Doncaster Belles: Buckley keen for a clinical edge

Doncaster Belles Boss John Buckley
Doncaster Belles Boss John Buckley
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Doncaster Rovers Belles manager John Buckley wants a better end product in the final third after he watched his side lose 6-0 to reigning FAWSL champions Arsenal Ladies last night.

Three first half goals in the space of four minutes stunned the hosts at the Keepmoat Stadium as Arsenal flicked the switch and turned a tight game completely on its head.

Prior to Gilly Flaherty’s opening goal in the 29th minute, there was very little between the Belles and Gunners with chances few and far between.

However, defender Flaherty made the most of her unmarked position in the area to nestle a header into the bottom corner.

That goal opened the floodgates as Jordan Nobbs chipped Belles keeper Nicola Davies two minutes later and Danielle Carter fired in the third to stun Doncaster after just 33 minutes.

Winless Belles had a glorious chance to reduce the deficit in the 42nd minute when Sue Smith broke clear down the right but the midfielder fired the wrong side of the post.

The hosts began the stronger of the two after the restart as Millie Bright saw a powerful header deflected wide. Beth England later tried catching out Gunners keeper Emma Byrne with a couple of long range efforts.

Bright then forced a strong save down to her right from Byrne as the Belles forward tried to sneak the ball into the far corner from a drilled delivery.

However, Arsenal made sure they stretched their unbeaten league and cup record to ten games as substitute Ellen White pressured the hosts’ defence and rifled home for 4-0 in the 67th minute.

Shelley Kerr’s visiting side completed the rout as Carter grabbed her second of the game, sliding in from close range, and Steph Houghton’s well struck free-kick nestled into the net for 6-0.

Buckley said: “Massively disappointed with the result.

“Our opportunity was there (Smith chance in the first half), we’ve got to work the goalkeeper.

“We got beat 6-0, it looks like a proper hiding, I suppose it is, but if you don’t take those chances that’ll happen to you.

“I think we had seven opportunities at goal (in the second half), they weren’t all great but they were opportunities.”

He went on: “When we changed the shape in the second half, we were better. They are a good, good side.

“When moments come in the game, we have got to take advantage of those moments.

“There were a couple of the younger ones who were outstanding - Ashleigh Mills, she’s as if she’s got a little engine in her, she never stops. Super little player.

“Beth England, I thought she was magnificent. I know she is doing a lot of work on her own to get herself fitter and that was quite evident.

“What we did miss tonight was that little bit of pace in behind, maybe Jess Sigsworth (away on international duty) gives us that - where you can threaten the backline a bit more.”

Belles have another tough game on Saturday when they host the FAWSL league leaders Liverpool at the Keepmoat Stadium. Kick-off is 6pm.

Belles, prior to the Arsenal game, called a press conference in which they announced a “major sponsorship deal” with London-based private university BPP. Keep with the Doncaster Free Press website for a report and video from the event.