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Women's Football News
Actonians Ladies have competed very well so far this season in a strong looking FAWPL South East Division One and on Sunday, the club reached its first major Cup semi final when beating Radcliffe Olympic 3-0 in the Premier League Plate.
We talked to Actonians captain Catherine Murphy, who expressed her delight at the victory over Radcliffe as well as highlighting the club's determination to build on its progress in the future:
WSS: Congratulations, Catherine, on an excellent win on Sunday, how does it feel to be in the semi finals of the Premier League Plate?
CM: Thank you! It feels great, it's nice to be in the final stages in a cup of such high standards, and the whole team are really excited.
WSS: Did you feel it was a deserved result on the day against Radcliffe Olympic?
CM: Yes, definitely. Being in a different league, we've never played Radcliffe Olympic before, but we knew that they were doing well in the Midlands league and so expected a tough match. It proved that way, and was an even contest but over the course of the 90 minutes we created more chances and I think thoroughly deserved the win.
WSS: At the time of asking, the draw for the semi finals is not known, do you have any preferences in the draw?
CM: Apart from Luton, we haven't played against any of the other teams in the draw, but we know that all the teams that have got to this stage are going to be good opposition so we don't have any real preferences. From a personal point of view I would quite like to test myself against one of the teams we haven't played yet, although I am hoping if we draw Huddersfield it's at home! [Actonians have subsequently been drawn away to Huddersfield]
WSS: Enfield Town - from the same division as yourselves - made the Final of the same competition last season, can you use their cup run as an inspiration?
CM: Yes - I think that it shows that one of the teams from Division One can make the final - hopefully we can go one stage better than them and win the whole competition!
WSS: Actonians are also having a very good season in the league, has the team exceeded your expectations so far?
CM: Thank you - yes, so far we're really pleased with how the season has gone. We started last year well so we knew we had the potential to do well at this level, but we had a disappointing second half to the season, which wasn't helped by injuries to our small squad. Now we've got a full season under our belts in the Women's Premier League, we've learned how to compete at this level better. We've also made some good new signings to increase the size and competition within the squad so hopefully we can continue our good form right to the end of the season.
WSS: This week it's back to the league and a trip to Lowestoft Town, presumably the aim will be for three points to keep pace with the leading sides?
CM: Yes - we go into every game aiming for three points and hope to keep the pressure up on those at the top of the league. We had a couple of good games against Lowestoft last year, and I don't think their league position reflects the talent in their squad so we know we will have to prepare and play well if we want to win.
WSS: Based on what you have seen so far, who do you think the realistic contenders for the South East Division One title will be?
CM: What is great about the league this year is that it is so open, so I think there are a number of teams (apart from us of course!) that could win the league. I know they haven't played as many games as other people but based on their results I think Gillingham are a team to watch. AFC Wimbledon and Cambridge have obviously made great starts to the season, and MK Dons have had a couple of good results against us and are always there or thereabouts come the end of the season.
WSS: Looking at the improvement the team has made this season, do you feel that Actonians can go on and reach the Southern Division in the future?
CM: Yes, definitely. Thanks to the commitment of our President Linda Fox, as well as the coaches, players and volunteers the club has really expanded over the last few years - we now have three women's teams and youth teams right down to Under-9 level. This means that we have a much stronger bunch of players coming through and it's easier for us to attract and retain our best players, which isn't always easy when we are competing against sides who have more of a 'name' because of their men's teams. Hopefully we can push on from this and look for promotion over the next couple of years.
Our thanks to Catherine!
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