It may have been nearly 30 years ago but Belles president Sheila Edmunds can still remember every kick on a mud-stained pitch where Belles battled to clinch their third FA Women’s Cup.
For 1988 marked an incredible sixth successive cup final for the pioneering women’s football club.
They were the cup holders and had no intention of letting their prestigious piece of silverware slip from their grasp.
Travelling to Crewe with a side boasting the talismanic Gill Coultard, prolific marksman Kaz Walker and inspirational leader Sheila, nerves were put to one side for 90 minutes as they focused only on thing - to be crowned cup champions for the second successive season.
There was no way the team wanted to experience that same feeling of being second best like in 1984, 1985 and 1986 where they watched Howbury Grange, Friends of Fulham and Norwich all lift the FA Women’s Cup respectively.
In 1988, they certainly weren’t second best.
Facing Leasowe Pacific, the Belles led through a trademark Walker header before half time.
Battling torrential rain, a mud-soaked cup final clash saw Jackie Sherrard slot in Doncaster’s second and Coultard net from a delightful free-kick.
Michelle Jackson, who joined the Belles the following season, fired in a penalty for Leasowe but the cup was Doncaster’s and they celebrated in style.
“We had a great weekend in Crewe,” said Edmunds.
“The atmosphere within the team was brilliant. We couldn’t wait for the game. It was fantastic to retain the trophy.”
From 1988, the Belles went on to collect the trophy three further times - their last being in 1994 when Walker’s first half goal killed off Knowsley United in front of a crowd of 1,000-plus.
Six-time champions and seven-times runners-up, the Belles know all too much about this prestigious trophy.
Edmunds, who used to sell raffle tickets at Doncaster Rovers games which led to her and a group founding the original Belle Vue Belles back in 1969, added: “Getting to a cup final is all about dreams and confidence.”
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