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Women's Football News
In one of the tightest Northern Combination title battles for years, Huddersfield Town stepped up their challenge with a 5-1 victory over Liverpool Feds on Sunday.
Huddersfield captain Kate Mallin, who has been with the club since she was 10 years old and is still only 24, spoke to us about the title race as well as the main reason behind the club's improvement this season:
Firstly, how good was it just to be playing a league game again?
We have been playing games, we had two very good FA Cup games first against Chorley from our division and then going out to Coventry City Ladies from FA Women's Premier league South in an entertaining game. We've also played three County Cup games, eventually going out to Sheffield FC Ladies who lead the Premier League North but yes, it has been three months since our last league game and we were happy and excited to get back to league action.
5-1 against one of your rivals was a great result, just how good was the team performance?
To be honest we did not play well in the first half. We created a number of half chances but didn't pass well as a team. In the second half we were much better and really started to cut through. Our star striker Emily Heckler scored a fantastic solo goal to put us ahead and then a second one shortly after that really settled us down.
Can you really believe how wide open the title race is this season?
Not really, but this is our third season in this division since gaining promotion from the North East Regional League and it's always been the case that anyone can beat anyone on any given day. We have 6 or 7 strong teams in the division this season and they are all capable of putting in some very good performances.
As things stand, you have dropped less points than any other team in the league right now, do you think that is significant?
Obviously we have games in hand and would really prefer to have the points in the bag. We have dropped fewer points than the others and have been reasonably consistent but we have to keep our focus for the remaining games.
Can you see the title race going all the way to the final match(es)?
Let's hope not! When we gained promotion three years ago it came down to the final game and having to win it. My mum spent the second half of that game in the car as she couldn't bear to watch!
In each of the last two seasons you have finished sixth, is there any particular reason for the improvement in results this season?
We gained a couple of new players in the summer and have also seen some of our juniors progress through to the first team. The major change though is really the new young coaching team that took over last summer. We advertised for coaches as our manager of 12 seasons, Mickey Booth wanted to take a more relaxed role within the club. Fortunately we gained Glen Preston as manager, together with his assistants Fraser Green and Ashley Vickers and they have done a fantastic job in motivating us and changing our tactics as required.
This week you take on another of the challengers in Middlesbrough, can you see another tough game this week?
Yes, Middlesbrough are a very tough team to beat. We lost on three occasions to them last season and although we are playing better football now, it will definitely be a difficult game to win. We also play them away in two weeks and therefore nothing will be easy.
If Huddersfield can pull it off and win the league, how big an achievement would it be for the club?
If we could gain promotion it would be a great achievement for everyone who works so hard within the club. We have a great committee and a fantastic playing surface and facilities at Shelley FC. It's a long time since the first team were at that level and we feel that we have the players and coaching staff to hold our own if we can make it, fingers crossed.
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