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Women's Football News
Hull City have managed to gain promotion this season after losing out by one goal last season, which was very hard for the team to take, but they have come back stronger this year and got their rewards.
After speaking with manager Rachel Gay, some of the key factors to the team's success this year has been the commitment and effort from everyone in the squad and behind the scenes.
"In previous years we have had coaches come and go," said Rachel, "but this season we have had a very dedicated, knowledgeable and passionate head coach in Danny Johnson, who has really got the players playing some good football. A very tough pre-season was well received by the players and also the new signings of goalkeeper Donna Nickolay, defender Megan Render and forward thinking midfielders in Katie Thompson and Sarah Owen were outstanding additions to the squad."
The season didn't start the best for the team who were favourites to go up, after losing twice in the space of five days against York City in early September, but since then, the team really came into their own and went through the remainder of the season unbeaten, but it wasn't all plain sailing for the Tigers as the club had been put through a lot this year, but this brought us even more togetherness, stronger and determined as a whole at the club. The manager's motto was "do the talking on the pitch and the rest will speak for itself" and that showed with a league record of 2 lost, 1 drawn and scoring more than 70 goals.
Manager Rachel Gay has ten years experience in management and knows how to get the best out of her players and is well respected in the area. Her professionalism is second to none and the club would not be where it is today without her. She has a great rapport with all at the club and she is incredibly proud of everyone involved and believes Hull now have the best backroom staff to take this club further and that the club's atmosphere is at an all time high and feels like an extended family and is looking forward to the new chapter ahead: "It was very frustrating for myself when the club was pulled through an unnecessary situation, but I am very proud of everyone on how they dealt with it and showed real professionalism and great attitude and just did the talking on the pitch. We have now moved on from that and learnt lessons and it made us all stronger and more together. It's a great club to be a part of.
"Just before Christmas, two tough trips away to Whitley Bay and Barnsley were the games that stick out in the mind, both games needed late crucial goals to take all three points and keep the league in our own hands. Our top goalscorer Rebecca Beech, who knocks in over 40 goals a season, was approached by WSL2 club Durham and she could not turn down that opportunity, but luckily for us we had a young striker waiting in the wings in Tonya Wild-Storr, who turned 16 in January and she stepped into the goalscoring boots of Beech with six goals on her debut for the first team and has continued to average out two goals a game since then. Towards the back end of the season it was a two horse race between Brighouse and Hull City and when the teams met in March it was a real six-pointer. That second half performance from Hull City was outstanding, everyone put their bodies on the line and we came out well deserved winners on the day, with Jo Symington scoring a couple of great goals to seal the victory. With five games remaining, the team were determined not to let it slip out of their hands again like last season and continued to pick up three points on offer each week.
"For the game against Wakefield away, we knew that we only needed a point to secure that top spot as our goal difference was far superior to anyone else in the league, but we went on and won that game 6-1 and we did a lot of celebrating afterwards. We still have Hessle Town left to play in our final league game of the season, so to win the league with a game to spare is a great achievement. We are also in the semi final of the League Cup, so we are certainly now looking for the double, naturally our main priority this year was promotion to the Women's Premier League, but to also win the league cup would be the icing on the cake. This year we also made it through to the Second Round proper of the FA Cup, which is the furthest the club has ever gone, beating two teams in the Premier League to get to that stage, which proves that we can take on higher division clubs.
"As regards to standout players this season, I truly believe that everyone who has put on the City kit has played a part in our most successful season to date, but the addition of Donna Nickolay in goal has been pivotal in our achievements, it is a specialised position and she has really made a difference to the team this year. Our defence has been very well organised and with our captain Charley McNamara playing just in front, she has been an absolute rock, breaking up the opposition play and the just doing the simple things right, she has been a real leader. We made Jo Symington our vice captain a few months into the season and she has also grown in confidence and has been so consistent in her performances. Likewise, Sarah Owen, our new signing this year, she is a very experienced and professional player and all the younger players have certainly had someone to look up to. Zoe Mitchell and Tonya Wild-Storr up front, in the absence of Beech have really made a big impact, they have scored some fantastic goals and are lightning fast up front, combining very well for the last part of the season, but it truly has been a squad effort.
"Not only was our first team successful, we set up a Development team, which turned out a success as it certainly has done its job on bringing young talent through and may it continue. We now look forward to moving up to the Premier League and will ensure that we have a good pre-season under our belt and are fully prepared for the challenge ahead."
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