“Our Goal Is This Game” Says Hewitt

Nottingham Forest will face Watford for the second time in a matter of weeks this coming Saturday when, at the Stadium MK, the two will collide for a place in next season’s Barclays Women’s Championship, so the Nottingham Sport caught up with Forest defender and centurion, Georgia Hewitt, for a chat.

It has been a whirlwind couple of seasons for the Reds, in 2021/22 they lifted both the Nottinghamshire FA Women’s County Cup and the FA Women’s National League Plate, whilst twelve months on they’ve gone added the FA WNL Northern Premier title (for the first time since 2008), and the FA WNL Cup (for the first time since 2011).

During this period, Hewitt, who is part of a strong, Forest back-line, alongside captain Lyndsey Harkin, Olivia Cook, Hayley James, LJ O’Neill et al, racking up an impressive, 55 appearances in all competitions; this next one, the National League play-off, could well be the most important of them all.

So, how has it been for the 28-year-old defender, especially when they, and everyone else around the world, finally emerged from the recent, global health scare?

“We were actually a little disappointed last season,” admitted Hewitt, who first appeared for Forest during the 2018/19 campaign.

“We’d set out then (2021/22) to achieve what we have done this time around.

“Take away the County Cup success (Hewitt’s second as a Red), and we just won the League Plate, and only finished fifth in the league.

“This season, we would have been happy with either/or, but it’s been incredible really, and the success shows how well we’ve really done.”

This season though, it’s the last in which the National League will be running the play-off’s, for a place in the following seasons Championship.

Both Forest, and Watford, have had similar campaigns in their respective Northern, and Southern divisional title wins, with the respective title races going down to the final game of the season, and just goal-difference splitting the top two sides of Forest, and Wolverhampton Wanderers, Watford, and Ipswich Town.

“I do feel for Wolves,” continued Hewitt.

“They were unlucky last season (losing 1-0 against Southampton in the play-off final), and came close to getting back there this season as well.

“I just hope we don’t endure the same scenario; personally, they’ve (the play-offs) not made sense, and there’s a number of teams in ours, and the Southern, who can be a re-worked, Championship.

“Without promotion, and continued progression though, it could have a knock-on effect for clubs, with funding being pulled.”

Following the ‘disappointment’ of last season, Head Coach Andy Cook and his charges have pretty much gone all-out this time around, going all the way in the League Cup, and narrowly edging rivals Wolves in the Northern Premier.

Cup success would see the Garibaldi sweep aside another Southern side, Portsmouth, 5-0 in the semi-finals (Rebecca Anderson 2, Lyndsey Harkin, top-scorer Charlotte Greengrass, and substitute Mai Moncaster netting), Hewitt making her 100 appearance for the Reds that day, setting up a date with another Southern side, Watford, who defeated Wolves in theirs, in the recent, five-goal thriller at Burton’s Pirelli Stadium.

A win for Forest that day, 3-2 after extra-time, was quickly followed by a league title success, their first since 2011 and 2008, respectively; now though, it’s Watford again, in Saturday’s big game, one of the biggest the Reds have faced in a long time.

“This season, it’s not been a walkover, far from it,” explained the Reds defender.

“It’s been the toughest season I’ve had in football, that’s for sure.

“And it’s been the same in the Southern division also, Watford have done really themselves.

“The recent cup final, it was a quality game, especially as we went into that on a downer, following the draw at Brighouse Town (1-1) the week before.

“We really wanted to win some silverware though, so we all turned off our socials, and focussed on the job at hand; with Wolves beating Burnley in the league that day as well, it made the occasion all the more special.”

Now though, it’s all about Forest versus Watford II, with high stakes at play and, for the winner, all the spoils.

The Reds, they’ve been solid, both in attack (Greengrass 22, Yasmin Mosby 14, Sophie Domingo and Charlotte Steggles 11), and in defence, with shot-stopper, Emily Batty, keeping an impressive 13 clean sheets in 27 appearances.

“Our goal is this game, and that’s it,” added Hewitt.

“We have faith in each other, and I’m part of a solid, quality back-line.

“It’s been good to play Southern teams, we’re more physical here, whereas they’re more technical; so, us beating Portsmouth, it showed us as to where we are at ourselves.

“With Watford, we didn’t know much about each other before the (League Cup) final, but now we do, so I guess it’s down to the fight, and as to who wants it more.

“There’s a lot of trust amongst ourselves though, and that carries us a long way, and we have plenty of goals as well, so, if we can minimise their threats, in (Gemma) Davison and (Bianca) Baptiste, then we can do this.”

Nottingham Forest face Watford, in the FA Women’s National League play-off final, at Stadium MK, this coming Saturday, 20 May, KO13:00; tickets for the final (including travel) are available via here and you can keep up-to-date with all things Nottingham Forest Women via their social on Facebook here and Twitter here.

*Article provided by Peter Mann (Senior Correspondent).

*Main image @amifordphoto the Forest players celebrate their title.

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