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Women's Football News
A late winning surge carried Huddersfield Town to the Northern Combination title and promotion by a margin of eight points.
The West Yorkshire side raced clear of the pack after Mossley Hill, Chorley and Stockport County had led for much of the season and secretary David Mallin is in doubt where much of the credit for the team's success lies.
"The big difference for the team this season was the arrival last summer of our new coaching team of Glen Preston as manager and his assistant managers Ashley Vickers and Fraser Green," he said. "We advertised for coaching staff in March/April last year and had quite a number of high quality candidates apply but these three really stood out.
"Glen has been instrumental in changing the way that we play and also trained the girls throughout the season, changing tactics as required. We only have one or two different players to last season and therefore I would say that the new coaching staff has been the major difference."
Huddersfield started the season fairly steadily, winning four and losing two of their opening six league games with some mistakes being costly as the team grew used to the new system they were playing. However as the season progressed, they became stronger but not without the odd hiccup.
"Looking back, the turning point of the season was actually the heavy away defeat to Stockport in late October when we lost 5-0 on their 3G pitch," admitted David. "We had to play them again a week later at home and actually went two down that day, and then came back first to lead 4-2, only for Stockport to claw it back to 4-4. Our top goalscorer Emily Heckler then popped up with a dramatic last minute winner to make the final score 5-4.
"That victory gave the team real belief and apart from one away loss to Mossley Hill at the end of November, we won every league game since and in the last eight straight league games, scored 38 goals and conceded only 6, including home and away wins against both Middlesbrough and Liverpool Feds who, when we played them, were up and challenging for the title.
"The team has remained relatively stable since the first few games with all players contributing to the Championship. Obviously goals win games and Emily Heckler and Kate Mallin have been our leading scorers but we have a very strong midfield and our defence has been excellent, particularly in the second half of the season.
"We are looking forward to competing in the Premier League next season when the challenge will be a new and very different one, but with a little luck we should be able to hold our own."
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