Doncaster Belles inevitable relegation from FAWSL1 was confirmed, as Notts County came from behind to win at the Keepmoat Stadium.
A goal from Aileen Whelan cancelled out Carla Humphrey’s opener for the Belles, before a Jess Clarke wonder goal won the game for County, in what was their first away win of the campaign.
On a day that Belles knew they must win to have any hope of staying up they started the brighter of the two sides. As County tried to play a short free kick routine, the ball was intercepted and saw Belles break, but Notts blushes were spared as keeper Megan Walsh got to the ball before the on-rushing Humphrey.
Just like in Donny’s 3-1 home defeat to Liverpool last weekend, they took the lead. Sophie Barker won the ball in midfield before playing an exquisite through ball to Humphrey, who managed to slide the ball under Walsh – despite the best efforts of Laura Bassett.
After 20 minutes it should have been 2-0. Emily Simpkins was fed the ball down the left from Maz Pacheco, before firing just over from distance.
From here the game changed, and just two minutes after Simpkins’ effort, Notts County were level. Sloppy defending by the Belles allowed Jade Moore to shoot but her effort was well saved by Anna Moorhouse – but only as far as a waiting Whelan who was there to tap in from 6 yards.
Just minutes later and County were ahead. After being played the ball over by Rachel Williams, Clarke did brilliantly to chase the ball down before firing in, via the crossbar, past Moorhouse.
Much like the Liverpool defeat, Belles had been undone by a wonder strike.
In the second half, County asserted their dominance, and should have been 3-1 up if not for the offside flag.
Clarke was menacing with the Belles back line, and should have grabbed her second of the game as she did well with another curling effort, before Angharad James saw her strike fly just wide of the net.
Doncaster had a late chance to equalise, but Humphrey couldn’t connect with Simpkins’ through ball.