How things stand in Doncaster Rovers Belles' promotion bid ahead of double-header with Doncaster Rovers

Doncaster Rovers Belles go into their game against Burton Albion at the Eco-Power Stadium on Saturday (5.45pm) knowing that victory is imperative.

By Julian Barker
Friday, 11th March 2022, 6:00 am
Doncaster Rovers Belles. Photo: Julian Barker
Doncaster Rovers Belles. Photo: Julian Barker

As it stands, promotion is out of Belles’ hands but all they can do is win their final five fixtures and hope for the best.

A victory by seven clear goals would put them top of the FA Women’s National League Division One Midlands. How long Belles would stay there, however, is another matter.

Realistically, one would expect current leaders Boldmere St Michaels, who start the weekend three points ahead of Belles and with a better goal difference, to regain top spot when they host Leafield Athletic on Sunday afternoon.

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Boldmere then play three and a half games before Belles’ next league action - away to Peterborough United on March 27.

That game kicks off an hour later than Boldmere’s visit to Lincoln City who are now nine points off top spot after being at the forefront of the title race before Christmas.

Saturday’s game against Burton does allow a reflection of the progress Belles have made since Andy Butler took over the managerial reins.

It was in January 2020 that Belles, hovering precariously above the relegation places, played their first league match under Butler and won 5-0 at home to Burton.

That was quickly followed by further wins over Solihull Moors and Long Eaton United Belles which would probably have been sufficient to have ensured safety had the season continued and not been declared null and void due to Covid.

Belles had an encouraging part season last time around before Covid again curtailed matters. The team’s improvement under Butler has continued this season when the only points Belles have dropped have come, crucially, against the other teams in the current top four. Belles have taken just two points from the 15 available in games against Boldmere, Lincoln and Long Eaton, with Belles having still to visit the latter.

Last Sunday’s home game against Leafield Athletic was switched to the 4G pitch at the Eco-Power Stadium. Belles recorded a 5-1 victory with goals from Lauren Breen (2), Jasmine Saxton (2) and Jess Andrew.

Boldmere, however, won 7-0 against Bedworth United to slightly improve their overall standing compared to Butler’s charges.