Nottingham Forest got back to winning ways on Sunday afternoon as they deservedly beat Doncaster Rovers Belles 3-1 away from home.
Goals from Sophia Bonser, Charlie Griffin and an own goal earned The Reds all three points on a positive afternoon for Graham Abercrombie’s side.
It only took Forest 47 seconds to break the deadlock in a well-worked team goal. Georgia Hewitt won the ball back after The Belles had kicked off, and she charged into the opposition’s half.
She then fed the ball through to Frankie Wilson who used her pace to run down the right-hand side and whip in a great cross to the six-yard box. Bonser then diverted the ball towards goal and it went flying through Emily Batty’s hands and into the back of the net.
The home side drew level in the 26th minute against a 10-man Forest. There had a been a break in play after both Hewitt and Bonser was down injured for The Reds but only Hewitt had re-entered the field when Doncaster netted.
Grace Walters had jumped high to clear a cross but she was unable to connect properly and the ball bounced inside the Forest box. Emily Hallam had rushed off her line in an attempt to clear it away to safety but Izzy Whittle beat the keeper to the ball and tapped it into the net.
Katie Middleton came close for Forest in the 32nd minute as they looked to regain their lead. Middleton had broken free on goal past The Belles’ defence and was one-on-one with the keeper but her shot was impressively blocked by Batty who had come off her line.
Forest began the second half fighting as they looked to restore their early lead and they came agonisingly close. Captain Kelly Darby had jumped highest to meet Bonser’s corner and her header was flying towards goal until Batty pushed her effort up on to the crossbar.
The Reds were able to get their noses back in front in the 54th minute as Griffin restored their lead. Bonser hit another great corner into Doncaster’s box which landed directly in the path of Griffin and she looped her header over the head of a helpless Batty.
The lead was extended only two minutes later as an own goal sealed all three points for The Reds. Middleton had worked brilliantly inside the area as the youngster hustled the home side’s centre backs and smashed a shot at goal. Batty had blocked the effort but Lois Scholefield scuffed her clearance and could only watch it roll over the line.
Doncaster had an opportunity to make it a nervy finish for Forest as they were awarded a penalty following a foul just inside the area. Emily Burgin stepped up to take but Hallam made herself a hero as she guessed correctly and palmed away the spot-kick.
Forest: Hallam, Hewitt, Harkin, Darby (c), Walters (Lee 46’), Griffin, Constantinou, Wilson (Adam 69’), Rowson (Dicken 46’), Bonser, Middleton
Unused subs: Davies, Griffiths
Goals: Bonser (1’), Griffiths (54’) Scholefield OG (56’)
Doncaster: Batty, Belding, Scholefield, Whittle (c), Marshall, Cook, Khan (Parkin 74’), Ashton, Burgin, Bethell (Hickingbotham 74’), Watkinson
Unused subs: Trevillion, Gray, Todman, Dodsworth
Goals: Whittle (26’)