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It has been an incredible season for AUWFC, originally placed in Division Two East, however due to a team drop out were offered the chance to play in the top division of the Thames Valley Counties League and it proved to be worthwhile as the team went their first six games without conceding a goal and maintained an 100% record until April, where a very under par performance and missing players helped Tilehurst run away with a well deserved 3-1 win, despite the Panthers only having ten players for 60 minutes. This wasn't the first scare of the season, this came on 11th March in the League Cup semi final as Division Two Taplow United found themselves 4-1 up after 50 minutes at the Memorial Ground in Taplow, what happened after that will probably be the definition to most supporters as to why this was the best game of the season. Abingdon scored seven times in the last 30 minutes of the game to complete an 8-4 comeback and progress through to the Final. It wasn't the best performance as a whole game but the way in which the players picked themselves up after going 4-1 down was a true credit to the desire and passion the players have.
There were a few important results throughout the season but the most important ones will be the league wins over title challengers Woodstock Town, Barton United and Eversley & California. The most impacting fixture of the season was the 3-1 loss to Tilehurst for several reasons, it showed that AUWFC weren't invincible and the players would need to pick themselves up quickly as that game was the start of a nine games in six weeks schedule which included two cup finals. The team responded immediately with a 9-0 midweek win over Chinnor, then going on to beat Buckingham 10-0 in the Berks & Bucks Junior County Cup Final. AUWFC tied up the title with a 9-0 win against Headington, with two games to spare. The treble was then completed on the last day of the season with a very good performance on a hot day in the League Cup Final, scoring six without reply. In total Abingdon have played 28 games winning 27, scoring 167 with only 18 conceded.
The management team for consisted of four members, Adam Wood (Manager), Jay Harriott (Assistant Manager), James and Megan Thorpe (Coaches), however the four have said on several occasions that it is very much a management team rather than a management hierarchy. There will be some changes in the 2018-19 season as unfortunately Jay Harriott has left the club due to personal and work commitments and we would like to thank him massively for his contribution as one of the founders of AUWFC.
The captain is attacking midfielder Abbie Smith and vice captain is holding midfielder Nell Boxall. Abbie was unable to play in the League Cup Final so Nell actually picked up the league and league cup trophy but both players have been shining examples of great captains.
"We are graced with several good attackers which has also meant that we have rotated a lot of our front options," Adam Wood told Women's Soccer Scene. "That being said, Kiera Isaac managed 35 goals in 25 games and Amy Pipe also managed 34 in 22, whilst the remainder were shared between 16 different goalscorers".
The player of the season awards went to Amy Chivers and Nell Boxall who both proved pinnacle in holding/central midfield to the results we have delivered this season. But a special mention should also go to the defence (namely, Gina Ianniello-Phillips, Beth Dunbabin, Steph Carrick, Marisa Chamberlain, Tee Koudoua, Charlie Deeley and Kelly Talbot as the main options) and goalkeeper Sophie Kirby who kept 17 clean sheets in total this season.
"As far as a ‘massive' involvement off the pitch goes, it has to be the whole of Abingdon United FC, the committee, bar staff, the supporters and the men's teams who have showed us tremendous support this season and have really taken the team into the club and made them feel a part of it. A particular thank you to Debbie and John Blackmore who both work tirelessly for the club behind the scenes and we hope we have done them proud. Also to Paul Chamberlain, Lauren Crawley and 'Jamo' for their awesome photography this season.
"We are very grateful to all the player sponsors that have helped them cover their season costs but the biggest thank you goes to Carabao our main sponsor, they have invested money for kit and time/publicity into AUWFC without them we wouldn't have happened. They also arranged for us to attend a training day with Chelsea Ladies at Cobham which will be a memory forever in the players mental scrapbooks.
"AUWFC thrive in trying to get things right off the pitch too by creating a family-friendly culture but a club that wants to develop and progress. In March 2018 we announced a partnership with Abingdon Youth, primarily to support the promotion of girls football in the area and also to help create a pathway and advice function for ladies football. This includes player appearances and also delivering/assisting coaching sessions to AYFC SSE Wildcats, which now has over 30 girls aged 5-11 playing football for fun on a weekly basis! A few of the girls were also mascots for our League Cup Final and the parents/children are regular attendees to our games. It's safe to say those young girls are probably some of our biggest fans!"
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