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FC Reedswood have completed their first season in the Premier League and did so on a winning note, beating Steel City Wanderers 4-1 in their Midlands Division One clash.
We talked to Reedswood midfielder Becki Knight, who admitted that it has been a tough baptism for her side this season but is confident that they can build on this and be a stronger outfit next time around:
All in all a 4-1 win is a very good end to a season, how well did the team play on the day?
It was a good end to the season. It's been a turbulent season for the club with four managers in all, including interim managers, so it was nice to end it on a positive note. We were very clinical on the day and took our chances well. I think Steel City will be a little disappointed and the score line probably flattered us - we did ride our luck at times but our young keeper Chloe Perkins had a great debut.
Steel City have been in great form in recent weeks, did you do anything different from the game against Mansfield the previous week?
We had been unfortunate at Mansfield the previous week. We dominated significant periods of the game but couldn't capitalise on our chances. In honesty we didn't really have much of a hangover from the Mansfield game this week as our squad had a bit of a change up; our regular keeper picked up an ankle injury in the week and we had to call upon our Under-18 keeper at short notice. We also welcomed a few players back that had been absent at Mansfield. In terms of performance, we probably didn't play much differently but we converted 80% of our chances and took the chances at the right time in the game.
This has been your first season after promotion, have you been satisfied with the way it has gone?
In terms of the league table? I would have taken that at the start of the season. In reality, I think we could have climbed a few places as we dropped points in several games we shouldn't have. I think any team promoted into this division has to view avoiding relegation as an achievement as I believe we are only the second team to survive in the history of this tier (old combination league). Solihull pulled it off last year but required the help of a team folding and Radcliffe getting docked points. So I think you have to view it as a successful season. Outside of the First Team, Chair Kelly Williams has done extremely well to expand the club with the addition of a reserve team and a youth section. This is imperative for the survival of the first team at higher levels - in fact, five of the squad on Sunday have emerged through the under 18 and reserve teams, so we are already reaping the rewards.
How has the team found the step up to Premier League this season?
I think we've coped very well and we've rarely been outplayed in matches. I think we've learnt about the fine margins at this level - a few missed chances or a poor goal conceded and then you've lost a match!
So what do you feel the team needs to do in order to challenge for a higher place next year?
I think the change in management throughout the season has probably contributed to us not achieving our potential but I have no doubts that, with some consistency next season, we'll finish a lot higher up the table. We have an established reserve and under 18 team that feeds well into the first team and that can only grow over the years. We currently have an interim Manager in place in Andy Payne who steered our under 18s to their league championship undefeated, I'm hoping he'll stay on with the first team for next season as he has united the group and we've ended the season in good form. I am confident he has what it takes to push the squad on again.
Next season you should have the chance to play Wolves in the league, presumably the team will be looking forward to that prospect?
Absolutely - who doesn't love a derby match? However I am under no illusion that they are probably favourites to win the league. They'll be strong and well organised, I guess the key to their success is whether they can keep hold of their players.
Overall, would you say that the FA Cup run was the highlight of the season?
The FA Cup run was great! Realistically, we probably let ourselves down at Bradford on the day, but they were a good side. For me personally, survival in the league was always the ultimate aim and we have achieved that. I think we are in a good position to consolidate this and kick on next year and a top five finish is realistic. But I wouldn't turn down another FA Cup run next year, that's for sure!
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