Wildcats fall to defeat in WLS 2 opener against Doncaster Belles

Durham lost 3-0 to The Belles after they conceded three goals in the second half at The Keepmoat Stadium.

Durham lost 3-0 to The Belles after they conceded three goals in the second half at The Keepmoat Stadium.

Courtney Sweetman-Kirk opened the scoring for the hosts after she fired in from close-range to beat Helen Alderson.

Beth England then doubled The Belles’ lead when she latched onto a ball over Durham’s defence and dinked the ball over Alderson’s head.

Sue Smith rounded off Doncaster’s win when she curled in from the right-hand side of the box just past the keeper.

The game started fairly slowly with both teams struggling to find the final ball as Amelia Pereira showed glimpses of brilliance with her quick feet.

Durham’s first chance of the match was in the ninth minute when Pereira beat two players in the middle of the field before laying it into Jemma Purfield who’s cross was collected by goalkeeper Nicola Hobbs.

Doncaster Belles then used a free-kick straight from the training ground to set Kasia Lipka up for a shot on the edge of the box that was well-blocked by Sarah Wilson in the 19th minute.

Purfield continued to cause trouble on the left side when she connected with Emily Scott’s neat skill on the corner of the box before her cross was blocked for a corner.

The half ended with Doncaster’s Sophie Barker hitting the bar from range which meant both sides finished the first half without a goal.

Manager Lee Sanders used the break to change Durham’s attacking options as Becky Beech was replaced by Jordan Atkinson.

The Wildcats came out in the second-half and started quickly when Purfield forced another corner. Defender Julie Nelson nearly connected with the delivery at the near post but narrowly missed the ball.

Sweetman-Kirk opened the scoring for the hosts after she outmuscled Julie Nelson and hit it into the top corner from the right-hand side of the six-yard box in the 53rd minute.

Seven minutes later The Belles doubled their lead when England connected with a loose ball and chipped Alderson from 15 yards.

Durham tried to reply in the 65th minute when Atkinson’s searching cross was headed just over by Purfield at the back post.

Smith rounded the game off for The Belles with ten minutes remaining when she tucked the ball past Alderson from 18 yards on the right-side of the box.

Sanders made his last substitutions minutes later when he replaced captain Wilson and Beth Hepple with Jess Clark and Vic Linsley.

Durham pressed for a consolation in the last ten minutes but failed to break the Doncaster defence.

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