Doncaster Rovers Belles 0 Wolves Women 1 (Bramford 45)
Sophie Bramford’s late first-half goal was enough for another huge three points for Wolves Women over Doncaster Belles and boost for their promotion hopes.
During a slow start, Dan McNamara’s side saw a lot of the ball but struggled to break down the hosts’ tight defence.
Anna Morphet’s viciously-hit free-kick from range stung the palms of Sharpe in what was a period of little chances for either outfit.
Andrea Barnett thought she nodded Wolves in front in the 37th minute when she met another excellent set-piece delivery from Morphet, guiding the ball into the far corner, but the goal was ruled out for offside.
With the last kick of the half, Wolves finally found their breakthrough as the ball fell to Bramford inside the penalty area. In a pressure moment, the midfielder kept her cool as she dispatched her effort into the bottom-left corner to give Wolves a vital lead going into the half-time interval.
The second-half brought much of the same problems for the visitors as the home side made it tight and chances were at a premium. Jade Cross had an opportunity in the opening moments which could have opened the floodgates, but the striker fired marginally over on this occasion.
Wolves were water-tight themselves however, and were under very little pressure all afternoon as they helped themselves to yet another clean sheet.
Substitute Amy Dicken's late glanced header somehow failed to cross the line to give Wolves breathing space as her effort was cleared onto the crossbar before it was scrambled away.
It wasn’t the prettiest of performances in Doncaster, but the three points will taste just as sweet to McNamara as Wolves go 12 league games unbeaten – sending them 12 points clear at the top of the division.
Manager McNamara expressed his pride with his team’s grit and effort to achieve another victory this week.
He said: “I’m really proud of the girls. We knew what we were going to get coming up here, they made it tough.
“We showed fantastic attitude and ultimately deserved the three points. It’s a big win for us and performances like that in difficult conditions that’s what makes teams champions, so I’m really proud of them.”
On Bramford’s winner, McNamara added: “Sophie’s been away with England for a week and she showed exactly why. It was one moment of brilliant quality from her and she won us the game.
“We need ten more points now (to win the league), but we’re focusing on each game as it comes.
“Our next game is Solihull where we’ll go with the right attitude, work hard and put us in the best possible place to get three points.”
Next up for Wolves Women are consecutive home fixtures at the CKW Stadium, where Wolves face Solihull (2pm), Sporting Khalsa (7.30pm) and Bedworth United (2pm) as they look to continue their push for promotion.
22/03/20 | Solihull Moors (H)
25/03/20 | Sporting Khalsa (H)
29/03/20 | Bedworth United (H)
05/04/20 | Long Eaton United (A)
26/04/20 | Leafield Athletic (H)
Doncaster: Sharpe, Trevillion, Thomas, Burgin, Smith, Sausby, Starling, Madarang, Saxton, McWilliams, Scargill.
Subs: Wishart, Pamphille, Khan, Bethell, Walby.
Wolves: Elbro, E. Cross, Widdal, Morphet, Jones (Walker 65), S. Jennings, Haynes (Keitley 76), Barnett, Bramford, J. Cross, Palmer (Dicken 84).
Subs: Price, Bruton.
By George Coombes