Belles see off rivals' challenge

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The Independent Football

Doncaster Belles maintained their place at the top of the National Division yesterday with a 3-1 win over Leeds.

In a tight derby encounter there were few chances for either side in the first half. But two minutes after the break Leeds handed the home side the advantage when Paula Whingate found the back of her own net.

The Belles extended the lead 10 minutes later through a magnificent 30-yard volley from Vicky Exley. Melanie Garside grabbed her fifth goal of the season on 65 minutes to make it 3-0 but an own goal from team-mate Aran Embleton a minute from time denied the Belles a clean sheet.

Secretary Martin Sill admitted: "We are a little bit disappointed to concede the late goal and would have preferred it to be 3-0. But it's another three points and we need to keep winning these games because Arsenal currently lying in second place still have games in hand over us."