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Liverpool Feds produced arguably the result of the day in the FA Women's National League Cup Determining Round when they defeated Nottingham Forest 1-0, with a goal from Ellie Fletcher.
Feds midfielder and stalwart Chantelle Thompson praised her team's determination in the victory against higher division opponents and, in the longer term, insisted that the team is ready to make a serious challenge in Division One North this season:
WSS: Well done on a fantastic win on Sunday, how hard did you have to work for it?
CT: It was a great result against a team who has started really well in the league above. We really worked hard as a team and made it difficult for them to break us down which we was pleased about but that's not to say we didn't have possession and caused them problems because we did. People tend to describe Feds as a really good footballing side etc but I think this year we have added a real gritty side to us.
WSS: Was it nervy during the later stages or were you always confident of holding on to the lead?
CT: I think in the last 15/20 minutes they really did come on to us and applied pressure, but we held it together and stuck to the plan, I can't really remember any clear cut chances.
WSS: This is also your fourth clean sheet in your opening five games, how proud are the team of their defensive record so far?
CT: I'm so proud of the team's defensive record so far, to concede one goal in five games is pretty impressive. It starts from the front all the way to the back and when you have a goalkeeper like Darbo in goal, it gives the whole team confidence.
WSS: This week you play Norton & Stockton Ancients who have a fine scoring record so far but a win could well take you top, is that a big incentive even at this early stage?
CT: We just take each game as it comes and we don't really look at the table, being top after 4/5 games is great but it doesn't really mean anything there is a long way to go in this season. We just concentrate on the next opposition each weekend and come May we will see where we are at.
WSS: Have there been many changes at the club since play ended last season?
CT: We kept the majority of the squad from last season and we have bought in two excellent signings in Ellie Fletcher and Ellie Stewart who, although are only young, they have bags of experience and have slotted straight into the side. I've been at the Feds for a long time and the team this season probably feels like the most together its ever been, everyone wants to fight for each other and that shows on the pitch.
WSS: Liverpool Feds have regularly been at top half team at least in recent years, do you feel the team is ready to make a title challenge this time around?
CT: We've been close so many times over the last five years or so and just always not quite got over that line but I'd like to think this season we are ready to push for that promotion spot, we have to be focused every game and not get carried away with ourselves but anything is possible with this side.
WSS: Just how big an achievement would it be for a club like yours if you were to go up to a higher level in the future?
CT: I don't think people realise how hard as a club we have to work to be where we are, a lot of teams in our league are affiliated to a men's side, you know they get their ground, training facilities, kit sorted or pay players to play - we have none of that, we don't get financial support. We also have to compete with the likes of Liverpool and Everton in our city too so it's tough so for Liverpool Feds to be playing in the league above which I think we can do, it would be a huge achievement.
WSS: Who do you see as being the main contenders in the division this season?
CT: We haven't played everyone so its hard and unfair to say but I think Newcastle have had a great start, so I think they will be up there along with Leeds. This league is very competitive though and I can see all teams dropping points etc at some point.
Our thanks to Chantelle!
Photo - Franz Wheldon
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