Ben Rhydding retain National League status but rivals Doncaster are relegated

Ben Rhydding retain National League status

Jen Wilson tangles with the Doncaster keeper Picture: Kirsty McMillan

Kate Hesketh in possession Picture: Kirsty McMillan

Ben Rhydding players celebrate. Picture: Kirsty McMillan

First published in Sport
Last updated

Ben Rhydding 2 Doncaster 2

Ben Rhydding have secured their Investec Women's National League status for a third season after rounding off their campaign with a draw in their final game.

For their opponents Doncaster the outcome of the match meant they are relegated back to the North Premier League after just one season.

They had to win to survive but were denied by the home side.

The first half saw Ben Rhydding soaking up a lot of early pressure as they were put on the back foot by Doncaster's good passing and high ball pace.

Doncaster were rewarded with their first goal in the eighth minute, through Charlotte Tomlin, who got the final touch past Rhydding’s Charlotte Smith at a penalty corner.

Ben Rhydding’s forward and inside forward lines had their work cut out for them by a slick Doncaster defence, who looked to work the ball round the back and pass down the line at almost every opportunity.

Good pressure from Poppy Church and Kate Hesketh saw a large percentage of turnover to Rhydding’s possession.

Four minutes later came the home side’s equaliser. Pin-point passing from Eleanor Trafford and Jess Purvis set Laura Smith up at the top of Doncaster's circle. Smith allowed the keeper to step off her line before coolly chipping the ball into the open net. A breakaway from fast paced Doncaster forwards resulted in a short corner. Rhydding dealt with the attack calmly and captain Rachelle Le Bourdon cleared the ball out of the danger zone.

Seconds before the whistle blew for half time, Doncaster found themselves on the attack again, and a one, two pass around Rhydding’s Smith saw them go into the break leading 2-1.

The second half resumed with much of the same in terms of possession. Jodie Bridger linked well with Fran Holmes-Brown and Trafford, demonstrated some superb two-touch hockey.

A well-worked passage of play starting from Jo Taylor at right half resulted in a short corner for the Ilkley side Le Bourdon at the top of the circle fired the ball in, finding Bridger at the left post and her well-timed connection fired the ball across the goal, behind Doncaster’s keeper, but wide of the post.

Doncaster maintained their pressure, but Rhydding kept fighting back.

Late in the game Sarah Bell won a tackle in a critical area. She slotted the ball wide to Rebecca Dallas who gave a beautifully disguised ball down the line to Hesketh, who danced around two of the defenders with ease.

Her pass found Smith who fired the ball home for her second goal to level the scores.

Rhydding had a few close calls but steely defending from Tanisha Janzen and Holmes-Brown, ensured that visiotrs Doncaster were denied the win they needed.

Ben Rhydding finished their toughest, but best season, with their heads held high in eighth place, with a place in next year’s competition assured.

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