Doncaster Belles: We’re in search of perfection - Staniforth

Ashleigh Mills celebrates Belles' fourth. Photo: Darren Neagle
Ashleigh Mills celebrates Belles' fourth. Photo: Darren Neagle

Gordon Staniforth admits his side are searching for perfection in their bid for promotion back into FAWSL1 and that next opponents Reading should be ‘frightened’, writes Hayley Paterson.

The Belles overcame a frustrating first half to demolish Oxford United after the restart - with three goals in the space of eight minutes finishing off a 4-1 rout.

Lauren Cresswell scores Belles' first. Photo: Darren Neagle.

Lauren Cresswell scores Belles' first. Photo: Darren Neagle.

That result saw the Belles climb to the top of the FAWSL2 with a perfect record from their opening two matches. Fellow promotion hopefuls Reading are up next this weekend.

Despite Saturday’s success at the Keepmoat - Staniforth’s home debut - the Belles chief was keen to point out that improvements need to be made in the final third if they are to achieve the ‘perfect’ performance.

“In the first half I was very disappointed,” he said.

“I thought we were very lethargic, we needed to move the ball quicker and although we still had chances and we had a lot of corners, we didn’t convert any of them.

“I was frustrated with the first half but the second half I was delighted, absolutely delighted.

“I thought the quality of the play, the quality of the goals and the quality of the movement were all brilliant.

“What we need to do is to be more clinical to finish games off.

“We’ve had chances in every game and yet we’ve had to wait until later on to be comfortable. I’d rather have that earlier on in the game.”

He added: “We’re after perfection and perfection is a little bit of quality in the final third.”

A Lauren Cresswell thunderbolt levelled the tie with Oxford after the visitors went ahead through a close range effort from skipper Sahara Osborne-Ricketts.

However, Cresswell’s sublime 25-yard free-kick after the break coupled with first club goals for ex-Nottingham Forest midfielder Reanne Thomas and Balby winger Ashleigh Mills saw the Belles finish at the league’s summit.

Just behind are Sunderland who are level on points but the Belles have a better goal difference.

On their current table-topping status, Staniforth said: “It’s a great feeling. But we’re going to keep our feet on the ground and we’ll take each match as it comes.”

Doncaster have the chance to send a clear message to their fellow FAWSL2 counterparts as they gear up to welcome strong promotion contenders Reading on Saturday night.

And Staniforth believes his side will boast a ‘fear factor’ when they host the Berkshire side at the Keepmoat Stadium.

“We need to be as good as we have been in the last few games and take it as it comes because we’re on a high at the moment,” said the former Plymouth Argyle striker.

“With any game like Reading, they should be frightened of us.

“They will have no doubt had a scout at the game [against Oxford United] and they’ll see that we can play and we can battle.

“But the frightening thing is we are getting better.”

Doncaster Rovers Belles v Reading, Saturday, FAWSL2, Keepmoat Stadium, 6.30pm KO.