Ladies heading Toward the top

Vicky Coope in action for Chorley Ladies. Pic by Ken Chapman
Vicky Coope in action for Chorley Ladies. Pic by Ken Chapman

CHORLEY Ladies FC are halfway towards achieving back-to-back promotions.

They are currently set the pace at the top of the Northern Combination League by three points.

However, the champagne is on ice as club officials know that the second half of the season will be tougher than the first.

Skipper Danielle Toward said: “At the start of the season, our aim was to avoid relegation and stay in the league.

“We have just been taking each game as it comes and are truly delighted with our success so far.

“Over the summer, we recruited a number of quality players that have strengthened the squad, in particular Scarlett Smith who has scored a number of goals for us from the left wing.

“It is clear that we still have a lot to do to complete with the more established clubs like South Durham and Bradford City.

“But our results have proved that we are doing something right.

“We followed a really strict and intense pre-season routine and this really helped us overcome teams in the latter part of games.

“We beat Stockport 4-2, coming from behind in the last half an hour of the game.

“And in the opening game of the season against Sheffield United, we scored three goals in 20 minutes to run out winners. “

The club has also just linked up with Euxton Girls to give players aged 16 and over a route into women’s football.

The next few weeks could make or break Chorley’s title ambitions.

Danielle added: “Our next game is next Sunday against Cheadle Heath Nomads. We used to play against them in the North West leagues and they pipped us to promotion in the 2009/10 season by one point.

“We are looking forward to the opportunity to play them again now we are a stronger side.

“We have a big month in February when we play away to previously unbeaten Bradford City, second-placed South Durham and Huddersfield Town.

The second half of the season will be much harder because we have not played over the Christmas period and have lost a little match fitness.

“We may also be forced to play midweek games due to other teams having cup competitions that disrupt league games.”

If the Mossie Close side are promoted, they will be in National League Two and could be up against local rivals Preston North End and Blackburn Rovers Ladies.

Danielle believes their impressive form this season is down to a couple of key players.

She said: “Utility player Vicky Coope has started in a number of positions but is one of our leading goal scorers.

“Alison O’Donnell was a consistent full-back last year and due to injury she has offered to go in goal.

“Her vocal presence and confidence has been excellent and bolstered the defence.

“Two of the other key players are full-backs Kay Unsworth and Ruth Harrison.

“We have found teams to be quicker and more organised and our full-backs have had to be switched on right front the start of games to avoid silly goals.”