We chat with Town's women's team manager, Dale Houlston after a historic day.
What’s your thought’s on today’s result?
I am delighted with the result and thrilled for the girls to get going with their first win and three points. They've been made to work extremely hard by a great Appleby Frodingham Ladies team, and they know that they've been in a real game. They've asked some serious questions of us at times today, and the girls have responded well.
How did you feel the girls played?
On reflection, I think it was a dogged performance and we competed very well. It's a new group and we are still working hard with players to establish and grind in how we want to play. We do want to evolve more of an easier on the eye approach to games, and I think as the season progresses we will probably look a little less direct and retain the ball more. Sometimes we look like we are trying to force things when the better option would be to retain and build the play. But I am confident this is an area of our game we can improve on, and it will come as we focus on this in training and then work hard on implementing this in games.
Today was more about getting off to a great start and winning three points. And we have to remember that we've got six players that have been involved today that are just sixteen years of age. Some of them are barely sixteen. So the challenges that entering the world of adult football for them shouldn't be underestimated, especially coming to terms with the physicality of the game. These youngsters have all mostly been playing children's football up to now, in a world where they are nicely protected in the cocoon-like world of junior fixtures. There's no intermediate step for them in the female game, it is straight in at the deep end; so what they've done out there today is an absolute credit to them. We've got some great senior leaders on the pitch though, and I am sure that having them alongside gives the youngsters a confidence boost.
On those younger players, who did you feel was the stand-out performers?
Hey, they've all played their part massively. Chelsea Brittle in goal was brilliant and made some very brave saves, and has aggravated an injury, so we will be assessing Chelsea. Young Phoebe Price is another goalkeeper that's done well in the second half too. I think Darcie Proud looks like a player that has been playing adult football for years, but I've got to say that everyone of them grabbed hold of their opportunity to shine on the day. Ellie Wilson has been tremendous though hasn't she. She's been really comfortable on the ball and has been a constant threat and an outlet. I'm over the moon that she has scored two goals and I am sure she is going to really sleep tonight after that performance. She must be shattered.
There was quite a crowd here today Dale, was it pleasing to see supporters getting behind the team?
I was quite shocked really to see such a gathering, and everyone connected with the squad are so grateful. Grimsby Town Football Club has some amazing support for the men's team, we see this every week at Blundell Park, and the travelling faithful are tremendous. But I really wasn't expecting to see so many people turn up to support the women's team. I don't know if it was through curiosity or what, but I'd like to think that perhaps its because of a genuine love of the supporters for all things Grimsby Town. Women's football has clearly captured the imagination of a number of supporters and we feel very privileged to have them behind us. The Grimsby Town press team have also been around capturing some historical pictures and that's really nice isn't it. There's been a representative of the board of directors down here watching us too. Philip (Day) came and had a nice chat with us all after the game, and he had some great words of praise and encouragement for the players. That's special, isn't it.
Have there been any messages from the men's team Dale?
Yes there has been several well wishes sent, and we are very grateful for everyone connected with Michael Jolley's team for their kindness. The girls have already been welcomed by players at a couple of events and match-days, and that means so much to them. Anthony Limbrick sent us a lovely message before the game, wishing us all the best. I've just had a little look at my phone that's pinged, and James Mckeown has sent me a few lines saying how delighted he is. But that's Macca isn't it, he is a first-class lad and a brilliant captain and ambassador for the club.
What's next Dale?
Well, we are going to let the girls enjoy their moment because they've earned that. Then it's back into training this week and we will be looking to work on a few things before the Barton game. We won't be getting carried away though, it's a great start, but it's just one game after all.