Doncaster Belles v Durham: Don’t stop believing, says Tori Williams

Tori Williams scores the match-winner at Sunderland. Photo: Emma Maye.
Tori Williams scores the match-winner at Sunderland. Photo: Emma Maye.

Match-winner Tori Williams has urged her side to keep on believing after a stunning win at FAWSL2 leaders Sunderland threw the title race wide open.

Saturday night saw the Belles come from a goal down against their table-topping hosts with strikes from Jess Sigsworth and Williams clinching the spoils for Doncaster.

Had Sunderland won, the Lady Black Cats would now be celebrating the title.

However, the champagne had to be left on ice as Belles’ party pooping now leaves the Doncaster side with three matches left to play, sitting just five points behind Sunderland in the table with a game in hand.

After the game, Williams said: “I’m absolutely buzzing. We set ourselves a target of 12 points, we got three points against Sunderland so it’s nine points to go - that’s what we’re aiming for.

“We said at half time we were working to 50 per cent of what we’re capable of. We came out in the second half and pressed from the kick-off.

“We just said that we had to believe in ourselves and the goals would follow.”

Beth Mead had put the hosts ahead in front of a 1,100-strong crowd at the Hetton Centre before Sigsworth’s equaliser on the hour and Williams’ stunning first time effort with seven minutes to spare.

And Gordon Staniforth admits to enjoying a ‘phenomenal weekend’ following the mammoth victory in the North East.

“We’ve been inundated with messages on social media, my phone hasn’t stopped too, the reaction has just been fantastic, we had a phenomenal weekend.

“Second half, our performance was especially pleasing to me.

“I thought we battled for everything and were the better team and thoroughly deserved the win.

“We wanted it more and played the game rather than the occasion.

“Whatever happens now, we can look back at our season with pride.

“We’ve played our hearts out, beaten Sunderland away and collected points to see us challenging for the title.

“It might not have been the amount of points I would’ve liked but we should be proud of what we’ve already achieved this season.”

Staniforth’s side will now be looking to take that confidence-boosting performance into Saturday’s home tie at the Keepmoat Stadium against Durham Women.

This weekend’s opponents are a side the Belles played out a frustrating 0-0 draw with when they last met in August - a result Staniforth wants to ‘put right’.

“We created the chances at Durham but didn’t put them away so now we’ve got the opportunity to put that right and keep our run going,” he said.

“It’s a home game so we’d love to see the Doncaster public come along to the Keepmoat and really get behind the team and give them a lift to keep going because this title is going right to the wire.”

Defenders Leandra Little and Rhiannon Roberts should be fit after the pair picked up knocks during the Sunderland win.