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Women's Football News
Brislington are coming to the end of their first season in the FA Women's Premier League following promotion and Sunday's 5-4 victory over Maidenhead Utd has guaranteed them a top half finish in South West Division One.
We talked to Brislington defender Chloe Rogers who, overall, is very satisfied with the way things have gone for the club during the campaign and setting her sights on building on this next season:
WSS: You picked up your fourth away win of the season on Sunday but was the game as good as the scoreline suggests?
CR: As a team we got off to the perfect start, scoring a well put together team goal quickly. Three goals consecutively away from home put us in a comfortable position. However, playing extra time in a very competitive cup final on Wednesday caused many to have tired legs. Maidenhead are a very strong team with pace up top so they could send long passes with a small amount of time on the ball. The second half was very end-to-end with slightly scrappy moments. It would have been a good game to watch.
WSS: The win means that you are guaranteed a top half place in your first season in the league, do you think that is a satisfactory season overall?
CR: Overall as a team, we all discussed that staying in this league would be rewarding enough and was our main goal. We have seen many teams come up from the leagues below and struggle to field teams to commute to away games and even commitment to home games. We were lucky to have a dedicated team with one goal of staying up. Being in the top half was successful and very satisfying for a small underrated club at times. As a club we have discussed some games we have been disappointed in, where we have dropped points we shouldn't have and have learned big lessons from that this season. The club's main aims were to stay in the league, progress, learn lessons and grow as a club. This season everyone involved has been amazing and it has been a real joy to see how far we have progressed.
WSS: How big a step up have you found it since the team won the league below last season?
CR: It is a massive jump, the main step up is fitness and game intelligence. Teams such as Chichester and Plymouth are real pacesetters in a league like this. Watching them before a game and after, it just shows the professional atmosphere they have as a club. They all know the next pass and if that's not on, they know the ‘Plan B'. As a club we are still developing so it was a learning curve this season and many notes were taken in games from which people may have thought that we walked away with our tails between our legs. There were times when there was an upsetting atmosphere when we were away, consecutively travelling back with nothing but injuries. However as a club it was rewarding playing at this level and learning, even from a loss.
WSS: What would you say has been the highlight of your season?
CR: There are many highlights and moments we have all enjoyed this season, such as the away trip to Shanklin; staying overnight developed our team atmosphere and was our second away win in six matches, boosting team morale. A highlight everyone involved in enjoyed, I would say is the recent Somerset Senior Women's Cup Final against Keynsham. A midweek night match has always got an atmosphere but when all that separates you is a roundabout, it means a lot more!! A lot of other people will expect a big derby game. However any game, especially a cup final, is a big game and you want nothing but a win. Coming back from behind three times was an amazing feeling and we did believe we felt it should have gone to penalties. We matched equally, as two teams on the pitch and as a club were proud of our performances all around from the players on the pitch to the players who played previous games, the managers, the secretary, the parents and friends, it was good to get that far in the competition again after missing out last year, proving that we can still compete in the league and in cups. We also reached the furthest we ever have in the SSE Women's FA Cup, missing out on the next step by losing to a team a league above.
WSS: This week you play your final game at home to Basingstoke, how nice would it be to finish off on a winning note and reach 30 points?
CR: Jason (Kirby) has said recently that 30 points will be a great way to end the season and all the girls are excited to reach that. Our home pitch suits our type of playing. Basingstoke will be a hard game and we are excited for it. We want to finish on a winning note and get as many points as possible. It would be a great feeling to reach the landmark at our home pitch.
WSS: The team has been amongst the goals this season, how important have the likes of Polly Wardle and Kim Maggs been, amongst others, as regulars on the scoresheet?
CR: There have been many different players on the scoresheet - each have their own unique way and timing of scoring. Polly and Kim you can count on for scoring exceptional goals from distance or finding the right holes to sneak into behind the defenders as well as assisting their team mates. . Georgia Vandries has a way of being a ‘super sub' and coming on and changing the whole game. Amy Jefferies has unbelievable pace to get in behind, and Sophie Whelan and Zoe Gunter have a way with free kicks. As a team it is very helpful to have regulars who you can count on with how often team set ups can change. Next season however we will be looking to scoring a lot more and trying to keep the goal difference to a positive.
WSS: Overall, the team is still a young one, how confident are you that you can build on your experiences this season and catch up with the top teams in the division?
CR: Our team's average age is approximately 21 - probably one of the youngest, if not the youngest in the league. Each league we have competed in we have learnt and grown. This season we have already put in place a serious of changes for next, which everybody is looking forward to. Experiencing how the top teams play in this league is an aim for us to reach, next year we would like to compete a lot higher and will aim for being above sixth with a positive goal difference. Our confidence will be a lot higher and we are looking to build as a team with possible new faces coming along. Individually, as players we have learnt new things and are excited for the next chapter.
Our thanks to Chloe!
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