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Brighouse Town booked their place in the Third Round of the SSE Women's FA Cup for the first time on Sunday with a thrilling 4-3 victory over Long Eaton Utd, before landing a plum home draw against former Cup winners Everton.
We talked to Brighouse defender Kayleigh Bamforth who was understandably delighed with the win and the prospect of playing Everton, whilst also setting her sights on improving the club's league position:
WSS: 4-3 sounds like a very exciting cup tie, what was it like to play in?
KB: It certainly was an exciting game, especially the last couple of minutes with both sides going for the win. At 2-0 up we looked comfortable and probably should have added to our lead but we took our foot off the gas and credit to Long Eaton, they came back at us and went in at half time level. The manager gave us confidence at half time to go on and win the game, we just needed to play at a higher tempo and be aware of our opponents' pace which I think we dealt with quite well on a whole.
WSS: Was it nerve wracking after you had scored what turned out to be the winner?
KB: Jodie (Redgrave) showed nerves of steel and an incredible amount of composure to round the keeper and grab the winner with what was almost the last kick of the game, so I think we only had to hold out for thirty seconds or so. I can just remember the celebrations and having to sprint the full length of the pitch to join in, I was feeling it at that point so thankful we didn't have to endure extra time!
WSS: What a day Jodie Redgrave had by scoring all four goals, was her performance the difference between the teams on the day?
KB: Jodie is an unbelievable player and can influence the game at any point, she was pretty unplayable against Long Eaton but the whole team put a massive amount of effort in to ensure we progressed to the next round!
WSS: Now you will be playing Everton at home in the next round, surely the draw could not have been better for you?
KB: On the coach on the way home, we were talking about the draw and who we'd like to get in the next round, Everton were top of our list, just purely because of how big a club they are and the fact we get a chance to play a WSL side at home. They've finished third a couple of times now and have just missed out on promotion which I'm sure they'll get this time round, It will be a tough game and a few of the girls have mentioned the need for oxygen masks on the sideline!
WSS: How big an occasion is that likely to be for the club and the players?
KB: It's massive, I think just the prestige of the competition and the opponents we are playing has ensured there is a real buzz around the ground, the men's section have congratulated us and are really looking forward to being part of a great day. I'm sure we will get a bit of extra support on the day and hopefully we can play well enough to compete with much higher opposition. It's the furthest we've ever been in the FA Cup and the fact we managed to gain promotion to the FA Women's Premier League has given not just me but the whole group an opportunity to play at a really good standard.
WSS: This week you are back in league action with a trip to Crewe Alexandra, how important a game is this one?
KB: It's just nice to get back to league action, it feels like we haven't played for months given the cup and the Christmas break but we are just looking forward to the game and hopefully we can take our cup form in to the league and start picking up some points. Crewe will be a really difficult game as I'm sure they will be up for it given our similar league position in a very competitive league, I've heard a couple of supporters mention it's a real six pointer and a must win but we will just prepare as well as we can and see what we can pick up from it.
WSS: Has it been difficult stepping up to the Premier League this season after promotion?
KB: I think because we have had quite a few changes and a couple of absentees through work and injuries we haven't been able to build momentum, we have played well in a lot of games and just not picked up the points we feel we've deserved. The big difference is just how close it can be between winning and losing games and a lot of teams will punish mistakes whereas last season we got away with it a bit. We are working really hard to make sure we stay in the division and believe in our ability as a team.
WSS: If you can consolidate in the league this season, are you confident that the club can push on from there in the future?
KB: That's the plan, consolidate this season and look to finish higher up the table next season. It could potentially be my last season so I want to make sure I finish on a high, the group of players we have is more than capable and with a couple of experienced and quality additions we wouldn't be far off turning those 1-0 defeats in to wins!
Our thanks to Kayleigh!
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