Brilliant Belles celebrate title win with three points
Doncaster Rovers Belles beat Millwall after being confirmed as FA WSL 2 champions
FA WSL 2 match
15:00, Sunday 13 May 2018
St Paul's Sports Ground
Doncaster Rovers Belles Goal Scorers: Pennock 75'
Doncaster Rovers Belles celebrated their FA Women’s Super League 2 triumph with victory at Millwall.
Jade Pennock’s heavily-deflected strike was enough to hand Neil Redfearn’s team all three points.
With Brighton losing 4-0 at Durham, Doncaster had already secured the title before kicking a ball.
Millwall stay third despite their first home loss since February 2017 and finish their campaign away to Brighton on May 20.
Millwall Lionesses (4-3-3): Sarah Quantrill, Viki Wotton, Jordan Butler, Leighanne Robe, Megan Alexander, Bonnie Horwood, Georgie Giddings, Megan Wynne, Ashlee Hincks, Charlie Devlin, Rianna Dean
Substitutes: Leanne Cowan for Wotton 46, Amber Gaylor for Hincks 65, Ellie Mason for Giddings 81
Substitutes not used: Simone Eligon, Billie Brooks, Leigh Nicol
Bookings: Wynne 89
Doncaster Rovers Belles (4-3-3): Bethan Davies, Sophie Barker, Sophie Bradley-Auckland, Leandra Little, Mayumi Pacheco, Samantha Tierney, Rhiannon Roberts, Emily Simpkins, Jessica Sigsworth, Rebecca Rayner, Kirsty Hanson
Substitutes: Jade Pennock for Sophie Barker 72, Rachel Newborough for Simpkins 72, Sophie Walton for Rayner 88
Substitutes not used: Emily Batty, Izzy Whittle, Kirsty Smith
Referee: Lee Brennan
The hosts applied early pressure, and Charlie Devlin fired over after good work from Rianna Dean in the box.
Kirsty Hanson then headed straight at Millwall keeper Sarah Quantrill as the champions looked for a foothold in the game.
The hosts should have taken the lead when Devlin burst clear and squared to Ashlee Hincks, but her scuffed shot was saved well by Bethan Davies in the Doncaster goal.
Minutes later, Hincks’ shot on the turn flew narrowly over the bar.
Hanson was causing problems for the Lionesses’ defence, and saw her angled drive pushed wide by Quantrill.
Leighanne Robe’s free-kick on the halfway line almost caught out Davies, who had to stretch to palm it away.
Devlin had the first chance of the second half, firing straight at Quantrill.
Rebecca Rayner showed great skill in the box to work space for a shot, but the keeper was equal to it.
Millwall looked the more dangerous side, but Doncaster took the lead late on.
Rhiannon Roberts saw her header somehow cleared off the line, but the ball wasn’t cleared and Jade Pennock’s shot from outside the box was deflected into the corner of the net on 75 minutes.
With seconds left, Davies pulled off a stunning save from Devlin’s free-kick to preserve her clean sheet.
WHAT THEY SAID
Leandra Little, Doncaster captain:"It speaks volumes about our character as a team, about our determination, because we wanted to ensure we not only won the league but gained as many points as we can.
"We obviously knew the outcome before we went out there but that was really empowering for us because that enables us to just enjoy the game.
"It was really hard at times and warm and they made it really difficult for us.
"It makes it sweeter having won the league and won the game as well. It would have been mixed emotions if we’d lost today.
"It was massive relief when the goal went in.
"Jade (Pennock) came off the bench to do it for us today, and that’s something that’s happened all season. People who’ve come onto the pitch have got vital goals at vital times."
Bonnie Horwood, Millwall midfielder:"I think we created quite a lot of chances today, but it’s just that we were not clinical enough all over the park.
"All year we have managed to kill teams off but it just seems that in the last few games we just haven’t done it.
"We pushed them really hard throughout the game, but the team who take their chance get the points at the end of the day.
"We’ve got one big game left now, so we’ve just got to crack on and hope to get the three points next week and end on a high.
"A few games this season we’ve fought right to the end and got something, we don’t give up in games, but it wasn’t to be today."
Both of these opponents are in action again next Sunday, with the Lionesses away at Brighton & Hove Albion and the Belles hosting Oxford United.
Leandra Little Doncaster captain, on the next game:"It just seems this year that the league was made for us to win it.
"For so many years we seem to have been the bridesmaid but not the bride, so it makes this really sweet.
"We want to do a professional job and make sure we end with a win for our supporters.
"It’s going to be brilliant to celebrate with our home fans and lift the trophy with them so I’m really looking forward to getting out on the pitch.
"The fans have travelled up and down the country supporting us. They have been absolutely brilliant and I know we have the best fans in the league."
Bonnie Horwood, Millwall midfielder, on the next game:"I thought we performed well against Doncaster, it was just our finishing that let us down, so if we take that into our next game we can right those wrongs.
"We can’t finish second now, so it’s all about ending on a high for our fans.
"The administration hasn’t helped us on the pitch, but it is what it is.
"We are a good team, so we’ve got to get on with it.
"There’s a lot going on behind the scenes, and they’ve just let us get on with our football.
"Hopefully we can stay together as a team, and push on to finish higher next season.
"We’ve been up against it and it’s been a difficult year, but we will come through it."
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