Ella-Mai Bale

Bale scores late on to secure victory for Posh Women U23s.

Peterborough United Women U23s returned to winning ways after Ella-Mai Bale struck with minutes to spare to secure a 2-1 victory over Doncaster Rovers Belles Development at the idverde Training Ground on Sunday afternoon.

Posh started brightly as Rebecca Mears collected a loose ball out of the Doncaster defence but her low shot was parried away by the goalkeeper. On 11 minutes, the Doncaster forward advanced towards goal, but her shot was well saved by Megan Dellar. 

Alice Akinyemi volleyed Taya Smith’s cross onto the crossbar before Maddison Moore struck from distance before the half-hour mark. On 35 minutes, Smith created space on the edge of the box, but her curling effort was diverted away by the goalkeeper. Doncaster took the lead at the end of the half as Lauren King turned a low cross into her own net. Tilly Sands panicked the goalkeeper on the stroke of half-time as her long-range free-kick could only be punched away to safety.

Doncaster carved the first chance of the second half as the forward dribbled through the Posh half before firing her shot straight at Dellar. On 49 minutes, Ellie Curson’s corner was headed by Bale but was directed into the goalkeeper’s hands. Posh Women U23s continued to test the opposition defence as Moore rattled the woodwork from distance. 

Posh found an equaliser on the hour mark as Bale pounced onto a poor pass from the goalkeeper and found the bottom right corner from 30 yards out. Posh almost took the lead minutes later as a shot from Mears looked to set to fire into the top right corner but the goalkeeper tipped the ball away.

Akinyemi had a chance on 75 minutes as she met a cross at the back-post, but could not direct the ball on target. Doncaster looked to retake the lead minutes later as the forwards’ shot was deflected off Neto onto the woodwork. With minutes to go, Moore forced the defence into a mistake and passed to Bale in space who fired the ball into the top right corner.

Posh Women U23s Manager, Michael Allsebrook, said after the game: “I’m really proud of the players. It was quite an interesting game going into the second half with ten players because of injury, but we asked them at the break to dig deep, do the right things and make the right decisions. We had the better ten players on the pitch in the second half with the quality they showed on the pitch. We are so proud as their coaching staff for the win – that’s probably my favourite performance this season because of the togetherness and commitment that they demonstrated.”

“We struggled at times in the first half as we played longer when we should just play the ball down on the floor and our second half performance was much better, even with the ten players on the pitch, we enjoyed 50% possession. I thought Lauren [King] was outstanding, unfortunate with the own goal, but she didn’t let that affect her.

"I didn’t feel we let Doncaster have many clearcut chances, we had the better chances. Alice [Akinyemi] had a couple of chances at the back-post and her volley in the first half on another day could have easily have gone in. Another two goals for Ella-Mai [Bale], she’s only 16 but is practically knocking on the first-team door. Nidia [Neto] made her first appearance, more minutes than anticipated because of Edyn’s injury but did well at the back and will only improve with us.”

Posh XI: Dellar, King, Osker [sub 37min, Neto], Sands, Curson, Podd, Moore, Mears, Akinyemi, Bale, Smith.

Unused Subs: Robinson.

Written by Lauren Shiels.