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Match Previews

Match preview: Nottingham Forest vs Doncaster Rovers Belles

1 February 2019

Nottingham Forest Ladies will be hoping that their weekend’s game won’t fall victim to the weather again as they take on Doncaster Rovers Belles at home.

The Reds were set to take on Guiseley at home last Sunday but due to the heavy weather the day previously the game was ultimately called off in the morning. 

But the side won’t let the weather dampen their spirits as they look to earn back to back league wins and move further up the FA WNL league table.

The Reds go into the fixture oozing in form as they have won their previous two games in the league and County Cup respectively.

Forest overcame Fylde three weeks ago in a terrific 1-0 win through a Sammy Conroy wonder strike and easily brushed aside Clifton All Whites a week later in a landslide 14-0 win. 

The Reds recorded a 3-1 win over the Belles in the reverse fixture last September at Rossington Main and will be searching to match the feat again this Sunday.

Sophia Bonser opened the scoring for the side after only 47 seconds but the Belles drew themselves level 25 minutes later through Izzy Whittle. Charlie Griffin put the Reds back in the driving seat with a looping header on the 54th minute and an own goal two minutes later sealed the three points for Forest.

Securing three points on Sunday is crucial for the Reds as the opposition are only two places below Forest and a win for the Belles would bring the two sides level in the league standings. 

The Belles come into the game of the back of an impressive draw against tough opponents Sunderland last Sunday. Both the Black Cats and Donny netted two goals each to share the game spoils but the Reds will be looking to ensure the Belles see no success on Sunday.

The Reds will also be looking to keep the Belles captain and leading goal scorer, Izzy Whittle, quiet at the weekend and deny her topping up her goal scoring tally. Whittle has already netted a whopping 13 goals so far, this season across all competitions and she will certainly be looking to test the Forest backline and ‘keeper on Sunday. 

The Reds are bolstered by three new signings who may all make their season league debuts against the Belles. Izzy Sullivan and Shannon Weston lined up for Forest two weeks ago in the County Cup against Clifton All Whites after re-joining the club earlier that week. The third new signing, Aimee Hickingbotham, will be familiar face for the Belles as she moved from the Yorkshire outfit to Forest only last week. Hickingbotham progressed through the ranks at Donny and into the first side and the youngster may make her debut against her former side.

Hickingbotham won’t be the only familiar face for the Belles in the Forest side as midfielder Ashleigh Edwards also made the short move to Forest this season. Edwards joined the Reds after the previous matchup between the two sides and has been a key player for Forest since she joined, netting six goals across all competitions so far.

The Reds will also be searching to ensure they keep a clean sheet against the Belles this Sunday and the return of Sianna Bennett may be the key in doing so. Bennett fought back from a long-time injury to make her season debut in the County Cup in which she helped her side kept a perfect clean sheet and may notch up first league appearance of the campaign this Sunday. 

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