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Women's Football News
The 2011-12 season was a hugely successful one both on and off the pitch for Yeovil Town.
It was the first full season under the tenure of joint first team managers Nigel Williams and Sarah Lawler and saw two trophies won by the senior squad, with the lifting of both the South West Combination Trophy and the Somerset FA Women's Senior Cup.
The club also had the honour of being awarded the FA National Respect Gold award for the English ladies football pyramid, demonstrating that it had not only progressed well on the pitch, but off it too.
The start of the season saw the sad departure from the club of long serving and record goalscorer Jemma Tewkesbury, who moved on to pastures new at Portsmouth. However, other key players like Rachel 'Dodge' Simkin stayed with the club and a number of signings were made over the summer, with Kirsty Whitton coming in from Frome Town and former England and Arsenal forward Justine Lorton joining from Portsmouth. Stand out defensive duo Emma Brazell and Rachael Edwards were also appointed as Club and first team captains respectively. With the playing squad assembled, Lawler and Williams, aided by Assistant Chris White, completely overhauled the team's style of play ready for what they knew would be a challenging season after relegation.
The effect was instant, with the league campaign starting with a superb 7-1 victory over Keynsham Development. This set the precedent for the season with the girls staying unbeaten in the league throughout. Laura Bray instantly hit a rich vein of form, scoring four goals in the opening game, and going on to grab an impressive 26 for the season, also becoming the first South West Combination player to pass 100 career league goals.
The Glovers drew their second league match, but then went on an eleven game winning streak that sent them catapulting to the top of the league, where they stayed until the end of the season despite being pushed hard at times by their rivals, particularly eventual runners-up Forest Green Rovers with whom the Glovers played out two epic league matches. Most neutral observers would probably say that those two games, where the Glovers had to come back from two goal deficits in both matches, probably went a long way towards deciding the title.
The County Cup campaign started well with a 1-0 win over Keynsham Town. The girls received a bye to the final, where on a glorious May evening they beat Larkhall Athletic 3-0 at Wells City FC to lift the trophy for the second consecutive season. Yeovil were knocked out of the Ambassador League Cup by Forest Green Rovers at the end of October and were eliminated from the FA Women's Cup a week later by Shanklin but continued to go great guns in the league, moving to top place in December, going on to be crowned champions in April, with two games to spare, so booking themselves a place in the next season's FA Women's Premier League.
The reserves had a good season of development, with the youth teams all enjoying much success, with the Under-16s, Under-12s and the Under-11s all winning their respective leagues, and the Under-14s coming runners-up in theirs.
The club were informed of their FA Respect award in April, and this was the result of a lot of hard work from everyone at the club, but in particular from Welfare Officer Rachael Edwards and Chairman David Mills, with his 'Fans Bill of Rights' getting a special mention from the FA in announcing the club's success.
Assistant manager Chris White and Secretary Ali King presented the club on FA Cup Final day as they travelled up to Wembley Stadium to be presented the award, and were lucky enough to get back to Yeovil to end their day at the club's presentation evening, with everyone celebrating a highly memorable season.
"The players were fantastic this season and we want to thank them for their commitment, hard work and belief in the goals that we set them in pre-season," says manager Sarah Lawler. "From the first session in pre-season, the girls bought into the way we wanted to play, train and prepare for games and it has paid off with an outstanding unbeaten league record against some great teams.
"Our aims for next season are to retain our existing squad and add some depth with some new players to enhance our options in order to be able to compete physically and technically. We are well organised and professional with the way we approach things and want to take this to another level again to progress as a team in the Premier League."
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