DONCASTER Rovers Belles avoided collecting the FA Women’s Super League (WSL) wooden spoon with a 2-0 win over fellows strugglers Liverpool Ladies at Skelmersdale on the final day of the 2012 season.
In avenging a 1-0 home defeat against the Reds earlier in the season, Belles held on to seventh spot in the eight-team league.
“It’s the same position we finished last season but we’ve picked up more points this year,” said Belles’ boss John Buckley.
Belles went into the game knowing that a draw would be good enough to condemn the home side to bottom spot and buoyed by a spirited performance in a 3-2 defeat away to newly-crowned champions Arsenal Ladies a week earlier.
But if Buckley expected his side to pick up where they had left off against the Gunners he was to be disappointed.
“It was the worst first half we have played all season; we were so careless we kept giving the ball away, “ claimed the former Leeds United, Doncaster and Rotherham winger. “I had a real go at them at half-time.”
One of the few highlights of the first half was a superb goal by young striker Beth England on 26 minutes.
She gave the keeper no chance with a fierce volley from the edge of the six-yard box at the far post from Aine O’Gorman’s corner.
Buckley’s verbal outburst during the interval brought about a ‘massive’ improvement in the second half.
“We had 11 good chances on goal,” said the Belles’ boss.
“I don’t know how Jess Sigsworth missed from just two yards; Millie Bright was wide with a header and Leandra Little missed with two headers in the six-yard box.”
But for a brilliant save by Mary Earps, Liverpool would have drawn level before O’Gorman wrapped things up when beating the keeper to a long ball in the 90th minute.
“We can’t let ourselves be in the same situation next season because there will be promotion and relegation,” said Buckley.
“Liverpool won’t be down there, eiher, because the men’s club are putting a lot of money into the side.”