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Women's Football News
After going so close to the Midland Combination league title and losing in the League Cup Final last season, being thwarted by Wolverhampton Wanderers on both occasions, Stoke City went one better this time around by finishing as Champions and completing the 'double' shortly afterwards.
Stoke went into the season as favourites but only won one of their opening three matches, against newly promoted Leamington Lions, the third game resulting in a 3-1 defeat at home to Curzon Ashton.
However they got back to winning ways in their next match against Rotherham Utd and Stoke never really looked back from that point. Leafield Athletic had been the runaway leaders during the first half of the season but Stoke went on a 13-match winning run which not only reeled in Leafield but saw them pull away from the rest and left them needing a victory against the former leaders in order to sew up the title with three games left to play.
A solitary goal from Chantelle Gallagher, scored from the penalty spot in the dying minutes, confirmed Stoke as Champions and they went on to round off the season by stretching their winning run to 17 matches in total and finishing up with a fifteen point margin over runners-up Leicester City.
Just for good measure, following hard earned wins over Radcliffe Olympic and Rotherham Utd in the previous rounds, Stoke lifted the League Cup following an 8-4 victory over Leafield Athletic in the Final and also won the Staffordshire County Cup with a win over their own reserve team.
Stoke are jointly managed by Andrew Frost and Duncan Gilchrist, with Andy O'Connor as first team coach. Laura Garside has had an excellent season in front of goal, ending up as the league's leading goalscorer with a tally of 24 goals to her name, while Becki Knight, Chantelle Gallagher and Dawn Mallett were also regularly amongst the goals. Chantelle Gallagher won the league's Player of the Season award and Leading Goalkeeper went to Alice Langstone, who conceded only nine goals all season.
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