Watford 1 Doncaster Belles 3: England brace stings Hornets

Doncaster Rovers Belles have taken the FAWSL2 title right to the wire following a 2-1 victory over leaders Sunderland.

Doncaster Rovers Belles have taken the FAWSL2 title right to the wire following a 2-1 victory over leaders Sunderland.

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A quick-fire Beth England brace saw the Belles comeback from a goal behind to defeat Watford Ladies, writes Chris Donald.

Midfielder England’s double and a Reanne Thomas strike gave the Doncaster outfit their second win of the week as the visitors cancelled out Watford’s opening strike through Jo Wilson.

The Belles started strongly with Hope Knight, who was making her full Belles debut, causing the hosts trouble down the left before an on-rushing Lauren Davey thwarted England.

In-form Courtney Sweetman-Kirk was fed a couple of early chances but Davey was equal to the striker’s efforts.

Tori Williams also went close but headed over from a corner.

Sue Smith was then gifted an opportunity with a poor back-pass but after taking the ball around Davey, Josie Green saved their blushes with a goal-line clearance.

Millie Bright, fresh from her brace in the 6-1 win over Aston Villa on Thursday, had a couple of chances in quick succession and Knight shot over as a dominant Belles side failed to make their supremacy pay.

Watford’s first real effort on goal came after half an hour when Megan Wynne tested Nicola Hobbs from range but the Belles stopper was equal to it.

Only a magnificent stop from Davey was enough to deny Kasia Lipka’s stunning drive from 30 yards as the scoreline remained goalless.

However, after the Belles failed to take their chances, Watford took the lead as Kim Farrow fed Wilson who smashed the ball past Hobbs in the 40th minute.

Sweetman-Kirk tried to reply instantly but her looping effort didn’t do enough to beat Davey.

An equaliser did come in the 52nd minute when Bright’s driven shot was parried to Leandra Little who headed back across goal and England bundled home.

A second goal soon followed when Knight laid the ball off to Sweetman-Kirk who found England inside the area and she blasted into the bottom corner for a 59th minute lead.

Lipka again tested Davey from range but the Watford ‘keeper was in inspired form.

However, the Hornets’ shot-stopper’s heroics weren’t enough to stop the visitors grabbing a third.

It came after Williams delivered a superb cross to Bright at the back-post who neatly nodded the ball across Davey towards Thomas who fired home in the 75th minute as Doncaster completed their second win in three days.

Watford Ladies: Davey; Gunn, Hector (Mays ’84), Deacon (Hill ’68), Donnelly, Wilson, Green, Wynne, Farrow, Wride, Robe.

Subs: Burgess, Zekai, Butterwick.

Doncaster Rovers Belles: Hobbs; Cunningham (Mills ’65), Little, Roberts, Williams; Lipka, England, Bright (Johnson ’79); Knight (Thomas ’59), Smith, Sweetman-Kirk

Subs: Govier, Stamp.