One cup final down, another one to go for Nottingham Forest Women’s Head Coach, Andy Cook, and his Reds, they looking to add the Nottinghamshire FA Women’s County Cup to that of the FA Women’s National League Plate, where they defeated AFC Wimbledon Ladies.
Standing in their way of a season ending, cup double, is East Midlands Women’s Regional Football League Premier Division side, Mansfield Town Ladies, they looking for a cup double of their own; however, Cook’s Forest side are battlers, and will take on any challenge, head on, as has often been seen this season.
A 7-0 win in the semi-final, against Notts County Women, a game which would see both Charlotte Greengrass and Tamara Wilcock, bag braces (this coming after walkovers against Keyworth United and Teversal) set up the final with the Stags.
Now, looking back at this season, in both league and cup, the Forest boss said of the latter: “All the best players want to win a cup, any cup competition, so it becomes easy from this point.
“Everyone also wants to beat Forest as well, so we have to prove that we can go and win it, and win another cup.
“(The semi-final) It was a good game; Notts had a game plan and we had to break them down and to score seven goals was great, and a couple of goals for different players in the game is always nice (Forest had five different scorers in the semi-final).”
The final with Mansfield though, that’ll be a somewhat different prospect, and challenge, to that posed by Notts County, and Cook facing a fellow north-easterner, in his opponents manager, Andi Bell.
“It will be a tough game (against Mansfield),” admits Cook.
“They have a lot of ex-Forest players and staff there, so they will be ready to fight, and battle, to take the game to us.
“We have to make sure we are ready to graft and match them in this, and we must go and earn the right to play first.
“Andi meanwhile, I’ve heard only good things about her since I’ve been here at Forest
“She’s doing a great job at Mansfield, and, from what I know, everybody is driving that club forward in the right way; it will be good to share the touchline with her.”
Away from reaching two cup finals, and into the now completed FAW Women’s National League North campaign, maybe hasn’t quite panned out how Cook and his Forest charges have expected it to.
A fifth place finish, some fifteen points behind champions Wolverhampton Wanderers (there was a similar gap between Forest and Wolves in the Reserves League), and thirteen wins from twenty-four, doesn’t do them justice, or even tell the full story of their season.
Of the eleven in which points were dropped, lost in, three of the five draws were actually goalless; as for the losses, the 3-0 at home to Wolves (late February), and the 2-0 at home to Derby (early October), was as bad as it got, otherwise, they’ve been a pretty solid unit.
“It’s been a tough season,” concludes the Forest boss, looking back on the season just finished.
“Wolves have done what they needed and I think the difference is, when teams come to play us first, the games are always close.
“We have only conceded three, once this season, and only two games have had teams score more than two without us replying.
“Teams also always play their best against Nottingham Forest; I’m not sure why because the previous seasons we’ve been a bottom five team.
“Everyone sees us as the best though, and they have to beat us, so, every game we play we have to be at our best and that’s why we’ve been playing so well, we’ve just been unlucky in some games.”
Andy Cook’s Nottingham Forest Women oppose Andi Bell’s Mansfield Town Ladies, contest the Nottinghamshire FA Women’s County Cup, on Wednesday 11 May, in Basford.
*Article provided by Peter Mann (Senior Correspondent).
*Main image @NFFCWomen Andy Cook with Reds player of the season Lyndsey Harkin.