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Women's Football News
Queen's Park Rangers will be in the top flight next season after winning the South East Combination title at the first attempt following relegation a year ago.
Stacey Sowden scored both goals in Rangers' title clinching 2-1 win over Luton Town on Sunday and the prolific striker told Women's Soccer Scene about her joy at winning the league and confidence ahead of next season:
Congratulations on winning the league, how hard a battle has it been to get there?
It's been a hard fought season and we always knew we would have to perform to the best of our abilities to succeed and gain promotion back to the Premier League. We've had players injured and unavailable for certain games but we've all been confident in the strength and depth in the squad and everyone has battled equally well.
It has been a virtual two horse race with C & K Basildon, but you nearly always had to catch up games in hand on them. Does that make winning the title an even better achievement?
Winning the title is an excellent acheivement in itself. C & K Basildon are a good side, but we always had a close eye on their results and knew we had to better them to win the league. Losing to them in the cup semi final was a blow so winning the league by a point from them was definitely satisfying.
Looking back on the season, do you think the two draws with C & K turned out to be the two critical results?
Yes i do. The two league games against them were the biggest challenges. We were always confident we could take points off other teams, we just had to be sure not to slip up against Basildon. We had chances that would have won us the games, especially at their place, but the draw was good enough and promotion was still achievable at that point.
Were there any other significant moments during the season, goals or saves you can look back on as being really important?
Our away game to Norwich was key. We knew we had to go there and win and that it would be a different game to when we won comfortably 5-0 at home. At 1-1 after 80 minutes, you could see the nerves kicking in amongst our players and staff as we needed all three points. When Leah Jones put us 2-1 up with a well taken free kick, you could see how much it meant to us all. It was probably the most celebrated goal of the season.
Were there nerves amongst the team before the final match with Luton?
Most definitely! Again we had beaten them comfortably at home but looking at their results prior to our game, we knew they were a better side that what we had previously experienced. The fact we went 1-0 down just added to the nerves but we all remained professional and I was confident we would get the win.
How was that feeling when the final whistle went and you knew the title was yours?
To be honest, I think everyone was more relieved than anything. It took a few minutes for the realisation of what we had just achieved to settle in. But we made hard work of our final game and credit to Luton, we had to fight until the very last minute. Once we had been awarded with the winners trophy and it all became real, everyone was buzzing.
Is there anyone at the club (on or off the pitch) that you feel deserves particular credit in your success, maybe someone who is often unsung?
Everyone at the club, players and staff played an equally vital role throughout the season. It would be hard to pinpoint one person that did more than anyone else. But the support given from the club in terms of physiotherapists, sports scientists, psychologists and nutritionists was immense and deserves a lot of credit. Furthermore, the coaching and management staff have been excellent. Every player knows where they stand and although nervous and uptight at times, they have always given credit, support and praise where it's due.
Are you confident that the club can build on this success and go on to more success in the future?
Of course. I think any player or club that doesn't feel they can progress further should give up with football altogether to be honest. We have shown this season how hard we can work and how determined we are to succeed, so there is no need for anything to change next year. The competition will be tough but we will be ready to put up a fight.
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