Doncaster Belles aiming to pip title rivals Sunderland on final day

Doncaster Rovers Belles
Doncaster Rovers Belles hope to be competing alongside Chelsea in the league again next season
FA Women's Super League 2
London Bees Ladies v Doncaster Rovers Belles; Millwall Lionesses v Sunderland Ladies (kick off: 14:00 GMT, Sunday 26 October)
Match reports and reaction on the BBC Sport website

Doncaster Rovers Belles are hoping to 'do a Liverpool' and pip leaders Sunderland in the race for promotion to the Women's Super League top flight.

The Reds won the Super League title after beating Bristol Academy while Chelsea lost at Manchester City.

It's a similar story in WSL2, where second-in-the-table Belles are two points behind the Black Cats.

"We're taking inspiration from what Liverpool did a fortnight ago," said Belles manager Gordon Staniforth.

In a dramatic finish, Liverpool, three points behind Chelsea heading into the last day, took the title on goal difference.

Doncaster must beat bottom club London Bees and hope rivals Sunderland slip up.

"That was a fantastic way to end the WSL1 season and hopefully it can be the same in our promotion race," added Staniforth.

"We've been playing that (Ellie Goulding) record 'Anything Could Happen,' and we'll go down to London Bees believing it could happen for us.

"We know that Sunderland will have to slip up to let us get past them, but the pressure will be on them."

Sunderland manager Mick Mulhern
"There's a hunger to finish the job off, and although we know it's going to be tough down at Millwall, we'll go into the game confident that we can win it."

The Black Cats - who take on Millwall in Sunday's final round of second division fixtures - would have clinched the title and WSL2's only promotion place if they had beaten the Belles at home three weeks ago.

The divisional winners' trophy was waiting in the wings, but it had to be put back under wraps as Donny won 2-1 to keep the race alive.

Sunderland manager Mick Mulhern admitted: "The pressure got to the players in that game - there was a lot of nervousness and panic in the second half.

"We then had a jittery spell in our next game at Oxford, but we snapped out of it and won 3-2 to keep our fate in our own hands going into this last match.

"Now there's a hunger to finish the job off, and although we know it's going to be tough down at Millwall we'll go into the game confident that we can win it."

Doncaster manager Gordon Staniforth
"Doncaster Belles have got a great history, but I wanted to look forwards to the future - and hopefully our future is back in WSL1."

With Doncaster holding a superior goal difference and hot favourites to beat a Bees team they thrashed 7-0 at home, Mulhern's team will almost certainly have to win at the Den to ensure promotion is theirs.

"No disrespect to London Bees," added Mulhern, "but I've got no doubts that Donny will beat them - so we know exactly what we have to do."

Mulhern is desperate to manage Sunderland in WSL1 in what will be his 16th year in charge - by far the longest tenure of any boss in the upper echelons of the English women's game.

By contrast Staniforth is in his first season at Doncaster, but promotion would be a great triumph for the former professional player with York City, Carlisle United, Plymouth Argyle and Newport County.

It would mean the return to the top flight of Donny after their controversial relegation last year, when they were replaced by Manchester City.

Resentment at their treatment was rife in and around the Belles camp, but Staniforth said: "I put those feelings to bed straight away.

"Doncaster Belles have got a great history, but I wanted to look forwards to the future - and hopefully our future is back in WSL1."

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