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St Nicholas are through to the last sixteen of the Premier League Plate after running out 7-2 winners over Shanklin in their tie on Sunday.
We talked to St Nicholas full back Sophie Morgan, who was one of her team's goalscorers against Shanklin, and she is more than satisfied with the team's handling of a tough start to the season as well as looking to brighter times for their young side:
WSS: Congratulations on your cup win on Sunday, do you think the team played as well as the scoreline suggests?
SM: Thank you! Yes I do, it's been a long time coming! As a team we are very new to each other and Sunday really showed us finally putting everything we've worked on at training over the last couple of months into practice and showed what we are capable of.
WSS: Was the team determined before the game to make up for your SSE Women's FA Cup defeat to Shanklin the previous Sunday?
SM: Yes, we have travelled twice over to Shanklin now, in the league and in the FA Cup and both times we have travelled with ten players - in the FA Cup match we went down to nine after twenty minutes due to an injury. On both occasions we were unlucky not to walk away with a win. So for us, on Sunday, both teams having only ten players meant a level playing field and as a team we were more than determined to walk away with not just a win, but a good performance to go with it.
WSS: There have been a lot of squad changes during the summer and the squad itself is a lot younger this season, are you excited about the quality of players that have joined?
SM: Of course it's very exciting, the team has had quite a few changes over the summer and adding such young players in our squad is only going to benefit us in the future. The young ones coming in have been great, they have a real hunger for the game and we're lucky that our more experienced players in the team are still quite young but have had a lot of playing experience, which means we are on hand to help and support the younger players coming through. I love having a younger squad, I feel all being so close in age is probably what helps us to gel so well. John [Seymour] decided it was quality he wanted this season rather than quantity, which some could argue hasn't worked so well for us with being thin on numbers at times, but he is actively looking to add to the squad as long as it is the right players than can improve us and maintain the team's spirit that has been created. As a squad, we couldn't be happier and we definitely have the quality and desire to try to achieve something together as a team.
WSS: You have had a very hard start in the league, playing Chichester, Plymouth and Larkhall twice, but do you think the team generally did well in those games?
SM: Overall yes, Chichester - we got what we deserved especially in the first half, they turned up that day and we didn't! Even though it was a vastly improved second half, we would be silly to say we deserved anything other than a loss in that game. However in the other games I feel we have been unlucky, staying in games for long periods and due to unfortunately being low on numbers we haven't been able to play how we've wanted to, but have shown great potential and our work rate, spirit and commitment could not be questioned. The one game we have managed to have a full squad with subs was our game against Larkhall at home and I think that game showed how well we can play as a team.
WSS: How big a confidence boost to the team was that 3-0 win over Larkhall?
SM: Honestly a massive one, Larkhall can be a strong team and after losing to them away in our first game of the season, winning at home with a full squad was a massive boost for us as a team. I think it was a realisation of what potential we have as a team and just what we needed.
WSS: You have no game this week but return to action next Sunday with a short trip to Cheltenham Town, how much is the team looking forward to that one?
SM: The squad are very excited, this year there is a real buz around the team and we look forward to every game. Maybe it's because we've had such a tough start, that it has made us all closer but we will going with the intention of coming away with the three points. It's a good chance for us to put into practice what we work on in training and we are excited to get back to league games after a few cup ties. Playing regularly is key to us so it's not great to have a week's break although there is the benefit that our injured players will have an extra week to recover and will be fit and raring to go. We are already looking ahead and preparing for Cheltenham as we know it will be a tough game, as all the games are in this league, but it is a match we always look forward to as it is played like a local derby with both teams having players that know each other quite well and I know we will be giving it everything on the day to try and achieve a positive result, as I'm sure they will.
WSS: What do you think, realistically, would be a good season for St Nicholas?
SM: First of all, staying in the league - that's our first goal. Next for us, we would be happy to finish mid to higher end of the table. We are building for the future and are a very ambitious team, we are determined to play at the highest level we can so who knows what's on the cards!
Our thanks to Sophie!
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