Women’s Football: Lowly Doncaster Belles bid to defy odds

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DONCASTER Rovers Belles will need to upset the odds in this evening’s home FA Women’s Super League (WSL) game against title favourites Arsenal Ladies if they are to boost their hopes of avoiding the wooden spoon.

Injury-hit Belles, who have lost both matches since the WSL resumed after the London 2012 Olympics, have to play the Gunners twice in the run-in.

The size of Belles’ task in the rearranged game is underlined by the fact that the Londoners will boast a number of the Team GB team which contested the Games.

As with fellow WSL sides, Belles are hoping to capitalise on the interest in the women’s game generated by the Olympics and are hoping that a number of Doncaster Rovers’ fans attending this afternoon’s League One clash with Crawley Town will stay around for the match which starts at 6pm.

Rovers season ticket holders will be allowed in free of charge.

The double-header, the first of its kind since the WSL was launched last season, is the brainchild of Rovers chief executive Gavin Baldwin, who is keen for the League One club to develop closer links with the stadium’s other tenants.

Belles will have influential skipper Katie Holtham, who flew in from Canada midway through the first half of last weekend’s defeat at home to Chelsea, and came on in the second, available for the full game this week.

Manager John Buckley remains critical of Belles’ performance against the Blues and is demanding a better display tonight.

“I had a right go at them last week,” he told The Star. “They are playing in the best women’s league in the country and they shouldn’t be feeling sorry for themselves.

“We’ve got to show more composure in both boxes - that’s where the game is always won and lost.”