Doncaster Rovers Belles chief admits heavy Middlesbrough loss on Eco-Power Stadium return “tough to take"

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Belles chief Sam Winch admitted a 4-1 loss at home to Middlesbrough upon their Eco-Power Stadium return was ‘tough to take’.

Belles, who usually play at the Iqbal Poultry Stadium in Thorne, were back on home soil for the first of four fixtures at the Eco-Power Stadium this season.

But with 801 fans watching on they couldn’t cap the occasion with a positive result as they went down 4-1 despite a stunning second-half strike from substitute Anaia Willoughby.

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Winch said: “At home, with this opportunity to play at the stadium, it was a tough one.

Doncaster Rovers Belles boss Sam Winch.Doncaster Rovers Belles boss Sam Winch.
Doncaster Rovers Belles boss Sam Winch.

"Having said that, I’m super proud of the girls. If you look at the age of some of them, we had seven under the age of 20 playing today.

"I’m really proud of some individual performances but, of course, a 4-1 defeat at home to Middlesbrough, it’s tough to take.”

The result leaves Belles eighth in the 12-team Women’s National League Division One North.

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They have the chance to bounce back quickly against York City, who sit one place below them in the table, on Wednesday evening.

Despite the disappointing result Winch welcomed the club’s return to the Eco-Power Stadium.

He said: “It was brilliant. The girls were so excited, as were all the staff.

"Going into the changing room, the music pumping, it felt like home and the kind of place you want to be week in, week out.”

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Winch also revealed the club is still on the lookout for new players and praised the “progress” being made behind the scenes.

He said: “We are starting to make progress.

"Off the field there are so many good things happening.”