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PREVIEW | Belles v Long Eaton Utd Ladies

1 February 2023


PREVIEW | Belles v Long Eaton Utd Ladies

1 February 2023

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Belles play their second of six consecutive home games when they take on bottom-placed Long Eaton Utd Ladies at the Iqbal Poultry stadium on Sunday.

Nick Buxton will be looking for his side to maintain the level of performance that saw Belles draw 0-0 in an entertaining and high-quality game against second-placed Solihull Moors last weekend. That result moved Belles up to third in FAWNL Division 1 Midlands, eight points behind leaders Stourbridge but with a game in hand.

Sunday's visitors Long Eaton Utd Ladies have had a torrid season so far, and sit firmly at the bottom of the table with just the one win and eleven heavy defeats. Originally formed in 2006 and moving up through the East Midlands regional leagues, the Blues were promoted to Tier 4 level in 2016 and were an ever-improving team up to the end of last season when they finished fourth in the league - their highest-ever finish.

However, over the summer of 2022 the then manager left to join another club, taking a sizable number of the first team with him, leaving Long Eaton with a depleted squad with which to start the current season. The club sought to recruit players and build the squad back up, but the Blues have found the going very tough so far and are now in serious danger of relegation. To further try and remedy the situation, a new management team was appointed last month, with the remit of turning the season around and keeping the club at Tier 4 level. 

Sunday's clash will be the sixth time that the two clubs have met, with Belles winning three, Long Eaton one, and the clubs sharing two 1-1 draws, both of which occured last season. Jasmine Saxton scored in the home game at the then Keepmoat stadium, with Charlotte Dinsdale's special strike levelling the scores at Grange Park - a result that put an end to Belles' promotion challenge at the time. This season in the reverse fixture back in September, Belles came out on top 9-0, a scoreline which included a 20-minute hat-trick off the bench for Shannon Durkin, and was also notable in being Andy Butler's last game in charge.

Although the Blues are propping up the table, Belles manager Nick Buxton doesn't see how his side should change their approach to the game. Nick said:"Long Eaton have been struggling all season due to the situation they have found themselves in, but they are under new management now and will be looking to kick-start their season and get points on the board.

"However, I expect our players to maintain the same level of mental and physical preparedness as they would for any game and not come into this one thinking by looking at their results that it is already won. We had a bit of that last season when we played Bedworth twice and in both games could have come away with nothing.

"We were really pleased with the way in which we set up and played against Solihull. If we perform with the intensity and commitment as we did against them, then I would expect Long Eaton to find us very difficult to play against.  


The game kicks off at 2pm at the Iqbal Stadium, Moorends, DN8 4NA

For non-season ticket holders:
Adults: £5 (includes free 16-page programme)
U17's:  £1
DRFC season ticket holders: £3 
Adult tickets can also be purchased in advance from the Club Doncaster Box Office on-line here, in person, or on 01302 762576.
The Box Office is open at the following times:
Monday-Thursday: 9am – 4:30pm
Friday: 9am – 4pm


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