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Women's Football News
Larkhall Athletic have got off to a good start in South West Division One, with two wins in their opening three matches.
On Wednesday night they beat local rivals St Nicholas 3-1 to move themselves into fourth place in the table.
We talked to Larks goalkeeper Nicki O'Connell who praised the team's performance in beating St Nicholas as well as setting her sights higher than last season's fourth placed finish:
WSS: How important was it to bounce back on Wednesday from the defeat to Chichester City?
NOC: I think it was very important that we bounced back the way we did. After the performance we put in against Chichester and didn't get anything from the game it was disappointing, but I think it was vital that we did get a victory and put in a performance like we did. We were unfortunate on Sunday with how the game went but getting those three points on Wednesday night put smiles back on the girls' faces and us back to winning ways.
WSS: St Nicholas defended very well for a long time, was it starting to look as though the goal wouldn't come?
NOC: They did and with only eleven players they did fight throughout. It felt like it was going to be one of those games where it just wouldn't come off for us. I think it is fair to say that we had the majority of the possession in both halves but just couldn't find the final ball to get our forward players in on goal. Once we did get that breakthrough though, the girls gained confidence and it was just what we needed.
WSS: Did you think it would take a special strike to break the deadlock, which Kate German produced?
NOC: After how the game was going it was definitely getting that way. As I mentioned, our final ball wasn't quite clinical enough and the keeper was very quick off of her line to stop the quick breaks. Michelle Munro had a similar shot saved in the first half and it didn't seem like it was going to be our day. But fortunately, Kate did produce a quality goal which gave us the breakthrough. It almost made us relax a bit once we had the lead and I think as soon as we had one goal we knew we would be able to get more.
WSS: You have no game on Sunday but you return next week with a trip to Cheltenham Town, what sort of game are you expecting there?
NOC: As with every game, we will go there wanting to win. We do know however that it will be a tough fixture and Cheltenham are never easy to go to. They have a good squad and it will be another challenging game for us.
WSS: After being amongst the leaders for almost all of last season, how determined is the team to improve on that this time around?
NOC: I think everyone will say that we want to improve on last season. We were leaders of the league for the majority of the season and ended in fourth, I think it was a few 1-0 losses towards the end that was our downfall. We believe we have the talent amongst us to compete again. We have added players in almost every position over the pitch to cover for injuries and when people can't play. Ultimately we want to be there or thereabouts at the end of the season and aim to improve on our final league position.
WSS: You have also had a change of manager during the summer, how smooth has the transition been?
NOC: It's been a pretty smooth transition in which Paul [Blenkinsopp] has come in and placed his own stamp on the team. He has told each and every one of us what he expects and how it will work. We have a large squad and I think from our results and performances so far, it has shown what we can do and that it is working. Paul has a number of years' experience in the women's game and knows how it works; we have also added Ben Merry to assist with coaching and with the both of them we are hoping for a successful campaign.
WSS: How big an achievement would it be for a club like Larkhall if you could win promotion this season?
NOC: It would be a massive achievement for all those involved at the club. We work extremely hard with what we have and are always trying to improve. We will see how the season goes and go to each game with the desire and passion to win and we can only see what happens.
Our thanks to Nicki!
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