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Belles continue their unbeaten run

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Glen Harris’ side continued their unbeaten run as they overcame a tough Aston Villa side 2-1 at the Keepmoat Stadium and they beat Aston Villa 2-1 on Saturday.

Headed goals from Courtney Sweetman-Kirk and Bethany England gave the Belles a comfortable lead on a wet and windy night before Abi Cottam’s long range volley made it a nervy finish.

But, despite an improved showing from the visitors, the Belles hung on to grind out another three points.

Villa threatened early on with the impressive Cottam going close, connecting with a cross but Nicola Hobbs held.

A great defence splitting ball from Sue Smith almost set up Sweetman-Kirk in the opening exchanges, but she couldn’t quite reach on the stretch.

Once again, Hobbs was in inspired form for Harris’ side, punching away to deny Cottam at the back post.

Everyone in the ground thought Smith had opened the scoring but her free kick grazed the bar and the top of the net.

Hobbs once again saved the Belles blushes as she brilliantly kept out Katie Wilkinson’s header.

On the stroke of half time the building Belles pressure paid off. A short corner from Sophie Barker found Smith on the corner of the box before hitting a delightful cross with the outside of her boot finding Sweetman-Kirk at the far post to head home.

It should have been two seconds later when Rhiannon Roberts found the goal scorer Sweetman-Kirk in acres of space in the box but she could only head over.

Straight from the restart, Villa substitute Olivia Fergusson broke down the right and fizzed a shot wide of Hobbs’ goal.

Sophie Barker then went close to equaling her wonder strike at Sutton Coldfield only weeks previous when her dipping volley was cleared off the line.

Fergusson’s pace was causing the Belles problems and almost brought a leveller on 54 minutes but for a great block to turn the effort wide.

Sweetman-Kirk had a great chance to double her tally for the evening as she broke clear and rounded Caitlin Leach but the striker slipped as she shot and it rolled wide.

Villa pushed to get back into the game as Wilkinson forced Hobbs into another save as the game headed into the final third.

This was a much improved Villa side from the team Belles dismantled a few weeks earlier as they threatened again from a corner which Hobbs dealt with.

However, it was the Belles who grabbed a second. Sweetman-Kirk’s pace and power once again caused problems for Villa as she nicked the ball past Leach. She found Smith on the left who delivered a great ball into England who headed home from six yards out.

All of a sudden, Villa were back in it. A long ball over the top found Cottam who lofted a first time effort from range over Hobbs in superb fashion, with ten minutes left to play.

Down the other end Leandra Little very nearly opened up the two-goal cushion again as she headed Kasia Lipka’s free kick just wide, but it remained 2-1.

The night took a sour turn when Villa midfielder Kerri Welsh had to be stretchered off five minutes from time with what looked a nasty injury.

Smith went close in injury time firing over from the angle as Glen Harris’ side saw the game out well to move three points clear at the top of WSL2.

Doncaster Rovers Belles Goal Scorers: Sweetman – Kirk 43′, England 75′

Aston Villa Ladies FC Goal Scorers: Cottam 78′

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