Marlborough Town recently avenged last year's Wiltshire League Cup Final defeat to Swindon Spitfires United by beating the same opposition 3-2, so we spoke with midfielder Rebecca Knox about the turnaround.
SK: Can you tell us a little of your personal footballing history?
RK: My interest in playing football probably came from constantly playing in the garden with my older brother, not joining a team until about 14 years old. I joined MTLFC around 5 years ago, before that playing for a local Reading Girls team. Throughout my time playing I have had to return from two ACL operations; the most recent injury has meant that over the last two years I've done more coaching with Marlborough than playing, only returning to game play in the second half of this season.
SK: What impact did losing one of your defenders have? It sounded a freak and nasty injury!
RK: Laura [Crampton] very rarely goes down for anything so when she does you know something's bad! Laura had been a key part of the defence all season but we had a strong bench so we were able to re-shuffle; the worst part of the situation was that Laura had to miss the game!
SK: Then falling behind to a side that had beaten you in the league, must have taken some spirit to respond to, especially on a hot day?
RK: The heat definitely did not help, but it made it hard for both teams. From the moment we found out who we were playing in the final everyone was up for it. We all knew it was going to be hard and we all knew we'd have to work until the very final whistle and that's exactly what we did! We knew we were stronger and more skillful as a team than we were at the start of the season and we all wanted to prove it.
SK: The second equaliser seems to have had your confidence flowing, what with a quick winner to follow?
RK: Bringing it back to 2-2 seemed to give everyone that extra confidence boost, helping us find that last bit of energy. Our passing became more clinical, the movement become more agile and everyone was playing for each other. When we went 3-2 up the mentality stepped up again - win every tackle, get to every ball first and don't let them shoot. Even though it felt like the game would never end, none of us stopped until we heard the whistle.
SK: Who was the most emotional or delighted with the result?
RK: From the players to the supporters to the coaching staff, everyone was over the moon with the win, a lot of people saying it was about time we won something. I'd say the most emotional was the coach Robin [Simpson] - he's been with the team since it started in 2004 and was desperate for the ladies to win something to reflect all the hard work and progression they'd made. The first game they ever played saw a 22-0 defeat against Swindon Spitfires all those years ago. So Robin was just so happy to see how far the team had come.
SK: How do you feel your season has gone and what are your hopes for the next campaign?
RK: At the beginning of the season we had some very close results, playing great football all over the pitch but losing 2-1 and 4-3, our scores were not reflecting the games very well. The second half it all seemed to come together and we found our rhythm, going on a streak of 12 games unbeaten. We now have the confidence from both that and the cup final win to give us a running start in next year's league - possibly even go for the double!!
Neither are workable or likely at present but hypothetically, would you prefer a more strict salary cap in the FA WSL OR should centrally contracted England players (that receive salaries from The FA) be allocated more evenly around WSL1 clubs?