FA Cup: Manchester City 3 Doncaster Rovers Belles 1

Leandra Little
Leandra Little

Two Nikita Parris goals and a late Toni Duggan effort sent the Belles out of the FA Cup despite an excellent performance from the visitors.

Leandra Little’s opener on five minutes wasn’t to be enough as Parris’ double sent the WSL1 side into the next round, with Duggan adding a third with the last kick of the game.

City started the brighter, Christiansen firing wide as the WSL1 side tried to assert their dominance.

But the Belles took the lead on five minutes, Sophie Barker’s corner flicked in at the near post by captain Little.

Sarah Wiltshire was causing problems for the Belles, who were holding firm at the back, and her cross was almost put in by the lively Isobel Christiansen but her effort went wide of the post.

Wiltshere then missed a chance herself before a break almost lead to a second for the Belles with Kasia Lipka firing wide.

The Belles were not overawed by their higher division opposition with Courtney Sweetman-Kirk almost doubling the lead before Emma Lipman went close to heading past her own keeper from Emily Roberts’ cross.

The biggest chance for City came when Nikita Parris broke clear and rounded Nicola Hobbs but Little got back to clear off the line.

On half an hour Sweetman-Kirk was very nearly gifted a second for the Belles but she could only first straight at Karen Bardsley.

City did equalise shortly after, Jill Scott squaring to Parris who fired past Hobbs from the edge of the box.

Parris went close again but Rhiannon Roberts was there to force it behind for a corner as City pressed for the lead.

The home side put the pressure on in the second half and Keira Walsh stung the palms of Hobbs from range before Krystle Johnston stuck one over the bar.

There were still chances on the break for the Belles though, with Sue Smith striking over from Emily Roberts’ cross.

Sweetman-Kirk had a golden chance to give the Belles the lead with 25 minutes to go, latching on the Reanne Thomas’ flick on she could only curl an effort wide of Bardsley’s goal.

England international Scott had the ball in the net after a freekick but the flag was up for offside.

City brought the cavalry on as the Belles continued to hold firm with Toni Duggan returning from injury and Natasha Flint making appearances from the bench.

Parris fired narrowly over as the hosts continued to press for a winner.

And it was Parris who won it with 10 minutes to go when she raced on to Christiansen’s pass to fire low across Hobbs into the bottom corner.

In a last ditch attempt, Little joined the attack but City grabbed a third with the last kick of the game, racing on to a through ball the slot past Hobbs as the Belles went for a leveller.

It was a great performance but ultimately ended in defeat as the Belles now focus on Yeovil who travel to the Keepmoat on Saturday.