August 21st, 2018

Shaw: It’s a marathon, not a sprint

Shaw: It’s a marathon, not a sprint

Belles head coach Zoey Shaw hopes the experience of playing against the best side in the division will give her side an indication of where the bar is set.

As champions of the FA WNL Northern Division for the past two years, Blackburn were always likely to pose a stern test to a young Belles side, all of whom were making their senior debuts for the club.

Shaw said: “The quality of the squad they’ve got at Blackburn speaks for itself with what they’ve won in the past.

“I thought we had good spells in the game today for such a young squad with most of them playing senior football for the first time. The experience for them is huge and the amount of pressure they must have felt on their shoulders today was probably a lot for them to handle, but they got through it quite well considering.”

Shaw made a switch at the break, bringing on an extra defender to shore things up, and for the opening portion of the second half it stood firm against Blackburn’s bombardment.

She said: “It was a gamble going three at the back but they did extremely well. Emily Batty, the keeper, made endless saves, and Georgia Marshall and Holly Dodsworth, the centre-backs, are only 16 and they really relished the challenged.

“The change of formation did well for us and we held them off in the second half for a good 21 minutes, and for us that’s massive. But Blackburn’s experience just shows through more than what we’ve got through at the moment.

“We’ve just got to reflect on it, regroup on Tuesday, and we start again. We’re always working to better ourselves, individually and as a team, and we’re in it for the long run. It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon.”