Doncaster Rovers Belles LFC to join Club Doncaster

Doncaster Rovers Belles will join the Club Doncaster family in May 2019. The team brings 50 years of history with them and are historically one of the most successful ladies teams in the country.

Formed in 1969 by a group of Doncaster Rovers supporters, the Belles went on to dominate women’s football in the late 1980s and early 90s reaching the FA Women’s Cup final an incredible 11 times in 12 years. The Belles reached the final a further two times in 2000 and 2002, making them one of the most successful sides in the competition.

Club Doncaster are looking forward to celebrating 50 years of Doncaster Rovers Belles later in the year.

Belles chair Faye Lygo said: “I have really enjoyed being a custodian of this fantastic team over the past few years, but feel, for the Belles to progress, we need to make this change.  

“This is a wonderful opportunity for Doncaster Rovers Belles and a move that will help secure the future of the club for years to come.  We look forward to seeing the progression the Belles will make as part of Club Doncaster.”

Club Doncaster chief executive Gavin Baldwin said: “We are delighted to have the Belles on board. They are one of the most successful women’s football teams in England and are an excellent addition to the Club Doncaster family.

“We are looking forward to celebrating their golden anniversary and already have some exciting plans once they join the family in May. We will be sharing more in the near future. “

As part of the merger, Club Doncaster have a new vacancy for Doncaster Rovers Belles’ chief executive, to find out more about the role and to apply, click here.

Shaw wins FA WNL Manager of the Month

Belles head coach Zoey Shaw has been awarded the FA Women’s National League Premier Division Manager of the Month for February 2019.

Shaw’s side performed impressively throughout the month, securing three well-earned back-to-back draws against opponents higher up the table at a vital time of the season, showing the crucial improvements the Belles side has made over the course of the season.

Perhaps most impressive was the 2-2 draw against high-flying Huddersfield, a game that the Belles led 2-0 at one point.

Shaw said: “You know, for me this personally means a lot, but this is a club with ambition!

“We have determination and a belief to develop young players and progress as a team.

“I couldn’t do any of this without this:”

Report: Belles 1 Guiseley 1

by Natalie Higgins

Olivia Cook’s first ever senior goal and Emily Batty’s injury time penalty save earned the Belles a 1-1 comeback draw against Guiseley VixenS.

The last time the two sides met the Belles ran out impressive 4-1 victors, but here the Vixens came back with a fighting force, intent on claiming the points.

An even first half produced little in the way of action in front of goal, with the two sides effectively cancelling each other out.

Emily Burgin’s shot on goal in the opening few minutes was deflected by former Belles keeper Bethan Davies, only to be fired upon again by Abby Watkinson from the edge of the box, but again Davies was not defeated.

The Belles made some great breaks in the first half, particularly from Zoe Belding, but some runs were made a little too early and the girls were caught marginally offside.

After the team talk through half-time, the Belles had a new lease of life, were a lot more vocal on the pitch and pushing into the opposing half.

However, the first sign of danger for the Belles came in the 52nd minute when Batty mistimed her kick in an attempt to clear a Guiseley ball over the top, leaving a Guiseley attacker to make a break on an open goal – until Liv Cook pulled out a tremendous sliding tackle to knock the ball out for a corner just before the opposition fired a shot on goal.

Not long after, Hannah Shuttleworth played a great ball to find Burgin’s run. She tried to lob the ball over the keeper into the far corner but mishit it and it flew wide.

After a break in play where Burgin was subbed off for Nadia Khan through injury, Guiseley had caught a sudden burst of energy and enjoyed a period of sustained pressure, culminating in the visitors taking the lead through Alarna Fuller’s excellent header from familiar face Sophie Walton’s corner in the 84th minute.

Donny rallied quickly, however, with centre-back Cook putting herself on the scoresheet for the very first time on 89 minutes from Zoe Belding’s inswinging corner.

That wasn’t the end of the late drama, as a Guiseley player was brought down in the box in added time, with the referee pointing towards the penalty spot.

But Batty produced her latest penalty save of the season, going the right way to save the Belles from going behind in the final moments of the game.


Belles: (1-4-4-2) Emily Batty; Isabella Trevillion, Georgia Marshall, Olivia Cook, Lois Scholefield; Chloe Bethell, Zoe Belding, Hannah Shuttleworth, Kirsty Smith (Ellie Parkin 82); Emily Burgin (Nadia Khan 68), Abby Watkinson

Subs not used: Chloe Gray, Imani Todman.

Report: Belles 2 Huddersfield 2

Doncaster Rovers Belles were made to hold on superbly to take a 2-2 draw from a hugely entertaining game against high-flying Huddersfield.

The visitors sit second in the FA Women’s National League Northern Premier Division table hammered the Belles 6-1 last time these sides met in September, but the Belles took this return fixture as an opportunity to show how far they have developed over the last five months.

The Belles had already shown their growing maturity in coming from 2-0 behind and 1-0 behind to claim draws in their last two games – against Sunderland and Nottingham Forest respectively.

But remarkably they found themselves 2-0 up on this occasion. Kirsty Smith opened the scoring after 21 minutes, smashing the ball in with a sweetly-struck left-footed drive that dipped in just under the bar.

Abby Watkinson went close to making in 2-0 seven minutes later, but was halted by a last-ditch Huddersfield tackle after rounding the goalkeeper.

But there was no stopping Chloe Bethell’s header on 31 minutes, with the winger looping the ball over the onrushing goalkeeper to give Donny an unlikely lead.

The visitors pulled one back six minutes later through Lucy Sowerby, who followed the ball in after Emily Batty had saved her first attempt.

Town had a goal disallowed before the break for offside, but Sarah Dobby chested the ball into the net from a corner midway through the second half to level things up for real.

That set up a nervous finish for Shaw and her side as they were made to ride out numerous corners and crossed free kicks, but the Belles saw it out to claim an excellent point.

Belles: (4-4-2): Emily Batty, Zoe Belding, Georgia Marshall, Liv Cook, Lois Scholefield, Chloe Bethell, Sheldon Ashton, Hannah Shuttleworth (Nadia Khan 66), Kirsty Smith (Imani Todman 90+1), Abby Watkinson, Emily Burgin

Subs not used: Chloe Gray, Isabella Trevillion

We do not have a message for our MPs

We at Doncaster Rovers Belles were going to write something about Brexit here like Boreham Wood FC apparently decided it was a good idea to do, but then we remembered that we’re a football club, not a Medium blog.

Here’s our fixtures instead. If you want to come and take a break from all the tedious politics and backbiting and nastiness, and instead would rather spend a few hours watching a fun game of football at a friendly club with a genuine community around it, we would be delighted to see you down at one of our games at Rossington Main any time.*

(n.b. When  we say “any time”, we mean “when there’s a game on”. Don’t just turn up and expect us to play on demand. That’s why we gave you the fixture list.)

We sell tea and pies and pints, and we have a young squad who try their guts out every game.

Tickets are just £3 for adults and £1 for concessions (children and pensioners). See you there.


Report: Belles 1 Stoke City 2

Doncaster Rovers Belles fell short of a spirited ten-woman comeback from 2-0 down as Stoke City claimed victory in Rossington.

The visitors took the lead midway through the first half through Hannah Keryakoplis, who fired into the bottom corner to cap a period of sustained Stoke pressure.

Belles began to grow into the game before the break, with Abby Watkinson’s deflected shot after good work by Chloe Bethell down the right wing their best chance to draw level.

But their challenge was made that much harder on 63 minutes when Georgia Marshall received a second yellow card for a foul just outside the Belles box.

Stoke doubled their lead 12 minutes later, with Amy Hughes holding the ball up well on the edge of the box before firing another low shot past Emily Batty.

Donny pulled themselves back within touching distance with four minutes to go after Bethell was felled in the box, with substitute Emily Burgin powerfully converting the resulting penalty.

That set up a frantic finish to the game with the Belles looking to pile forward in numbers while Stoke sought to kill the game off.

Batty saved brilliantly from Keryakoplis to keep the hosts in with a shout in injury time, but the referee’s whistle came too soon for them to complete the turnaround.


Belles: (4-3-3): Emily Batty; Imani Todman, Georgia Marshall, Liv Cook, Lois Scholefield; Abby Watkinson (Kirsty Ditchfield 54), Sheldon Ashton, Kirsty Smith (Nadia Khan 83); Chloe Bethell, Emily Brett (Emily Burgin 54), Zoe Belding.

Subs not used: Chloe Gray, Isabella Trevillion

Getting to know: Abby Watkinson

We took some time to get to know Belles forward Abby Watkinson.

Belles’ philosophy is to help young players develop and break through to first team football. How do you feel your own development is going under Zoey?

Since being at Doncaster and playing under Zoey’s management I have grown into a more confident player. I am more vocal on and off the pitch and I feel like my overall performance has improved massively and is more consistent.

What’s your most memorable moment of the season so far?

The most memorable moment of the season so far was when we won 4-1 against Guisley Vixens as it shows that all the effort and hard work we are putting in is paying off.

The whole team and club just had a real buzz about us as it showed that we are able to compete in this league even though we are a young squad.

Who’s the joker in the squad?

Izzy Whittle and Sheldon Ashton.

Do you have any match day rituals?

I don’t really have any match day rituals no.

Who or what inspired you to start playing football?

My family have always been into football and growing up my dad and my grandad got me into playing.

If you could play in any football match what would it be?

If I could play in any match it would the World Cup final, as it’s one of the biggest audiences there is, all of the country watching and cheering on.

Do you have a favourite player?

Lionel Messi – his skill and talent is unreal.

Do you have a message for the fans?

Thank you for coming to the games and supporting us week in and week out. We really appreciate all the support and hope to carry on our progress throughout the season.

And last the most important question. Is it okay to have pineapple on a pizza?

I’d have to say not sure as I’ve never tried it.


You can follow Abby on Twitter @watkinson_abby

Report: Guiseley 1 Belles 4

Four goals from three different goalscorers away to Guiseley Vixens gave Doncaster Rovers Belles a much-deserved first win of the season.

Donny were made to regret individual defensive errors against Nottingham Forest and missed chances in attack against Hull, but things finally came together to give Zoey Shaw’s side a 4-1 win.

Zoe Belding put Donny ahead on 25 minutes, going clean through on goal off a ball over the top and finishing superbly past former Belles keeper Bethan Davies.

Guiseley had an effort ruled out for offside seven minutes later, but when Liv Auker found the net for a second time on 50 minutes, the equaliser stood.

Belding doubled her tally to fire the Belles back ahead on 67 minutes, smashing a half-cleared cross into the top corner from the edge of the box.

Belles captain Izzy Whittle made it 3-1 eight minutes later, rising in the six yard box to convert a wonderful Sheldon Ashton cross.

Chloe Bethell rounded off the scoring with second remaining on the clock, producing an unbelievable finish at the end of a devastating counter-attack.


Belles: (4-4-2): Emily Batty, Lois Scholefield, Georgia Marshall, Liv Cook, Isabella Trevillion,  Zoe Belding, Sheldon Ashton, Izzy Whittle, Chloe Bethell, Abby Watkinson, Emily Burgin

Subs not used: Holly Dodsworth, Imani Todman, Ellie Parkin, Aimee Hickingbotham, Nadia Khan

Report: Belles 0 Hull City 2

Doncaster Belles were once again made to rue their missed chances as Hull City ran out 2-0 winners in the FA WNL Northern Premier Division.

Donny hit the upright three times, with Zoe Belding and twice Liv Cook going close, and Chloe Bethell forced the Hull goalkeeper to made a recovery to avoid being caught off her line – all that action coming in the second half.

But after an even first period, Hull went ahead 13 minutes after the break, with Ellice Jackman heading in Amy Blinkhorn’s near-post delivery from a corner.

Cook’s duo of chances followed shortly after from a corner at the other end, with the defender’s initial header bouncing back out off the underside of the bar and her follow-up shot hitting the post.

Hope Knight doubled Hull’s lead on 80 minutes, stretching the Belles back four with some smart cross-field passing that allowed Amy Kay to square the ball for an easy finish.

It continues a familiar theme for the Belles, who have indisputably improved hugely since their 9-0 defeat to Blackburn on the opening day, but too often look nervous in defence and rushed in attack, leaving them still looking for their first points of the season.

Report: Belles 1 Forest 3

Doncaster Rovers Belles put in an improved performance against Nottingham Forest but conceded too cheaply to get anything out of the game.

This was the Belles’ best chance yet to get their first points in the FA WNL Northern Premier League, with Forest winless since the opening day of the season, but they were unable to seize the opportunity.

Sophia Bonser put the visitors ahead less than a minute into the game, beating Emily Batty from close range after the Belles failed to deal with a cross from the right.

Donny skipper Izzy Whittle levelled things back up on 26 minutes, exploiting Forest’s dithering over Sheldon Ashton’s through ball to steal in ahead of the goalkeeper and score with her weaker right foot.

Batty was forced into action six minutes later, coming off her line superbly to smother Katie Middleton’s shot.

Another Whittle chance from a through ball – this time provided by Georgia Marshall – came and went, with the midfielder unable to direct the ball towards goal.

Forest fired a warning shot on 49 minutes, with Batty tipping Kelly Darby’s powerful header onto the crossbar.

Less than seven minutes later, Forest were 3-1 up. Charlotte Griffin got the first, the smallest player on the pitch going unmarked at a corner and directing a header into the far top corner.

A Lois Scholefield own goal gave them the other, with the defender unfortunate to turn the ball into her own net after Batty had again saved a Middleton one-on-one.

The Belles were given the chance to pull once back from the spot on 66 minutes after a Whittle shot was handled in the box, but Forest keeper Emily Hallam guessed the right direction and saved Emily Burgin’s penalty with ease.

Forest again hit the bar with a free kick on 75 minutes, with Bonser’s strike bouncing off the upright and over.

Whittle again proved herself an unlikely goal threat late on, forcing Hallam to tip a 20-yard drive away from the top corner and over the bar.