This Sunday will see the first, official, meeting between Notts County Women and Mansfield Town Ladies, as Adam Dunleavy takes his County side to Nottinghamshire rivals, Mansfield, in an East Midlands Women’s Regional Football League Premier Division encounter.
The two Nottinghamshire clubs have enjoyed good starts to the season, and for County, as they continue their climb back up the women’s pyramid, three wins from five (in the league) and nineteen goals scored, is a pretty reasonable return.
At the back, in those five games, only nine goals have been conceded, five in their opening two games (both losses) of the season, as they looked to find their footing.
In speaking to the Nottingham Sport, County’s former Nottingham Forest shot-stopper, Philipa Davies knows a few things about derby football, having experienced that East Midlands affair, against nearby Derby County, on a number of occasions.
Starting out at Southwell, she joined Forest in the mid-2010s and has seen the like of Aja Aguirre, and Georgina Eden-Hasler, between the sticks; Sunday though, is about renewing old acquaintances, and the three points of course.
“I’d been at Forest since I was a 15, so will playing against a few former teammates at the weekend,” began Philipa.
“I was one of the back-ups for Aja (Aguirre) and was switching between reserves and first-team football.
“Having moved to Forest, from Southwell, that was a big step-up, but I really enjoyed it.
“However, I really wanted to play first-team football, and I’m only 20 and wanting as much experience as possible, which I’m getting at County.”
Whilst at Forest, Philipa found herself experiencing that Midlands affair, even going as far as sitting on the bench when the Reds played at Pride Park.
It’s because of experiences like that which has Philipa knowing what playing in, experiencing, a derby match means to players, at any level.
“I played for Forest Reserves, against Derby County, and I’ve been on the bench at Pride Park,” continued Philipa.
“But I know that we, County, will be well up for it when Sunday comes around.
“Beating Mansfield will be great, but we need to make sure the communication stays throughout, and someone like Holly (Fowler, County captain), does that really well.”
Three points for County at the weekend, at Mansfield, will actually see them move above their local rivals, on goal-difference, just three points splitting the sides with County’s hosts part of a three-way tie at the top – alongside Northampton Town Women and Chesterfield Women.
“I’m really enjoying my time at County, since I joined in the summer,” added Philipa.
“Yes, we’ll be going for the three points on Sunday, but a good team performance will be great, and do everything well, across the field.
“Both sides will be going for a win, and I think neither will be happy with a draw – we’re definitely up for it.”
The one thing in which Philipa hopes will help them through, and a rallying call from her and her County teammates, is the ever-loyal fan-base, of any age.
“We’ll hopefully take a good few fans there with us,” finished Philipa.
“Yes, we’ll be more comfortable playing at home, but hopefully, with it just being over at Mansfield, it’ll be a home from home, and we’ll have a good support there, we usually do anyway.”
Notts County Women travel to Mansfield Town Ladies in the East Midlands Women’s Regional Football League Premier Division this Sunday afternoon, keep an eye on the respective clubs’ social media profiles for updates.
*Article provided by Peter Mann (Senior Correspondent).
*Main image @SportsplexMedia Philipa Davies doing what she does best in the Notts County goal.