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Women's Football News
Manchester Stingers are celebrating the first promotion in their history after clinching the Division One South title in the North West League last week.
"It's been a great season for us," Stingers striker Sol Taylor told Women's Soccer Scene. "Winning the league and reaching two semi finals has been a fantastic achievement for everyone involved with club. We have a great squad, its big and it's strong. There are players who can play different roles other than their main position.
"Nicola Armstrong was our top goal scorer with a massive 28 goals. We scored, in total, 78 goals over 25 games!"
Manchester Stingers have been close to the promotion positions on a number of occasions and, even though they went all the way this time, they still had some difficulties to overcome. "We have had some injuries to contend with most noticeably our goalkeeper Amanda Lamb, who injured her knee towards the end of the season, and without a regular second choice goalkeeper, the girls have really stepped up in taking turns to play that role," explains Sol. "Fortunately we have a fantastic defence so whoever is goal is well covered!
"I think the main reasons for our success is that we have a young manager in Ally Brown who has taken a group of good individual players and turned us into a team of champions who battle for one another. Even in games where we haven't perhaps played our best football, we've gone on to win and that is down to the hunger and amazing spirit there now is at this club.
"There is a difference in ability within the squad, as there is in all squads, but the winning factor for us is a hard work rate and great team spirit. We don't all need flair players and we do have some of those; but we all had to work together, back each other up when things weren't going our way.
"Individually I think every player has improved technically and mentally and physically. The coaching sessions are well structured and challenging and we regularly have 20+ at training every week - in all weathers, which speaks volumes.
"Towards the end of the season, things got much harder. Obviously losing our keeper Amanda was a massive blow for us but also due to adverse weather, a lot of our games over January and February had been postponed. That meant that we ended up playing five games in ten days right at the end of the season. One of those games was a semi final in Liverpool that went to extra time and penalties, where we lost and went out in a game that really we were on top for. The wind was crazy - the final score was 5-5 and three of their corners went straight in from the kick because of the wind! I remember that feeling after that game, how low everyone was. None of us would want to feel that way again.
"We went on to win our next two league games that we had with only about 48 hours rest between each one. That meant that we only needed two points from our last three games to win the league but a bit of fatigue had set in and we actually lost the first two games of those remaining three. The second was against Ellesmere Port, who were in second place, so a point would have been enough to pinch the title at their ground. Unfortunately it wasn't to be - we conceded two early goals but we pulled one back right at the start of the second half. It was a great second half, we did everything but score.
"This meant the title went to the final game of the season. After Macclesfield Town had sadly disbanded (Ellesmere's final game of the season) we knew we had to beat third placed Mersey Girls. For me this was the best football we played all season. We play a fast paced game, control the tempo of the game and make the pitch big with quick one and two touch football. That final game, we did that at its very best. Mersey Girls are a good side and they were determined not to make this easy for us. The final score was only 1-0, although it could have been much more but their keeper was exceptional.
"We had drawn a big crowd for the game and they kicked every ball with us. The last few minutes of that game seemed to be never ending but when the final whistle blew it was amazing. Not every player could be named in the squad for that game as we have 25 registered but can only have a squad of 16 at anyone game but everyone was involved. The celebrations after with the supporters and the whole team just showed what this win meant to everyone. Every player in this squad deserves that medal and a hand on the trophy we can't wait to receive!
"We now have to take that spirit of ours to the next level as next season we will play in the Premier Division. Our style of football, team work and the ability we have in this squad will stand us in good stead to compete, it will be a challenge but one we are more than equipped to tackle head on. We enjoy our football and we will enjoy playing it at the next level."
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