Shaw: ‘We need to fight from start’

We spoke to manager Zoey Shaw following Sunday’s penalty defeat to Chorley in the FA WNL Cup determining round.

Izzy Whittle scored a pair of equalisers to force the game to extra time, but the side ultimately went out on penalties and will now compete in the FA WNL Plate.

Shaw: “I think we got off to a bit of a slow start and that’s something the girls and I will have to work on. We need to come out of the traps from the off because if not we concede and we’re chasing the game.

“But I think we did well to get ourselves back into the game. We did well with our attacking set pieces with Izzy to get the first equaliser, and then we started to play football, but the moral of the story is it was a little bit too late in the 90 minutes.

“We grew into the game and I was saying to the other staff on the bench that when we’re in a fight and there’s something on the line like when we get into the last ten minutes and we’re trailing or there’s going to be penalties, that’s when we step up and play our best football.

“But the girls have got to find something within themselves to get that from the start and that’s going to be our focal point for the next couple of sessions in training.

“I said to the girls after the game we have no excuses: everyone’s back, there’s nobody missing. But what I was impressed by was the desire to keep going.

“Chorley are a good side. Just because they’re in the fourth tier, they’ve played together for many years so they know where each other are on the pitch. They’re capable of quick football, and they’ve got that experience, and our girls are gaining that.

“I’m not going to keep saying ‘they’re young’ or ‘they’re going to learn’, because they play football just like anybody else. It’s just about playing themselves in the next game.

“Liv Cook had an outstanding game, as did Emily Batty. That save she made on that penalty, it was going in all day. Izzy Whittle had a good game and I thought Emily Burgin, when she came on straight from the RTC, for a player of her age, she rose to the occasion. She changed the game when she came on, and if players can do that then we’re doing something right.

“I said to the girls that I wasn’t disappointed in their performance, just in the result, that it went that way towards to end, because with penalties it’s anyone’s game.”

Report: Belles 2 Chorley 2 (3-4 pens)

Doncaster Rovers Belles will continue on into the WNL Plate after losing a penalty shootout to Chorley FC.

The Belles twice had to come from behind in normal time to force the game to go the full distance, with captain Izzy Whittle bagging a brace from a pair of set pieces.

Chorley then squeaked through in the shootout to book their place in the next round of the WNL Cup.

The visitors first took the lead after 11 minutes via captain Laura Walker’s perfectly-struck penalty, awarded after Holly Dodsworth felled a Magpies attacker in the box.

The Belles’ best opportunities of the first half came from set pieces, with Whittle nodding a corner well wide of the post on 23 minutes.

The captain went close again 13 minutes later from another corner, unleashing a shot to the bottom corner after Chorley failed to get it clear.

Chorley keeper Rachel Darbyshire tipped that effort wide, but was unable to do anything about Whittle’s header from the resulting corner as Donny scored their first goal of the season.

The visitors levelled things up again on 59 minutes, with Rebecca Kemp driving in from the right touchline and putting a surprise shot past Emily Batty from out wide.

Just as in the first half, the hosts grew into the game as time wore on, particularly after Zoey Shaw switched from 3-5-2 to 4-4-2 midway through the half.

That allowed the Belles to ramp up the pressure, with substitute Emily Burgin going clean through on goal six minutes from time but shooting narrowly wide of the post under pressure from the onrushing Darbyshire.

Having scored her first-ever senior goal earlier in the game, centre-back Whittle bagged her second in injury time, scrambling the ball home from point-blank range after yet another dangerous Belles corner.

Burgin put a header on goal four minutes into stoppage time after Georgia Marshall’s long throw was flicked on to her, but Darbyshire made a vital save to force the game to extra time.

Grace Vella narrowly missed Chorley’s best chance of the extra 30 minutes, curling the ball just wide of Batty’s post, and Whittle headed yet another corner into Darbyshire’s arms.

Chorley striker Scarlett Smith had a wonderful chance to prevent the game from going to penalties, but after barging her way past a Belles defender she dragged her shot wide of the far post.

Both Walker and Whittle saw their sides’ opening kicks in the shootout saved, and Vella put Chorley ahead after Darbyshire stopped Sheldon Ashton’s effort.

Marshall, Abby Watkinson and Belding all scored for the Belles, with Lisa Topping and Smith doing likewise for Chorley.

Rebecca Kemp then blazed what could have been the winning penalty over the bar for the visitors well over the bar.

But Darbyshire saved again to deny Burgin in sudden death, and Megan Season made no mistake in reply to put Chorley through to the next round of the Cup.

Belles: (3-5-2): Emily Batty, Holly Dodsworth (Imani Todman 73), Izzy Whittle, Olivia Cook, Zoe Belding, Georgia Marshall, Sheldon Ashton, Ellie Parkin (Ashleigh Edwards 59), Lois Scholefield, Chloe Bethell (Emily Burgin 77), Abby Watkinson

Subs not used: Nadia Khan, Aimee Hickingbotham

Report: Belles 0 Blackburn 9

Doncaster Belles’ inexperience showed as they slipped to a 9-0 home loss to Blackburn Rovers.

Blackburn have won this division in both of the last two seasons but been denied promotion, and they gave this young Belles side – all of whom were making their debuts – a harsh lesson on the standard they will need to reach in this league.

The Belles’ young side found themselves five goals down at the break, with Saffron Jordan opening the scoring for Blackburn after just nine minutes, and Natasha Flint made it two just six minutes later off a ball over the top.

Lagan Makin and Kayleigh McDonald each struck within three minutes of each other as champions Blackburn put the result beyond doubt.

Lyn Shepherd rounded out the scoring for the first half on 38 minutes, looping an unstoppable header into the far corner from a Blackburn set piece.

Belles manager Zoey Shaw made both personnel and tactical changes at the break, bringing on Ellie Parkin in place of Emily Burgin as the Belles moved to three at the back.

That held back the tide for a while, but Blackburn’s superior conditionin and much greater experience lead to them extending the lead yet further in the final 21 minutes.

Jordan scored twice more either side of Makin’s second to secure herself a hat-trick, with McDonald and Shepherd also completing braces in the final five minutes.

Belles: (4-2-3-1): Emily Batty, Emily Burgin (Ellie Parkin 46), Holly Dodsworth, Georgia Marshall, Lois Scholefield, Ashleigh Edwards (Emily Cahill 75), Sheldon Ashton, Zoe Belding, Chloe Bethell, Aimee Hickingbotham (Imani Todman 61), Abby Watkinson

Subs not used: Chloe Gray, Isabella Trevillion

Head-to-head: Belles v Blackburn

  • The last time these two sides met in a competitive fixture was in 2009-10, the final season before the introduction of the FA Women’s Super League in 2011.
  • Blackburn met Donny eight times in the Premier League following their promotion in 2006, with Belles winning four, drawing one and losing three.
  • The aggregate score across those eight fixtures was 15-11 to the Belles.
  • The Belles have been unbeaten in their last four clashes with the Lancashire outfit.
  • The highest scoring encounter was in the last competitive meeting. The Belles recorded a 5-1 away victory, with goals from Vicky Exley (2), Liz Hansen (2) and Precious Hamilton.
  • Carla Cantrell (Belles, 2009) and Katie Anderton (Blackburn, 2006) are the only other players to bag a brace in this fixture.
  • Players to have played for both clubs include: Katie Anderton, Karen Burke, Danielle Cox, Jayne Eadie, Danielle Hill, Vanessa Holmes (nee Leat), Emma Johnson, Jade Radburn, and Rhiannon Roberts.


Our 2018/19 season opener against Blackburn Rovers will be played at Rossington Main on Sunday 19th August, 2pm KO.

Tickets will be £3 for adults and £1 for children and can be purchased on the gate.

The ground can be found at Oxford St, Rossington, DN11 0TE. Details on parking at the ground can be found here.

Statement: Rovers and Club Doncaster

Following the announcement that we will play our home games as Rossington Main for the 2018/19 season, Doncaster Rovers Belles would like to reassure fans that we will continue our relationship with Doncaster Rovers and Club Doncaster.

We are proud to have worked in partnership with Rovers since 2003. However, for a number of reasons, the Belles coaching and commercial staff feel that Rossington will be a more suitable home for the club this season.

The Belles will continue to work in close partnership with both parties, including running training and our Regional Talent Club at Keepmoat Stadium facilities and using the Rovers name.

Belles drawn with Chorley in WNL Cup

Doncaster Rovers Belles have been drawn with Chorley FC in the determining  round of the FA WNL Cup.

The game is scheduled to be played on Sunday 2nd September at Rossington Main, 2pm kickoff. Tickets will be available on the gate.

The winner will progress into the round of 32 for the cup, with the losing side filtering off into the FA WNL Plate.

The Belles have appeared in the WNL Cup final on three occasions in 1994, 1996 and 2009, but it remains one of the few trophies missing from our cabinet.

Rossington Main to host opener

Doncaster Rovers Belles are pleased to confirm that our 2018/19 season opener against Blackburn Rovers on Sunday 19th August (2pm kickoff) will be played at Rossington Main.

The ground can be found at Oxford St, Rossington, DN11 0TE. Details on parking at the ground can be found here.

Tickets will be £3 for adults and £1 for children and can be purchased on the gate.

Blackburn are the reigning FA Women’s National League Northern champions, having taken the title by ten clear points last season.

Details on further fixtures will be confirmed in due course.