BURTON Albion Ladies played their first game in over a month against Leafield Athletic last Sunday, after inclement weather and flooding caused disruption to the fixture list.
Ahead of the game, Leafield sat in tenth place in the league with 13 points, and had won four of their 13 games so far this campaign.
With two games in hand, this was an opportunity for the Brewers to close the gap to the teams above them in the table.
The Ladies came in at the break 2-0 down after two quick-fire goals gave the home side the advantage heading into the second half. Unfortunately, it was a twelfth league defeat of the season for the Ladies as Leafield came out as 5-2 victors.
The Ladies played better in the second half with Ella Doocey and Hanaiya Azhar scoring the Brewers’ goals, with the latter being a stunning individual goal on her first team debut following promotion to the senior side.
With the Solihull Moors defeat at home to Lincoln City, the Brewers remain nine points away from their nearest rivals with ten games to go.
Despite the defeat, Burton Albion Ladies first-team coach Steve Guest highlighted the progress the Ladies have made over the past month.
“The girls have been superb,” he said. “They look after us and we look after them.
“They were constantly asking whether we could organise a friendly or train on the 3G pitch when the games were called off throughout February.”
Guest also talked about both his and the Ladies’ frustration during the past month, with many women’s games across England being called off.
“The frustration is felt by every coach, manager, league official and even by referees as well.
“Going out to pitches at 9am for a 2pm kick-off to find out if we are able to play [is tough].
“But that is football, it is a winter sport. In the summer, it is the same. We were complaining about pitches turning orange when it has been too warm. It has allowed the girls to work in training and overall we look sharper across the pitch and look a lot better defensively.”
Guest also highlighted the impact of the new signings as the Ladies look to build some momentum this month.
“The new signings have added a lot, and they join a great bunch.
“The under-16s coming into the frame have added quality; one of the girls scored a hat-trick in a friendly after just 50 minutes so there is competition.
“Players know that if they don’t put the performances in, they don’t find themselves in the squad. They know that, so that is making training more competitive as they fight for their places.
“110 percent is the minimum expectation for these girls.”
The Ladies’ next scheduled game will be their first home game this decade after their mid-week clash against Sporting Khalsa was rearranged. The Brewers will host Lincoln City on Sunday in the first meeting between the two sides, after they were previously being known as Nettleham.
Ahead of the match, vice-captain Fiona Lane believes the Ladies are under no pressure despite their current league position.
“We’ve obviously not got any points this season so I don’t think we are under any pressure,” she said. “We all want to get some points on the board as we are all here for the same reasons.
“People have left and the players that have stayed want to be here, so the morale amongst the squad is good.
“The start of the season was difficult with different managers and players, but we are here for a fresh start and to get some points in the second half of the season.”
You can watch the Ladies in action on Sunday, March 15 at Hillfields, Mill Street, Uttoxeter, ST14 5JX. Kick-off is 2pm.
For the latest updates on fixtures, please follow Burton Albion Ladies on Twitter, @BurtonAlbionLFC, or Burton Albion FC, @burtonalbionfc.