Doncaster Belles 3 London Bees 0: Winning start for Belles’ new boss in Women’s FA Cup

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Glen Harris’ tenure at Doncaster Rovers Belles got off to a solid, if unspectacular start.

Goals from Bethany England, Courtney Sweetman-Kirk and Sue Smith saw off London Bees at the Keepmoat Stadium to advance to the fourth round of the FA Women’s Cup.

The visitors weren’t without their chances in a close first half but the Belles proved superior in a one-sided second period.

Amber Gaylor had the best early chance, shooting wide of Nic Hobbs’ goal.

Courtney Sweetman-Kirk went close, heading over after a great ball from the right.

Sue Smith then danced around Bees’ defenders before a last-ditch tackle prevented her putting the Belles in front.

Captain Leandra Little powered a header over the bar as Belles began to take the game to the visitors.

Bees threatened to take the lead on the break but for great covering from Lyndsey Cunningham.

The Belles came out for the second half in inspired form with Kasia Lipka’s shot somehow staying out after hitting the post and rolling across the goal line.

The first goal of Harris’ reign came when Rhiannon Robert’s looping cross was flicked home by the head of England.

It was 2-0 when England sent Smith down the left before the winger played a super ball across the box for Sweetman-Kirk to tap home.

Fresh from her England Under-19 camp, Ashleigh Mills came off the bench and caused problems.

Smith stepped up and, despite getting a hand to it, Sophie Harris couldn’t keep it out and the Belles were 3-0 up.

Harris said afterwards: “We knew it would be tougher against Bees than last season {when Belles beat Bees 9-0 and 7-0}; they were very organised and got a lot of bodies behind the ball.

“We changed a few things at half time and the girls put it into practice well and we’re into the hat for the next round.

“It’s not been easy only having two and a half weeks to prepare for this but I’m really please with the attitude of the girls and the way they won.

“I thought Beth England was outstanding and Courtney [Sweetman-Kirk] did what she does best too and we’ve come away with a good win”

“We’re not here to make the numbers up for when the WSL1 clubs come into the draw, we’re taking the competition seriously and want to go a long way so bring on the next round.”

Doncaster Rovers Belles: Hobbs; Cunningham (Mills ‘76), Little, Roberts, Cresswell; Lipka, Barker (Johnson ’76), England; Smith, Sweetman-Kirk, Knight (Thomas ’60). Unused Subs: Hill (GK), Dale.

Goals: England (53), Sweetman-Kirk (62), Smith (79).