocious shot fly wide of the mark.
A mix up in the home sides defence almost allowed Dowie the chance to score but her goal bound effort was blocked on the line by Williams. In the 74th minute Duggan came close to doubling her goal tally in spectacular fashion. Handley's corner from the right picked out the midfielder and her overhead kick whistled just over the bar.
The home side continued to push for an equaliser and after good work down the right from Hamilton in the 84th minute, Hill was rather fortunate to hear the referee's whistle after she appeared to fumble the cross into the path of Holtham but the official awarded a foul against O'Gorman. A minute later and a free kick by Sjoman picked out Hamilton but the striker couldn't connect properly with her shot and the danger was cleared.
Holtham tried an ambitious effort with a minute on the clock but her shot from 30 yards was comfortably dealt with by Hill. In stoppage time, O'Gorman fizzed a dangerous ball across the goal but a Belles player was unable to connect and the final chance was gone.
Doncaster Rovers Belles: Helen Alderson, Maria Karlsson, Kylla Sjoman, Victoria Williams, Amy Turner, Vicky Exley (sub Abbie Prosser 69mins), Katie Holtham, Kasia Lipka, Precious Hamilton, Becky Hall (sub Millie Bright 78mins), Aine O'Gorman. Subs not used: Mary Earps, Lyndsey Cunningham, Shelly Cox.
Everton: Danielle Hill, Becky Easton, Rachel Unitt, Lindsay Johnson, Fern Whelan, Jody Handley (sub Nikita Parris 81mins), Toni Duggan, Amy Kane, Jill Scott, Natasha Dowie, Michelle Hinnigan. Subs not used: Rachel Brown, Alex Greenwood, Jess Holbrook, Gwennan Harries.
(Report by www.TheFA.com - Photos: MikeGaffneyPhotography.co.uk Tel: 0751 466 2940)
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