They wanted to win something this season, and, after their exit from the East Midlands Women’s Regional Football League Cup competition saw them ‘demoted’ to the Plate, Andi Bell and her Mansfield Town Ladies charges, they made it their mission to achieve nothing less, that lift it.
That is exactly what they did, defeating Rotherham United Women, 3-1, on Finals Day, at Eastwood CFC, a victory that saw them shun any hangovers defeat in the Notts FA County Cup final loss to Nottingham Forest Women, in their previous outing.
Having finished fourth in the league, some sixteen points behind champions, and promoted side, Northampton Town Women, a first half goal from Nikki Wigman would afford the Stags a one-goal, interval lead.
Although Rotherham did net in the second period, the Stags would add two further goals of their own as substitute Mathilda Evans, along with Georgia Gladwin, would complete the scoring.
Manager Andi Bell would name the following, sixteen-player squad for Finals Day –
Beth Jones, Monica Bowley, Amy Dawson, Georgina Beckwith, Maia Taylor, Gabriella Foulkes, Nikki Wigman, Shannon Purdy, Jessica Parker, Georgia Gladwin, Ellie Marshall (subs – Ash Evans, Lydia Pascoe, Courtney Caunt, Mathilda Evans, Kirsty Allen)
Speaking of their success, and the season just finished, captain Amy Dawson said: “It has been a rather long, but enjoyable season to be fair.
“We’ve kept on challenging, right to the end, and still came away with two trophies (Mansfield Ladies also collected the EMWRFL Fair Play trophy).
“The league itself has been really strong, and with a good five, even six, sides, challenging throughout.
“As for the final(s), in the County Cup (against Nottingham Forest Women, we’d already been through a lot.
“We were shook, quite hard, when Ness (goalkeeper Vanessa Kinnerley) got injured, then we had a few injuries in the final (Dawson went off with concussion at the break).
“But, this has certainly been one of the best seasons I’ve had at the club, and this last, Plate final, showed that.
“The girls were nervous (against Forest), whereas here, on Sunday, we were a lot more relaxed, composed and it showed as I feel we were the better team all round.”
Meanwhile, manager Andi Bell, who’s finally completed her first, full season with the club, said afterwards: “I think we were, by far, the better side.
“Credit to Rotherham, they worked really, really hard, but I think that our quality shone through, in quite a lot of the game.
“I’m just really pleased for the girls, to get their trophy.
“It’s been a hard, long season, and we’ve been there or thereabouts, so, to finally get ourselves over the line, in a final, is really pleasing, and I think we performed well on what was a really hot day.”
Watch the full interview with Andi Bell via Facebook here
Credit where due with this Mansfield Ladies side, overcoming what they have done, with very little in reserve (even manager Andi Bell took a spell in goal at one point); they’ve battle on and now, moving forward, stand-in ‘keeper, Beth Jones, who’s performed admirably, will be itching to revert back to her strikers role.
In addition to that, the club is aware that Nikki Wigman, the opening score in the Plate final, has now played her last for the club, so Andi Bell, and the Lady Stags coaching staff, have some work to do over the coming months, hopefully bringing in a few, new faces, in the hope of mounting a title challenge next time around.
In the other EMWRFL final, the League Cup, Derby County Academy Women would overturn a 2-1, half-time deficit, to edge a seven-goal thriller against Lincoln United Women; Iesha Rollins, Rosie Hunt, Marli Rhodes-Andrews, and Olivia Edwards, netted for the Ewe Rams, whilst the replies were netted by Abigail Murrell, Lucy Farrow, and Lauren Churcher.
In addition to looking for new players at the club, Mansfield Ladies would like to afford continued thanks to their sponsors – Mansfield Money, Buckley Brown, and SSA (Stags Supporters Association), and you can find out more, keep up-to-date, via their Facebook and Twitter.
*Article provided by Peter Mann (Senior Correspondent).
*Main image @MTFCLadies the Stagettes celebrate beating Rotherham United to win the League Plate.