Sweetman-Kirk helps Belles get off the mark in Spring Series
Courtney Sweetman-Kirk nets twice as Doncaster secure a 4-1 victory over London Bees
FA WSL 2 match
14:00, Sunday 12 March 2017
Doncaster Rovers Belles got off to a perfect start in the FA WSL Spring Series with a comfortable 4-1 win over early league leaders London Bees.
A brace from Courtney Sweetman-Kirk, a first for the club from Christie Murray and a sensational Emily Simpkins strike were enough to seal the three points for Belles in their first match of the Spring Series.
After enduring a difficult 2016 that saw them relegated from WSL 1, Emma Coates and her side have had to wait a while longer than most to get their season underway but it took just six minutes for them to open their account
Good work down the left from Maz Pacheco ended in Sweetman-Kirk nonchalantly back-heeling the ball past Sophie Harris from six yards.
But Doncaster found it hard to put the visitors away, Murray volleying over from close-range before Kirsty Hanson saw an effort somehow cleared off the line.
Murray did eventually seal the game and grab her first goal for the club just before the hour mark, tapping home after good work from Hanson down the left-hand side.
Midfielder Simpkins smashed one home from 25 yards before Sweetman-Kirk struck again, bundling home another cross from the left immediately after.
But Bees midfielder Emma Beckett scored a consolation at the death, bending home a super free-kick from distance which left Nicky Davies with no chance.
Doncaster striker Courtney Sweetman-Kirk said:
“It was a nice way to start – it’s been a nightmare for me so it’s nice to be back at the Keepmoat and scoring goals again.
“Last season was tough for the girls and it was even worse watching from the sidelines and we’ve worked hard on building that confidence back up.
“Winning 4-1 against a side top of the league is a good way to do that, we needed it against a top side and it was comprehensive, which is good for us.
“We wanted to make a statement, score some goals and put in a good performance. This league is a lot stronger now and you know you have to put in good performances to come away with the three points.
“We’re under no illusions that anyone can take points off anyone in this league.
London Bees boss Dave Edmondson said:
“Doncaster played very well but we were poor out there. We started off really slowly and, in terms of organisation, we were off it.
“The last couple of games we’ve totally dominated, we’ve had 65 per cent or more possession and I think our mindset, wrongly, coming into this game was thinking it might be like that again.
“We didn’t then do the basics out of possession, they played very well but we’re better than that and we’re disappointed in the performance.
“We spoke about how we were going to deal with them and we didn’t do it well enough. Our midfield was too slow to support the full-backs and they were able to get out and dictate play.
“They probably could have been further ahead at half-time. We actually got into it more second half but we were chasing the game and that opened us up a little bit more.”
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Doncaster Rovers Belles 4
Sweetman-Kirk 6, 87, Murray 58, Simpkins 85
London Bees 1
Doncaster Rovers Belles (4-3-3): Nicky Davies; Rachel Newborough, Leandra Little, Samantha Tierney, Mayumi Pacheco; Emily Simpkins, Kasia Lipka, Sophie Barker; Christie Murray, Courtney Sweetman-Kirk, Kirsty Hanson
Substitutes: Rebecca Rayner for Newborough 60, Marta Bakowska-Mathews for Murray 71
Substitutes not used: Bethan Davies, Izzy Whittle, Yasmin Mosby
Bookings: Barker 90
London Bees (4-2-3-1): Sophie Harris; Ellie Perkins, Anne Meiwald, Amber Tullett, Sophie Fogerty; Emma Beckett, Ashleigh Goddard; Lucy Loomes, Hana Lalani, Paula Howells; Jo Wilson
Substitutes: Tricia Gould for Lalani 60, Becca Anderson for Howells 69, Mollie Burgess for Perkins 88
Substitutes not used: Shayla Burgess, Jordan Littleboy
Referee: Jane Simms