DONCASTER Rovers Belles got a glimpse of the harsh realities of the FA Women’s Super League when they slumped to a 4-0 defeat at Birmingham City last weekend.
But it was not necessarily the scoreline which put the frighteners on boss John Buckley.
Buckley said: “Birmingham brought on England striker Eniola Aluko for the second half.
“She’s been playing in America earning hundreds of pounds a week.
“Myself and Paul Green [assistant manager] just turned and looked at each other when she came on.
“That’s the sort of thing we’re up against this season.
“It’s difficult to compete against teams who have those kind of resources.
“We had a 16-year-old girl Lucy Sowerby on our bench who is completely untested at this level.
“That’s the difference.”
Former Doncaster midfielder Rachel Williams broke the deadlock for Birmingham after an uneventful opening to the game at the DCS Stadium.
Kerys Harrop and Jo Potter then struck to give the Blues an unassailable three-goal lead at half time, while Lille Billson went closest for the visitors when she shot inches wide.
Aluko rounded Belles keeper Mary Earps to slot home a fourth after the break and seal an easy win for the hosts.
Buckley said: “We changed the formation to a 4-4-2 at half time and matched them up.
“We didn’t get close enough to them in the first half but the second half was a lot better.
“It’s going to be a difficult season for us but in the second half we were a lot more positive.
“When you play the best teams you expect the girls to raise their game but perhaps we were guilty of going into our shells.
“We have to do better this weekend.”
Belles lie bottom of the FAWSL without a point to their name.
They turn their attention to the Continental Cup on Sunday when they travel to Everton.
Skipper Katie Holtham said: “We just need to be positive and look to bounce back from this defeat.
“We started the game quite well for the opening quarter of an hour but then to concede two goals in three minutes left us with an uphill battle.
“It has been difficult for us to get going and we’ve got a lot of away games coming up now.
“But we’ve got to re-group, work hard in training and go again next week at Everton in the Continental Cup.
“Birmingham had their chances and finished them off and that’s the difference at this level between getting a result and not getting one.
“We need to get some points on the board quickly, that’s for sure.”