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An interview with… Keiana Jones

(Portishead Town)

Portishead Town are enjoying a good debut season in the FA Women’s National League and their 3-2 victory over Swindon Town on Sunday took them up to fourth place in the Division One South West table.  

Keiana Jones is one of a number of players within the Portishead squad who have had impressive first seasons at the higher level and she told us that the team has grown in confidence since the campaign began and that the hard work they are putting in is paying off:

WSS: Well done on the win on Sunday, how good did it feel to be back in action with a victory?

KJ: Thank you so much! It felt amazing to be back on the pitch and to get the win just made the experience even more incredible. We’ve been working so hard as a group and to be rewarded with the win made it even better. We’ve gained a confidence as a squad that any team we now face will not get an easy game coming up against us.

WSS: Did you always feel confident of winning once you got 3-2 in front late on?

KJ: I had a belief that the team was going to put in a shift and put bodies on the line to keep that win, but we knew we had to earn it, which I think we did. We didn’t underestimate Swindon, we didn’t switch off and were on it from kick off, which the result showed.

WSS: The team has defended very well in a number of matches this season, was that the case again on Sunday?

KJ: Yes! I can’t give enough credit to our back line. The quality they possess has saved us in a lot of our games. However on Sunday, we defended from the front line all the way to the back. We understand in this league there are fine margins between winning and losing so we all understood our defensive roles and made it very difficult for Swindon to play through us.

WSS: No game for you this week and in fact you have to wait a couple more weeks before your next match away to Chesham, how frustrating is that?

KJ: Obviously we all love playing and any weekend when we are not stepping on the pitch is disappointing. However as a club we are very proactive in trying to get as much game time as possible. We have arranged two friendlies in the gap between league games, so are using the time to experiment and try new things within the squad.

WSS: last time you played Chesham, it was a thrilling 3-3 draw, can you see that one being a similar game?

KJ: Yes. We know with Chesham that we can’t afford to start slow. They are a technical side who possess a quality that will punish us if we don’t play to the standard that we expect of ourselves. Equally, as a team we have faith in our ability and that we have the potential to dominate in all areas of the pitch.

WSS: this is your first season in the National League, how have you been finding it since being promoted?

KJ: Ever since promotion it has been a learning experience for us. From the start of the season where we were just finding our feet to where we are now, the difference in quality and self belief within the club is incredible. We truly believe we deserve to be in this league and we continue to prove that. We are a relatively young squad so have been playing up against some very experienced players who have been in this league for a while, yet we have shown that we can hold our own and that underdogs can bite!

WSS: What has the team had to learn, or adapt to, during the course of the season?

KJ: I think everyone can agree that the Covid-19 pandemic hasn’t been easy, especially when it comes to football. We have had players having to isolate, alongside injuries. As a result we have had to adapt to certain positions and formations which are new to us. I personally think that as a group we have shown our versatility and have proven that we can face adversity. I think that one of the main things we have learnt is to channel people’s doubts into motivation and that the way we react to things is vital, such as bouncing back after conceding like we did against Swindon. The mental resilience to not let our heads drop is a key part of our game we are most proud of developing and we wish to develop it further as the season progresses.

WSS: What are the aims for the team for the remainder of the season, and are you confident that you can build from this in the future?

KJ: Our aim for the rest of the season is to pick up as many points as possible. We want to continue to play our football and play with the confidence that we fear no team in this league. The girls and I have all the confidence that we will continue to build as a squad, especially with the quality coaches we have and a driven team mentality to win. I look forward to seeing where we go as a group and I would like to think no team sees us as easy competition. I have never played with such a tight-knit second family like Portishead Town Ladies FC and with that bond alone, I am certain we will go from strength to strength.

Our thanks to Keiana!