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.