Olivia Cook’s first ever senior goal earned Belles a draw against Guiseley at the weekend as they came back to draw 1-1.
Speaking after the game, Cook expressed her pride in how to team are currently performing, saying: “I’m really happy with the way we’ve been progressing as a team.
“We’re growing as a team, we’re gaining that experience – I was happy with today.”
The centre-back, who got herself on the scoresheet for the first time in her senior career, believes glimpses of the communication Belles displayed in the second half is vital going forward.
“I think one thing we’ve struggled with this season is communication.” Said Cook.
“Sometimes it just takes one person to kickstart it [the talking] and everyone gets talking to each other and you see the passion coming out.”
Early on in the second half, Cook made a potentially game-changing slide tackle to prevent Guiseley from having an open shot on goal.
“I thought, well if I give her a penalty she might score, but if I let her run through she might score so I had to do it whatever happened.” She said.
It wouldn’t be a Belles game without some late drama – and Batty’s injury-time penalty save provided just that, all but securing the point for her team, with Cook saying she had ‘every faith’ in her to make the crucial stop.
Head Coach Zoey Shaw believes her side were unlucky to lose out on all three points in tonight’s game against Huddersfield.
Shaw revealed the hard work that went into preparing for last night’s game, saying: “We trained last night so the prep was fresh in our head.
“We knew what game plan we wanted to apply and we knew how they were going to play.”
Despite Huddersfield setting up slightly differently to how Shaw expected, she was impressed with how Belles adapted to the game.
“I think the girls acted well and to go two goals up in that short space of time just shows credit to the girls.
“And it obviously reflected in them making two early subs.” She said.
Despite not matching the physicality and experiences of Huddersfield, Shaw talks of the transition Belles have made in the last few months that have accredited their run of impressive performances.
“What I think we’ve shown over the last couple of weeks is that belief, that grit, that determination, the desire.
“All of those things come into play and I think the girls are playing on confidence and now actually believe in themselves.”
The players have shown their ability to read each other in the game as a result of getting to know each other more and it’s ‘speaking volumes’, says Shaw.
Looking ahead this weekend and Belles’ game against Guiseley, Shaw is excited at the prospect of some reunions and says: “It’s one of them games where you play for pride.
“I’m sure after us beating them, they’ll come here to look to get something from the game.”
Belles welcome Guiseley to Rossington Main on Sunday ahead of a 2pm kick off.
HEAD COACH ZOEY Shaw has been encouraged by the display she saw from her side against Stoke at the weekend and believes Belles are moving in the right direction.
In a post-match interview, Shaw was full of praise for her young side who have adapted well to their new approach for the second half of the season.
“We spent the first half of the season worrying about what the other team is going to do and how to stop them,” Shaw says.
“This second half of the season, the message is ‘no it’s not that, it’s what we’re going to do and how we’re going to play ourselves’.”
Shaw praised the new-found independence of her squad, saying: “I think the girls are now starting to think for themselves on the pitch, they’ll alter what they say and makes changes.”
Belles reacted impressively to going own to 10 players, showing ‘great character.’
“They adapted well and we gambled, moved people out of position,” Shaw said.
“We threw everything at them in the last five or 10 minutes but it just wasn’t enough today.”
Looking ahead to next week, Shaw says that the girls are in fine form and has been impressed by their high team morale, saying it is ‘one of the best’ she’s seen at any coaching job.
Belles will travel to Middlesbrough on Sunday in search of three points and a fourth league victory.