Belles management duo Andy Butler and Nick Buxton praised the squad for their application in the 1-1 draw at Long Eaton and for their efforts over the season, as their title hopes ended at Grange Park on Sunday. (Photo: @heatherrking)
The Belles needed to win to keep the pressure on leaders Boldmere St Michaels and could have taken the three points if it were not for the woodwork, but instead had to settle for the draw after coming from behind.
Butler said: “We controlled the game apart from a few breakaway chances for Long Eaton. We’ve hit the post twice, the crossbar and those little half chances never really fell for us."
Buxton added: “At half time we told the players we needed to control the game more, and to go out and enjoy the game and get at them. We conceded early in the second half but after that we pushed on and tried to nick it."
Long Eaton took the lead with a well-taken header from a corner early in the second half, but the Belles levelled the score with a peach of a strike from defender Charlotte Dinsdale.
Buxton said: “It’s a great finish – just over her shoulder, a volley and straight in. She could have had another one with the other foot that went just over the bar, and then a header which the keeper had to make a really good save to keep out."
Butler added: “What a fantastic strike. Dino as a senior player is a credit to the group, and along with the other senior players she is a leader. She’s comfortable on the ball and makes us play – we need players like her in the team."
The duo then praised the progression the whole squad has made since they took over.
They said: “These girls have other commitments and attend training twice a week in all weathers and not one complains. We can’t fault the girls for what they’ve done in the last two years, and the progression we’ve made this year has been incredible to watch. A few years ago we struggled to beat bottom of the division teams and now we’re up in the top four.
“We now need to push on. We need to look at the games in which we’ve dropped points and learn from them, but apart from the Lincoln games we’ve been involved in every game. As a staff we’re so pleased how the players have progressed - they’ve taken on so much tactical information this season which can only mean they get better next season.
“Congratulations to Boldmere – it’s some feat and they have deserved it. They’ve gone to places and won comfortably. Good luck to them for next season."
The Belles will finish as runners-up in their division if they win their final game of the season away at Solihull Moors on May 1.