FAWSL Continental Cup: Birmingham City 2-0 Doncaster Rovers Belles

The Belles FAWSL Continental Cup sojourn is over after defeat in their final group game away at Birmingham City. A goal in each half from Eni Aluko and Jodie Taylor proved enough to win it for the Blues who go on to face Lincoln in the semi-finals.

Though the Belles had the first effort on goal through a Jess Sigsworth shot which flew just over it would be the home side who dominated the game. Indeed Doncaster would have goalkeeper Mary Earps to thank for keeping them in the game, the keeper making a great stop to her left to deny Taylor early on, the first of many. It took a good challenge from Leandra Little to stop Taylor getting in on goal again, whilst Earps was on hand once more to deny Rachel Williams.

At the other end the Belles were struggling to create clear opportunities and so it wasn’t too surprising as Birmingham went ahead on the half hour mark, Aluko breaking into the area to drill a low shot past Earps. Doncaster’s best chance of an equaliser came just before the break as Kasia Lipka slid a neat pass into the path of Aine O’Gorman, but the Irish international fired wide.

After the break normal service resumed as Birmingham pushed for a second goal; Rachel Unitt could only redirect a Karen Carney free-kick wide of the goal, whilst Earps made another excellent stop down to her left to deny Williams. Eventually though the Blues did get their second goal, a long ball from Emily Westwood catching out the Belles back-line and Taylor managed to hold off the recovering challenges to slot past Earps for 2-0.

Though chances were fleeting, Doncaster didn’t give up on finding a consolation and almost found one as Sigsworth intercepted a stray pass and hit a long-range effort which didn’t quite dip enough to fall beneath Marie Hourihan’s crossbar. That was to prove as close as the Belles came to taking anything from the game, as Birmingham held out for the win as they continue their pursuit of the treble.

Belles line-up: Mary Earps; Leandra Little, Lyndsey Cunningham, Tanya Oxtoby, Naomi Chadwick (Shelby Hills); Alyssa Lagonia, Kasia Lipka, Katie Holtham, Aine O’Gorman (Bethany England); Millie Bright (Julie-Ann Russell), Jessica Sigsworth

Dumbuya Earns Sierra Leone Call-Up

It looks like fanzine favourite Mustapha Dumbuya will finally achieve his aim of representing his country having been called up to the Sierra Leone squad for the country’s current bout of African Nations’ Cup qualifying games.

Dumbuya was named in the Sierra Leone squad for all three of the nation’s June fixtures – against the Cape Verde Islands, Equatorial Guinea and Sao Tome and Principe – but having fallen ill on return from a recent holiday Dumbuya has unfortunately had to miss the first two fixtures. It was beginning to feel as though things were conspiring to prevent the full-back making an international appearance; back in February Dumbuya received his first call-up to the Leone Stars’ squad, again for a game with Sao Tome and Principe, but unfortunately the Sierra Leone FA mistakenly sent his papers to Crystal Palace where he had recently been on loan and so he was unable to make his flight out to join the squad.

Thankfully though it seems Dumbuya finally will run out for his country in Freetown, as he gets set to join the squad ahead of this Saturday’s return fixture with the brilliantly nicknamed ‘Falcons and True Parrots’. Speaking to the Rovers Offical website Dumbuya said “It feels amazing. To be representing your country makes you feel really proud, I just can’t wait to get out there and play.”

Hird You’re Leaving Town

A somewhat surprise bit of early summer transfer news as Sam Hird leaves Rovers for League Two Chesterfield, signing a two-year deal with the Spirites. Doncaster-born Hird has played over 150 games for Rovers since his initial loan spell from Leeds United back in 2007, the vast majority of them in the second tier. Hird got his break in the Rovers side towards the end of the 2007-08 season courtesy of injuries to Gordon Greer, Adam Lockwood and Stephen Roberts and never looked back, keeping captain Lockwood out of the side for the 2008 play-off final.

Capable of playing in defence or in a holding midfield Sam had been nicknamed ‘der Kaiser’ by the fanzine, after an impressive performance at Vicarage Road on the opening day of the 2009-10 season in which he not only marshalled the back-line but pinged passes about for fun. A very capable and talented player, at times last season he looked Rovers best asset and so his decision to drop to the fourth tier is a perplexing one given he clearly has the potential to play much higher.

You can’t fault Hird for seeking a solid future elsewhere, and we of course wish him well, but the move also highlights Rovers’ own incapacity in relation to transfers at present. Unable to offer deals to players they wish to keep unless existing players are purchased and taken elsewhere the club is currently marooned by the side of the transfer road and flashing a bit of leg (or Jamie Coppinger) in the hope that a perspective suitor will come and get us moving again. This could prove to be just the start of interesting summer.

From the Archives: The Shamus Anus Files

(from Issue 15; August 2001)

He’s Back and now he’s more 100% Kathy Staff free than ever or your money back!

I once used to be Charlton Heston. I wasn’t Charlton Heston for long though because it doesn’t taste as good as Nescafe and I couldn’t magic the beans at all. I have become in some regions of the country known as the next Martin Platt, a title which has become somewhat of a millstone around my collarbone. Martin it seems has been in cahorts with Gail, Sarah-Louise and the former Liverpool full-back Stig Inge Bjornebye (who now co-incidentally is the lead singer of Liverpool divas combo Atomic Kitten) and has been misinforming everyone that I drink ovly Marmite and bathe using only the oil made from Cane Dingle – NOTHING ELSE. If I ever hear anybody in the street shout these lies out to me again then I will not only become very angry but I will also perform origami with my five starfish (Demiece, Lorraine, Delroy, Steadman and Doris) and an empty tube of Cheese Ums Pringles. World War 4 – you aint seen nothing Joey Boswell.


1. In the 1972 Open, Spanish Superstar Seve Ballesteros putts at the 8th for an Albatross and out of the hole comes none other than Fleetwood Mac guru Stevie Nicks. Seve went on to win the tournament despite eating his own left ventricle.

2.Umpire Dickie Bird gives paceman Ian Botham out for 26 in the 1981 fifth test against Sri Lanka. The match is then interrupted when 1970s detective Eddie Shoestring runs onto the pitch with a Jenny Agutter in his hand. Eddie throws the Railway Children star into the air, the wicket is knocked over and Alan Lamb is given out by Bird for a duck.

3. In the 1985 World Snooker final Ray Reardon is beating Jimmy White 16-14 and just needs the pink to clinch the final frame and the World Title. The pink just won’t pot though and White goes on to win the tournament. In the post match press conference the pink owns up to being none other than Johnny Weistmuller, star of the Tarzan films, and a self proclaimed Reardon sceptic.

Well, I don’t know about you, but I am fed up of hearing about pienapples on the television, in the newspapers and from people I know. You can’t turn on the news without hearing about pineapples voting for a new leader, pineapples going into Europe and pineapples to cut spending on health and education etc etc. Maybe having citrus fruit to run the country is a necessity but why should we have it thrown into our pomegranates on a mango basis?

Let me tell you this, in my day, yes we ate Librarians now and again (on Sundays) and yes I was partial to the odd gramaphone, but in them days you could go out and leave your door unlocked without Jonathan Edwards producing a World Record leap. In the odlen days we had respect for each other, we had less crime and we also dabbed our foreheads with Olivia Newton-John.

I have to go now, but I will leave you with this final saying; It is better to have loved a bottle of paraffin than never to have lvoed some premium unleaded petrol at all…


(from Issue 15, August 2001)

FAWSL: Lincoln Ladies 1-2 Doncaster Rovers Belles

Hard earned, hard fought and a long time coming, but the Doncaster Rovers Belles gained their first points of the 2012 FAWSL campaign with a 2-1 victory over Lincoln Ladies.

The Belles had an early opportunity to take the lead against the run of play at Ashby Avenue as Jess Sigsworth latched onto a ball over the top, but unfortunately the forward’s first touch was heavy, and Lincoln ‘keeper Nicola Hobbs was able to come out and gather.

Doncaster looked like they would rue that chance too as the hosts took the lead just a few minutes later; Lucy Staniforth’s corner from the left finding Daly at the far post to head beyond Mary Earps and into the net. Bouyed by their opener Lincoln continued to press and almost doubled their lead soon after as a sweeping move saw Collette McCallum played in on goal, but Earps was alert and out well to thwart the attack with a good close range save.

As the match approached the half hour mark the Belles finally began to asert themselves on the game; Aine O’Gorman turned her marker inside out on the byline before drilling the ball across goal, forcing Hobbs to turn it behind for a corner. And from the set-piece O’Gorman picked out captain Katie Holtham, but her header bounced up over the bar.

Balls into the box would be the key to the Belles affecting a fantastic turnaround shortly after as they went from 1-0 down to 2-1 in front within the space of a minute. Firt Alyssa Lagonia made space on the right, pulling back for Lucy Sowerby, and the right-back’s cross was met by Mille Bright, the forward beating Hobbs to the ball to turn the ball home for the equaliser. And straight from the kick-off O’Gorman and Sigsworth pressured Lincoln to force a corner, and O’Gorman’s perfect far-post delivery was bundled over the line at the far post by Holtham.

Perhaps unsurprisingly the Belles spent the second half on the back foot as Lincoln pressed for an equaliser, but a fantastic rearguard display meant that despite much home pressure Lincoln struggled to create genuine chances. A free-kick from Staniforth which was turned behind the near post by Earps at full-length being the closest they came until injury time. With just a minute of added time to go Lincoln thought they had equalised as the ball was turned in from a goalmouth scramble, but the whistle had already gone for handball and the goal was ruled out to ensure a much-needed 2-1 win for the Belles.

Belles line-up (4-4-1-1): Earps; Sowerby, Cunningham, Little, Chadwick (Oxtoby); Lagonia (Russell), Holtham, Lipka, O’Gorman (England); Bright; Sigsworth



From the Archive: Jack The Miner’s Diary

(from Issue 23, August 2003)

Just before Rovers took the throw in that led to Franny Tierney’s winner at Stoke our lass said to me ‘I hope they choose the lucky ball’ and I thought ‘only a girl would say that’. Now when I’m watching the video of the game, as soon as those two balls roll along the touchline I think to myself ‘come on, choose the lucky ball’. And we always do. Every single wonderful, glorious, fantastic, brilliant time.

When the goal went in my Conference life flashed in front of me. For a split second I saw the wasters like Carden and Alford, the useless like Halliday and Newell but then I saw the genuine individuals who helped us rebuild and take us towards the moment when Franny’s goal went in. People like Lee Warren, Simon Shaw and young Kirkie. And then the games flashed by me… Goodwin’s penalty at home to Kidderminster to break our Conference duck… Alford’s two fingers at Stevenage… Snod screaming in Ignacio Ibarra’s ear for the last 30 minutes at Southend in the Cup… the cup replay at Rushden and Duerden wiping the smugness off their faces a few weeks later… the 5-4 against Dover… Newell’s miss.

Strangely I recall nothing from the days of the Wignall reign where we seemed to meander aimlessly until Dave and Mickey arrived to put some backbone, direction and professionalism into the side. And I thought for the two Snods who brought pride, passion and hope back to the club. History will show that Wignall brought us his smart haircut and Stephen Halliday.

The overriding memory of the day is one of feeling great pride for the fans and the team. I hate to dwell on anything negative but perhaps I can make a brief mention of the shaved headed moron who thought it was OK, and funny, to pee in the sinks at the Britannia Stadium rather than wait in the queue. Why do we have to share our team and our planet with this socially retarded lowlife?

Off in the distance I can still hear the whinging along the Welsh border. Perhaps I can remind them that Rovers had to overcome the disadvantage of losing home territory in the second leg and had the disadvantage of being forced to take penalties at the home supporters end in the shoot-out. May I also suggest that Chester’s fans ask their promising young manager about his tactics in both games before they use the word ‘injustice’ on another Rovers message board.

Losing Beech and therefore the Ryan/Foster axis for the final didn’t exactly make things any easier in the final. Yet the side overcame these obstacles. It would have been nice to have seen Dave Penney and the side get some credit for the season and the guts they showed in the play offs but, by the time I’d read the papers and seen the video of the game on Sky, even I was under the impression that John Ryan had spent £4million assembling this team.

So, onto this season. There are plenty of pluses. Green and ravenhill are a year older. And when did we last have a pool of forwards as strong as this one? Fortune-West, Barnes, Blundell, Gill, Jackson, Whitman, Burton. Blundell has been seriously impressive since he arrived at the club. His attitude has been fantastic. H e scored on debut, set up Whitman’s equaliser in the first leg of the semi, scored a penalty in the shoot-out and it was his fantastic ball that let Barnsey put Tierney in for the winner in the final. He helped take us up and no-one seemed to notice.

I doubt we will prosper this season. Our poor record against the better sides in the Conference last season and our ongoing inability to break down stubbornly negative teams suggests we have to be realistic. It could be late March before we have enough points to relax but there is enough youthful enthusiasm, talent and experience to help us survive. For me, the time being, survival will be enough. I’ve tasted the Conference and I don’t want to go back. I hope I never see Kevin McIntyre, Daryl Clare, Mark Wright, Hayes, Margate’s dancing nut of a manager, Graham Westley and the hill at Nailsworth ever again.

And one last thing. I was wrong about Paul Barnes. I said last season it would take another year to establish himself as a true hero. I must have had too much coal dust in my brain. He is a Rovers legend in his own playing lifetime.


Yes Sir; Diouf Can Boogie

“Senegal and Doncaster Rovers striker El Hadji Diouf lit up the National Sports Stadium yesterday when he performed the famous “Zorai Butter” dance after scoring for the Friends of Benjani…” begins this match report from Benjani Mwaruwari’s testimonial match. An impressive feat at any time for a goal celebration to take the headlines from a game, even more so when you consider the game ended 7-4, and to Diouf’s opponents, Zimbabwe Warriors.

In what must have been some spectacle Benjani Mwawurawi scored for both sides, and the former Portsmouth player’s 7 year-old son (yes, seven), also called Benjani, scored two for the Warriors in the final 13 minutes. But the stand-out facet of this game for me was a goal from my new favourite footballer; take a bow the brilliantly named Knowledge Musona.

Brief highlights are available here.

DMBC: Cabinet Agrees to Hand Over Stadium Keys

A statement released by Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council confirms that Doncaster Rovers will take over running of the Keepmoat Stadium “subject to appropriate agreements being confirmed”. The announcement goes on to explain that this new arrangement “will see Doncaster Rovers pay the council an inflation linked £100,000 per year and take over responsibility for the existing loss making operation from the current council owned Stadium Management Company.”

The agreement ensures that both the Doncaster Rugby League side and the Doncaster Rovers Belles will remain at the stadium, subject to their continued payment for usage; their payments now going to the Rovers rather than the Council.

Saunders Confirms Retained List

Surprises aplenty as Rovers announce which of the squad will be retained and which released following relegation from the Championship. With funds tight, Rovers are in a position where they need to sell players currently contracted in order to be able to offer new deals to those whose contracts have come to their conclusion.

Arguably the most eye-opening name on the retained list is that of Habib Beye, the Senegal international who spent much of each week last season training with Marseilles rather than Rovers.

Huge disappointments on the released list too with crowd and fanzine favourite Mustapha Dumbuya on his way out, as well as home town hero Sam ‘der Kaiser’ Hird. Simon Gillett, who played more than any Rovers player last season also departs, as too does the long-serving James Hayter. Also shown the door are Saunders’ ‘future prospects’ Fabien Robert and Damien Plessis, whoever he may be.

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