Managerless London Bees extended their losing streak to ten matches with a 7-0 thrashing by second-place Doncaster Belles at the Keepmoat Stadium on Saturday.
A first-half hat-trick from England’s Sue Smith proved to be the difference in a testing match for the Bees and it was Smith who opened the scoring on six minutes when she rifled home from 25 yards.
The Bees had a chance to level but Anneka Nuttall was unable to get her far-post volley on target.
Seven minutes later, Courtney Sweetman-Kirk made it two for the Belles at the second attempt after goalkeeper Sophie Harris had kept out the first.
Smith soon scored her second with a stunning free-kick, finding the top corner of the net with precision.
Her hat-trick was completed moments before the break when she broke free from the Bees defence to add the fourth.
Goalkeeper Harris was replaced by new addition Imogen Riches at half-time but she soon found herself punished by the lethal Belles attack when Millie Bright lashed home following some tricky interplay.
The Bees managed to keep their opponents at bay briefly before a sixth was conceded in the 87th minute; Sweetman-Kirk tapped capitalising following a goalmouth scramble.
Doncaster completed the rout in added time when Bethany England reacted quickest after Leandra Little’s header against the bar fell into her path.
Captain Dawn Mallett believes despite another heavy defeat, the Bees can return to winning ways sooner rather than later.
Speaking to the club’s website, she said: “To bounce back from this we just need to show the same desire that we have been showing in training recently.
"The result didn't go our way, but that is football and we just need to keep working hard to show that we want to play well against the best teams in the division.”
The Bees are next in action on August 24 when they host Yeovil Town Ladies at The Hive.