Sue Smith admits it took a rousing half time team talk from Glen Harris to get Doncaster Rovers Belles firing on all cylinders against London Bees.
Belles stand proud at the top of FAWSL2 after a four-goal blitz after the break.
But despite the convincing scoreline Smith, who scored a rare header, concedes the 5-1 win came far from easy.
“In the first half we were disappointed with our performance,” said former England international Smith.
“We went in there and Glen had a few words with us, told us that we weren’t good enough all the way through from defence to attack, and that we all had to look at ourselves and improve our performance.
“In the second half we came out and showed what we were about.
“I think it’s quite a convincing win in the end because they set up to defend, they made it difficult for us, and frustrated us at times.
“Everyone burst out laughing when I scored the header!
“I actually should have got two. It was a perfect ball by Beth England so I had to score it.”
Beth England bagged the first goal of the game from close range after Imogen Riches saved her initial effort.
But the sides were level at the break after a stunning strike from Ashleigh Goddard, her 25-yard half-volley beating Nicola Hobbs at the far corner.
However, table-topping Doncaster were back in front five minutes after the break when Emily Roberts converted Smith’s cross.
Then Smith went from creator to scorer just before the hour mark, heading home England’s high cross.
England made it 4-1 with a near-post header from a Belles corner, her third goal in two games.
Both sides hit the woodwork within seconds of one another ten minutes from time before Roberts rounded off the win with yet another header.
And Bees boss Julian Broomes insists his players’ efforts were not matched by the result.
“I just don’t believe our team deserves that,” said Broomes.
“I think that 5-1 just isn’t really credible. We’ve not taken our chances, and we’ve made it easy for Doncaster.
“I feel for the girls and I’m bitterly disappointed that we’ve not got more out of the game.
“It was a great goal to set us off and get us back into the game and we had another one from Gemma Fraser in the first half where I think if she’d taken it early with the goalkeeper advancing, we go 2-1 ahead at the break.”
Belles, the only unbeaten side in FAWSL2, welcome second-placed Reading to the Keepmoat Stadium on Saturday (6.30pm).