Belles manager Andy Butler said that he was pleased with the three points but not the application in the performance against relegated Bedworth United at the Eco-Power stadium this weekend. (Photo @mjappleby9)
The Belles were widely expected to take advantage of the division’s bottom club in order to improve their goal difference in the race for promotion, but had to settle for a tighter-than-expected 3-2 win.
“I’m pleased to get the points, but the performance didn’t meet the standards that we set. We were wasteful at times with the ball and didn’t impose ourselves on Bedworth. We struggled to break them down and to give credit to them we were hanging on at the end – and we shouldn’t have been.
In their last home game of the season and in front of the second-highest attendance, the Belles had nineteen attempts on goal but only converted three, with a goal from Sophie Scargill and a brace from Player Of The Match Jasmine Saxton that takes her tally to twenty for the season so far.
Similarities were drawn to the tight 3-2 win that Belles had over Bedworth in the reverse fixture earlier in the season, and Butler admitted he had concerns before kick off about how this game would play out.
“I actually said to Nick Buxton before the game started that this will finish 3-2. There won’t be any pressure on Bedworth – they’re relegated and have free reign and won’t be under any pressure – the pressure will be on us and the girls have to deal with that.
“We knew Bedworth had weaknesses but we didn’t exploit that enough. We scored some good goals, but it should have been more. We needed to be braver on the ball and more ruthless in front of goal. The players are as disappointed as I am and they know we have to be better in the two remaining games.
Butler then paid tribute to the fans: “Thank you to everyone who has supported us both home and away. It’s not easy in this climate so a massive thanks, and hopefully we have put on performances this season that are worthy of the Doncaster Belles badge.
And, on the sudden loss of Club Doncaster stalwart Richard Bailey, for whom a minute’s applause was held before kick-off, he said: “special mention goes out to Claire Bailey on the sad loss of her husband Richard, who is a massive loss to the club – our respect and condolences to Claire.
Belles have two remaining games, the first being away to Long Eaton United this Sunday 10th April, and they conclude the season away at Solihull Moors on Sunday 1st May.