Our Women's team travelled to Scunthorpe yesterday in a group stage fixture with Appleby Frodingham in the Lincolnshire Women's League Cup. A fixture in which Town kept their 100% win tally going in a 2-0 victory. After the game we interviewed manager Dale Houlston and got his thoughts on the victory.
Dale well done, but it wasn't the usual steamroller win that we have become accustomed to?
"Thank you, yes a strange sort of game really in respect of the scoreline. Whilst we have dominated the game and never really felt threatened in our own area, we haven't really made the most of our own attacking play, and for the first time, we haven't scored a goal from open play. I think that at times we have been a bit guilty over playing in and around their box, and sometimes it looked a bit like we were trying to walk the ball over the line or even score the perfect goal.
"I spoke to the players at half time about not expecting the perfect goal scoring opportunity. Very often you know the finishing opportunity isn't always sitting up like a golf ball on a tee, sometimes it's that scruffy goal from open play that works, like a shot on target from the rough if you want to use that same golf analogy. So the message was to just start hitting the target a bit more in the second half and at least work their goalkeeper more. To be fair, we've hit the woodwork twice as well and we have been mostly in control of the game, so I don't wish to be too critical. I don't want to be disrespectful to Appleby Frodingham either, and so maybe there is also a case that they have worked hard without the ball to try and limit our chances too ".
The goals have come from a penalty and a free-kick, can you talk us through them?
"Alisha Dejonge has been clearly fouled in the box, and quite rightly the player has received a yellow card. She has dusted herself down though and stepped up to take the spot-kick and has coolly put the penalty away into the bottom left-hand corner. We've then got a fee kick around 25 yards out on the left. Olivia Kershaw loves the opportunity to strike those, and she has made a great job of getting the ball over the wall and on target".
Is it strange that a League Cup tournament is a group based qualification scenario?
"Slightly yes I suppose so, but not uncommon in leagues where there aren't a large number of teams. To Lincolnshire FA's credit and their league committee too, it is a good way of creating more games for an extremely small league with only six teams in it. So we get to play everyone twice in normal league fixtures, and then two of the teams in the northern part of the county twice again, home and away in the group stage of the cup. I guess by the end of the season we might all get a bit bored with playing each other so often, but faced with the choice of only being able to play 10 league games plus a game or two in the cup, the players would sooner have more fixtures. It is a shame though really that there are only six teams in the Lincolnshire Women's League".
Why is that?
"Well, there could be upwards of a dozen teams if the national FA didn't give special dispensation for clubs to go and play over the border in neighbouring counties. I believe that a lot of them are allowed to this on the grounds of travelling distance because they feel that a team for instance in the West of the county would have less mileage to do playing in the Notts League than they would if they were playing in the Lincolnshire League which is a large rural county. I sort of get that and I don't, as there are children's teams as young as Under 7's upwards that are travelling further to play football than what female adults teams appear to want to in Lincolnshire. I am not sure how these step seven teams will cope if they get promoted, as the higher you go up the pyramid then increased mileage becomes unavoidable. But in the meantime, this special dispensation undoubtedly has an adverse effect on both the number of teams in the league, and it is fair to say the competitiveness of the league too. I think tier seven women's open age football could be much bigger and stronger and I genuinely hope that Lincolnshire FA finds a way to achieve this. I know they are working hard to try and achieve this".
Our women's team now face a break for the Christmas period and they resume in January which also includes a quarter final Lincolnshire County Cup fixture away at Grantham Town on January 19th. We will keep you posted on any news.