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Hull City took themselves one step closer towards the Northern Division One title with a 1-0 victory away to Chester-le-Street Town on Sunday.
We talked to Hull defender Natasha Cooke, who praised her team for the result and their ability to win close matches this season, but is not getting carried away as they close in on the title:
WSS: That was another hard fought win for you on Sunday against a team in form, was the game as tough as the 1-0 scoreline suggests?
NC: Yes I would say the game was tough as Chester-le-Street has always been a tough place to go and get a result. They are a very physical team which we were fantastic at matching last week but they made it very difficult for us in the second half and as the time was ticking, I must admit I was getting very worried as we just couldn't break them down.
WSS: That is the fifth time you have won 1-0 in the league this season, is that proof of the determination and spirit of the team, that you have won so many close matches?
NC: Most definitely! I think it shows our desire to keep on fighting right until the end and not settling for a draw. This season we are showing great determination to win a game which is something we lacked last season, I believe we know how to win ugly and are confident that if we remain patient we will score. Considering the nerves and anxiety towards the game with it only being 1-0, when that final whistle blows it makes everything worthwhile and feel like you have just won a cup final which Is what every game has been this season.
WSS: The win keeps you five points ahead and you have five matches to play, is it a case of keeping your nerve over the last few matches?
NC: We just need to keep focusing on us, we are well aware Brighouse are right behind us as well as Liverpool, so we just need to keep winning until we are mathematically clear. The most important thing we can do is to just keep winning.
WSS: Last season you did well in the league and finished third, did you always feel the team was capable of going all the way this time around?
NC: During pre-season I believed we strengthened very well and brought in some great additions to the squad. I always knew that we had a great squad and were capable of getting promoted but these past few games for me have confirmed that we are capable as our performances have been true championship performances.
WSS: This week you play away to Crewe Alexandra who have done well themselves this season, what kind of match are you anticipating there?
NC: Well, last time we played them at home they scored an early goal and sat back and defended, which we struggled to break down, so I anticipate it will be pretty much of the same. We are finding now that the teams we are coming up against are sitting back and defending which make it tough for us. However, with the coaching staff and the analysis guys, they all do an extremely great job in preparing us the best they can to go and get a result.
WSS: No game is easy of course but you then take on title rivals Brighouse the following Sunday, would you say that is the most important of the games you have left?
NC: To be honest, all of the games are important and I always said that the Chester-le-Street game would be just as important. Against Brighouse we must play the game rather than the occasion. But yes of course it will be a big game, but we won't prepare any different to how we would prepare against any other team, any 11 players you put in front of us, we go out with the same commitment and effort.
WSS: If you do win the title, how big an achievement would it be for your club and would it give a huge boost to women's football in the area?
NC: It would be a massive achievement to the club considering how hard the staff and players have worked this season to ensure we give ourselves the best chance of promotion. I would like to think it would give the women's game a boost in the area as I feel it deserves it.
Our thanks to Natasha!
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