Two Cup Finals ‘Huge To Win’ For Cook

Andy Cook’s double cup-finalists are looking to finish the season in style as his Nottingham Forest Women psyche themselves up for the first of the two, the FA Women’s National League Plate, against AFC Wimbledon Ladies, today, Sunday 24 April.

At the conclusion of what has been a long season, both on, and off the field of play, it certainly is crunch-time for the Reds, and for Cook, and the recently returned Amy West, they’re well aware as to what the next few weeks means.

So, here at the Nottingham Sport, we caught up with the coach, and the player, for the first of a couple of chats.

With the Notts FA County Cup to come next month (against Mansfield Town Ladies), focus first is on the Lady Dons, at the end of run of cup matches that began, seemingly, a lifetime ago.

Losing in the FA Women’s National League Cup opener, 1-0, against Liverpool Feds, the Reds were demoted to the Plate, with one remit, win.

A 5-1 win away to Bedworth United set them on their way, before a tough trip, to Northumberland, saw them overcome hosts Alnwick Town Ladies, 1-0 in the quarters; last time out, in the semi-finals, it was Cheltenham Town that were beaten, 3-0, goals there coming from Charlotte Greengrass (2) and Gianna Mitchell.

The goals have been spread about, that brace for Greengrass the most any has scored for the Reds in this season’s Plate run, and for Cook, it has certainly been a test of his sides strength and character, that’s got them through.

“When Liverpool beat us, we felt it was a typical cup game, and we dominated the game,” began the Forest Head Coach.

“But they scored one goal, and we couldn’t find a way through them.

“The games we have played in this season’s Plate competition though have proved to be tough.

“We were the highest ranked team in the competition, so we knew there was pressure on us to reach this point, but we’ve seen each team off and played as well as we needed to in each game.

“Alnwick, it proved the toughest test for us; the longest trip of the season, and the pitch was like nothing we’ve played on before, and they put up a great fight, but we managed to get the goal to see us through.”

Having recently returned from injury, Amy West, who signed for the club last summer from Aston Villa, where she was their Player of the Year in 2019, scored in both the 7-0 thumping of Middlesbrough, and the equaliser against Loughborough.

With two, very different cup final opposition in Wimbledon, and Mansfield Town, ahead of them, the midfielder added that: “As a group, we’re all really looking forward to these finals and are preparing well for them.

“We expect two very competitive games so we need to ensure we go into the game with clear mind-sets and play to our strengths.

“If you ask any footballer, they’ll all say that winning silverware is a fantastic achievement and we are very much preparing to go out and fight to win both.

“Winning for us would be great as Forest as a club is going places, and the women’s team wants to play a significant part in that.”

As for the Plate itself, and the final against Wimbledon, the Forest boss, as you’d expect, already knows a thing or two about their Southern counterparts.

“I know Jacob Miller, the Sport Scientist, and Emily Donovan, as I worked with both at Oxford United,” explained the Forest boss.  “They (Wimbledon) are a strong side who boast some real quality; but, we’ve done our work, as I’m sure they have on us.

“It would be huge to win this, and I want to win any competition I enter.

“For the club, it’s a trophy that we haven’t won yet, so it would be a great success for all concerned.”

Nottingham Forest Women face AFC Wimbledon Ladies in the FA Women’s National League Plate final, at Solihull Moors, B92 9EJ, on Sunday, 24 April, KO 11am (£5 adults, £2.50 concessions, U16s free).

*Article provided by Peter Mann (Senior Correspondent).

*Main image @NFFCWomen Andy Cook is hoping for silverware starting today verses Wimbledon.

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