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Long Crendon are managed by Eric Helmer with Richard Barrett as Coach and Nicole Jacobs as captain. An important member behind the scenes is Vice Chairman Gerald Reilly, who was the driving force behind the team forming in 2019 and has been a constant, hands-on presence throughout the last two seasons. Loved by everyone in and around the team he's been incredibly supportive and is always open to ideas and opportunities to grow women's football.
"We're certainly a team that works as a collective and, by rotating our squad to give everyone playing time, we've seen 18 of our 23 players notch an assist or goal this season so we always know that any one of the team are capable of making the difference for us in a game," secretary Emma Helmer told Women's Soccer Scene.
"In terms of the squad, we've got a fantastic goalkeeping and defensive unit who work so well together and in our 22 competitive games across two seasons, have kept 14 clean sheets and only conceded 12 goals. Our midfield are superb and work so hard to support the team, whether that's shielding the defence, sitting in for the wide players or knitting things together for the forwards. Finally at the sharp end of the pitch we're lucky to have great forward and wide players, all of whom can contribute and this season we've had nine different goalscorers.
"This season's top scorer is Sammie Bignall with 5 goals in 9 games. It's a little contentious as we had a game expunged as part of the restart due to the opposition folding and if you include that in the standings then top scorer shifts to Katie Thorp with 6 goals, so with a couple of games left to play it could all depend on your way of looking at it!
"Our first three games highlighted that it would be a challenging season and although our performances had room for improvement, we secured 2-0 wins against Harefield Ladies (a), Holyport Ladies (h) and Oxford City U23s (a). The Oxford City fixture was our first crossroads result with goalkeeper Lysh Clark keeping us in the game with a massive save during a spell of pressure before we took the lead late in the first half.
"We hit our stride over the next four games, first in securing back to back 5-1 wins against Tower Hill Ladies (a) and Kingsclere Ladies (h) with some wonderful, flowing football which saw 8 different goal scorers so it was certainly a highlight for the squad. We followed that up with consecutive 3-0 wins, one either side of lockdown, against Procision Ladies (h) and Oxford City U23s (h). Once again the Oxford City U23s game was a standout moment as we had to make some fundamental changes to our line up, including forward Michelle Bailey making her goalkeeping debut and putting in a great performance to claim a clean sheet despite the thick fog and icy rain.
"The restart proved to be a nervy affair and we began with a very tight game, away at Kingsclere Ladies. It needed a touch of magic to see us through and Olivia Hall's incredible volley sealed a 1-0 win. A 3-0 win then followed in a reversed fixture against a depleted Procision Ladies team. Our most recent game was last month against Denham Ladies Reserves (h), with a tightly contested match ending 1-1.
"Sadly, we've had a couple of postponements since but with two remaining fixtures we're aiming to finish this stop-start season strongly, hopefully going unbeaten, before we begin preparations for our first season in Division 1. We're very lucky to be able to film our games so, as well as encouraging everyone to follow us on our social media, you can watch our match day highlight round ups and goal of the month competitions on our Twitter!
"After such a successful two seasons, we're expanding our club for the coming season by adding a second team and we want to encourage young women to get involved in organised football so we're looking for players in all positions and every level of experience and ability. The two teams will mean we can provide every player with the opportunity to play at the level that is right for them. Over the summer we'll be hosting taster training sessions for new players to come along and get to know the team and coaches so whether you're an experienced player looking to play at a high standard in Division 1 or someone looking to find a new active hobby, we'd love to welcome you."
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