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After having been beaten in each of their opening three league games of the new season, Stockport County got themselves off the mark on Sunday with a 1-0 victory over Norton & Stockton Ancients in Northern Division One on Sunday.
Jo Blodgett scored the only goal of the game for Stockport and we talked to the Canadian-born midfielder, who admitted that it was the best the team have played to date and confident that the team can starting moving up the table:
WSS: Congratulations on beating Norton & Stockton Ancients on Sunday, how big a relief was it to get your first victory of the season?
JB: It always feels good to win. Obviously we would have liked it to come sooner, but we are a good team and when we play together the results will come. We were focused on our jobs and taking care of our responsibilities. When we do that, and don't worry about what everyone else is doing, then we play better. More confident. That has been lacking in our first few games, but we had it on Sunday, and hope to keep it the rest of the year.
WSS: Was it tense during the later stages of the game when you were one goal ahead, did you have to withstand any pressure?
JB: All close games are tense. It would have been nice to bury a few more of our chances earlier on in the game to have a more comfortable lead. We kept our calm, played hard to the final whistle and our keeper, Lauren Blackett, came up with a solid save in the last few minutes to preserve the win.
WSS: Are you confident that the team can build on the victory and move themselves up the table?
JB: I'm confident that if we play like we can, like we did against Norton, that we can make a run. It was our best performance of the season so it will be important to keep the same intensity and energy going forward. There are a lot of quality teams in the league, but when we are in form, and play together, we can get results.
WSS: This week though you have a tough assignment when you play away to Leeds Ladies, who have just gone top of the table. How much are the team looking forward to the challenge, will they be more confident of getting a good result?
JB: It will be a good test against Leeds. If we play as a unit like we did last week against Norton & Stockton Ancients, then it will be a good battle. We know what we have to do to be successful; it's just a matter of execution. It won't be easy but that's what makes football fun!
WSS: Do you think that the team has improved since the first game of the season?
JB: Yes, we are definitely improving each game. Just from becoming more familiar with each other's tendencies and more comfortable in our system. We just need to start executing consistency now each week.
WSS: Are you finding things different over here from playing in Canada?
JB: Quite different! I think I have finally managed to use the word 'football' instead of 'soccer' on a regular basis now. The biggest difference is the vocabulary - football instead of soccer, football boots instead of cleats, dead leg instead of Charley Horse. On the field, football is football - it doesn't matter where you are from. That's the beauty of the game.
WSS: Which players have been playing well for the team this season?
JB: We've had some really strong performances defensively. Our keeper, Dee Tomkins, has been just excellent and bailed us out on a number of occasions. She made two great stops on two penalty attempts against Morecambe and in my opinion, has been our best player on the pitch so far this season. Our two centre backs, Key and Gabby, have also been extremely reliable and consistent. They're both quick and strong and go in hard to each tackle they make, whether on the ground or in the air.
Our thanks to Jo!
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