SUPERSUB Kirsty Linnett scored just 20 seconds after coming as Birmingham City Ladies returned to winning ways and extended their unbeaten run in all competitions to 11 matches thanks to a 1-0 win away at Doncaster Rovers Belle in the Women’s Super League.
The Birmingham striker celebrated her return from injury with her first goal of the season to put David Parker’s level on points with third-placed Arsenal with four league games remaining.
On a sunny Saturday afternoon it was the visitors who almost found an early opening with just two minutes on the clock when Bella Linden was played free down the right and the Blues striker delivered a dangerous cross which caused panic in the Doncaster box before it was eventually cleared.
Parker’s side came close again in the 12th minute with Wellings heading a Scofield cross from the right into the hands of Doncaster goalkeeper Nicola Hobbs.
Just moments later Sophie Baggaley, who was recalled to the side ahead of Ann-Katrin Berger, almost gifted the hosts a goal but she was eventually able to gather the ball at the second attempt following a lapse in concentration.
The first real chance of the match fell to Bella Linden with 16 minutes played. Jess Carter launched a long throw into the box which was flicked on by Wellings for Linden at the far post but she volleyed high over the bar.
Leandra Little headed an Emily Simpkins corner wide of goal before on 21 minutes Harrop delivered an inch perfect cross from the left for Wellings but this time her header was off target.
Opportunities on goal dried up as the half commenced but on 35 minutes Jess Sigsworth unleashed a long range effort from 25 yards out which drifted narrowly over the Blues bar.
The visitors thought they had found the breakthrough seven minutes before half-time as Andrine Hegerberg struck a curling free kick from outside the box but the ball sailed inches wide of the right-hand post.
There was one final chance for the visitors to take the lead as Wellings got another header away at goal but once again she was denied by Hobbs as both sides went in level at the break.
Doncaster started the second half brightly with Lipka shooting over from the edge of the box while at the other end Wellings hit a low effort straight at Hobbs after some more good link up play with Linden.
The hosts had a great chance to take the lead in the 56th minute when Omarsdottir capitalised on a poor back pass by Kerys Harrop and took the ball around Baggaley but Aoife Mannion was on-hand to make a superb last-ditch tackle.
Parker then introduced Linnett on the hour mark for only her third appearance of the season and it took her just 20 seconds to get on the scoresheet.
The ball fell kindly for the England Under-23 striker who kept her cool and slotted the ball past Hobbs before wheeling away in delight as she celebrated with her team mates.
Omarsdottir had another great chance to score for the home side with 15 minutes remaining after being put through on goal inside the penalty area but her low shot was superbly saved by Baggaley.
Mannion was having an excellent game at the back for the Blues and she produced another important tackle to block Samantha Tierney’s charging run at goal with three minutes remaining.
The hosts pushed players forward in search of a winner in five minutes of added on time but they could find no way past Baggaley as the Blues held out for
Team: Baggaley, Carter, Harrop, Linden (60), Hegerberg, Stringer, Wellings (Edwards 90), Peplow, Scofield, Westwood, Mannion
Subs not used – Johnson, Berger
Photos by Mark Farnell