Friday 15th May 2020 (Match Date)
SWLFC U18's 2019/20 Season Review.....
Here are the details of our U18's season, Manager Lee South reports.....
The 2019/20 was definitely a season of change for our girls. We said goodbye to a few players with Mia Bunce, Jessica Sutton and Delia Hurdiss departing to join other clubs with Maisie Stanley moving to our U16s. Clara Miller left to focus on her blossoming Hockey career (but we would see her again) and Alivia Chambers took the next step on her football journey, joining Leicester City Regional Talent Club.
Due to work commitments the Management team was re-jigged a little with Luke Higgins and Dylan Skidmore taking the joint Manager role and Lee South meant to be stepping back to assistant. I think Luke and Dylan will say that never really happened though 😊
At one point in pre season it looked like we wouldn’t have the numbers needed to form a squad which would have been a real disappointment. We stuck it out though and were rewarded late into pre season, welcoming some great new players. In came Courtney Caunt and Molly Wilde from Chesterfield, Eve Micklethwaite from our U16s and Maddy Higton from Mansfield. Lastly and just before the season started we welcomed two players from our old adversaries Doncaster Belles, Abby Gleadell and Caitlin Fidell.
Due to the challenge building a squad we went into the first game without any pre season friendlies. Watching the game you wouldn’t have thought that. It ended in a 4-3 defeat with the girls only ever behind in the last minutes when the winner came. A defeat but a game that gave us much optimism going forward. Another game quickly followed and one which got the girls ticking with convincing victory against Sheff Utd Red.
Injuries, holidays and suspensions meant we had a bare 11 for our first ever game v Rotherham United. Girls played great but went into half-time with a slender 3-2 lead. Tired legs started to take its toll as Rotherham fought back to lead 4-3. The girls dug in to level again but were 5-4 down with 5 minutes left and players continuing on through injury. The next 5 minutes were remarkable. The injured Jade Rennie was upfront due to injury but managed to grab our equaliser. Then, with 2 minutes left a speculative 40 yard effort from Abbie South won us the game 6-5. Great team spirit.
We had four really good close encounters against the second of Sheffield FC teams. Each and every game well contested with two teams trying to play football the right way. They pipped us on penalties in the cup and strangely also stopped us winning the Shield in the final (will let you try and work that one out).
Most disappointing was the game v Barnsley. Only 9 players available meant we had to draft Clara Miller back in from her Hockey exploits and Rachel McCall from our Development Squad. So a challenge to start with against as strong team, added to probably the worst pitch the girls have ever played on didn’t make for a good day. The performance was good, just got caught out cold a few times. It was our mission to put that right later in the season but the chance never came.
So a really mixed season. 12 league games played, 6 wins and 6 defeats. Our 4th Cup Final running but this time in the shield. So up and down but still an enjoyable one. Millie Simms finished leading scorer and Skye Mara and Abbie South the only ever presents.
Highlights of the season were welcoming new players and their families into our football family, the determination and resilience of the girls, another final, watching our former player Alivia Chambers progress from a far and a welcome return from injury for Kayha Williams.
Well done everyone. UTO! #oneteam
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