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Women's Football News
Keynsham Town have risen sharply up the women's football pyramid in recent seasons and they are hoping to further enhance their growing reputation with a Cup run this time around.
The Bristol-based side enter the competition for the first time this Sunday with a home tie against Shanklin and, although they will start the tie as favourites, goalkeeper Linette Newton told Women's Soccer Scene that they are taking nothing for granted. "We will be viewed as favourites but we can't take Shanklin lightly," she says. "They had a great win against Bournemouth in the last round. We do know a little bit about them as they played our reserves before the season and they will get our full respect."
Keynsham got as far as the Third Round last season and Linette insists that memories of a narrow defeat will inspire them this time. "Last year we played Millwall Lionesses - it was a very good game but we felt slightly unlucky," she admits. "We were 1-0 ahead with five minutes to go but eventually lost on penalties. Rest assured, we'll be practising our penalties in training this week!
"Our aim is to go as far as we can in the Cup this season, to be honest we haven't even talked about the league."
Keynsham are riding high in the South West Combination and are expected to remain in the battle to try and win a place in the Premier League. "Every club has got to have ambition," says Linette, whose father Barrie is first team manager. "We've got a good squad and the team spirit is great. We're not putting pressure on ourselves but if we keep playing well, we can hopefully stay in the running.
"QPR are the best side we have played so far. We drew 1-1 with them and it was a tight game, both teams defended superbly and neither myself or my opposite goalkeeper had that much to do. Chesham Utd were very strong, Newquay have done well after promotion and will be particularly hard to play on their ground but there are one or two other teams who can join the race if they can put a good run together."
Keynsham also boast one of the most cosmopolitan sides in the country, their squad including four Brazilians, plus one from Serbia & Montenegro, Romania and Bosnia. Sheila Rocha has taken most of the headlines, the skilful Brazilian is arguably the best player outside of the Premier League and midfielder Luciana Silva is also a key player, as is Bosnian international striker Harjija 'Hari' Sabic. However, Linette also points out that the overseas players have not arrived at the expense of local talent. "We are also bringing on youngsters," she explains. "Every Saturday morning we organise training sessions which are attended by over 50 girls aged under 14. This year, we have formed a third team which is a development squad, and plays in the Somerset County League.
"Communication with the foreign players was difficult at first, but their English is getting better. Some of them are great players and use their natural ability to get by."
If Keynsham do reach the Premier League, it may mean a little more to Linette who was a founder member of the club back in 1993 when at primary school. There are two left - myself and Hannah Sellars - we started with six players, and now we have over 100!" she laughs. "We started in the Bristol City Girls League and, at our first game, got laughed at because we had no kit. Then we beat the top team in the league and they took us seriously after that!"
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