Derby Day in Freezing Fylde
In this edition of X-Reds I’m taking you back to, a slightly warmer, Fylde. If you’re not aware of the ambitions of Fylde you can read the introduction to the previous piece linked above, to summarise however: Fylde F.C are a team with big aspirations.
The men’s side have targeted 2022 for promotion to the football league, while the women, who previously played under the Preston name, also target the Women’s Super League.
An impressive stadium will soon be accompanied with facilities that will provide the women’s team with a training base – they currently train at Accrington Stanley.
|Fylde Ladies F.C. vs Nottingham Forest Ladies|
Since the previous blog at the start of October, ex-Liverpool coach Luke Swindlehurst has left the club to be replaced by former Manchester City Development manager Conrad Prendergast.
The new boss was appointed head coach at the start of the year and has overseen a defeat to top-of-the-league Blackburn Rovers and a draw away at Huddersfield. Here he took charge of his first home game and was rewarded with a 1-0 victory over Nottingham Forest at Mill Farm.
In Conrad’s programme notes he commends his new side’s battling desire and work ethic, praising the team’s defensive efforts despite the results and explaining how they now need to bring together the qualities of posing an attacking threat while remaining defensively sound.
Former Red Olivia Wild made her Fylde debut – making a welcome return from a four month injury lay off – as the Coasters produced exactly what the new manager had asked for. Wild grew into the game; her strength and ability to drive the ball forward particularly evident during the second half of the game and on several occasions drawing applause from the crowd.
|Olivia Wild (L) and Yasmine Swarbrick (R) in action for Fylde Ladies F.C.|
One play late in the game saw Wild win the ball from a Forest goal kick, head it down to the feet of Chloe Adams and make the run down the right wing to receive the ball back from Adams – the final cross well held onto by the Forest goalkeeper.
Wild had also played her part in the opening goal in the first half, winning a throw-in on the far side that led to a cross allowing Laura Walker to send the ball into the back of the net following a scramble at the edge of the 6-yard box.
At the other end of the pitch another former Red was leading the attack, Yasmine Swarbrick an imposing presence up front, pressuring and chasing every ball, holding play up brilliantly as the lone striker while also helping out at the back – in the first half heading clear a Forest corner and then racing out, receiving the ball back and almost finding her team mate with an excellent through ball only for the ‘keeper to be quick off her line to gather.
Swarbrick was twice denied by the woodwork as well, rising to power a superb header against the post after a set piece and then rattling the crossbar with another headed effort just minutes later.
The forward continued to be instrumental in attack, providing goal scorer Walker with an opportunity to score another with a deft backheel and also racing onto a great ball forward from Olivia Wilkes – crashing into the onrushing ‘keeper in a 50-50 collision.
A mention should also go to Coasters captain Charlotte Farrell, who incidentally hadn’t played since the aforementioned derby against Blackburn in October due to injury, making a return at centre back and marking it with a series of crunching tackles as if she’d never been away.
At my last trip to Fylde I noted the admirable commitment of the players and staff in the Women’s Premier League and that dedication continues to impress, hopefully the Women’s Super League reverting to a winter schedule and aligning itself with the WPL will benefit the league and provide more opportunities.
Fylde Ladies are making great strides in the women’s game and a continuation of this can only benefit all involved.
Go and support Yasmine, Liv and Fylde at their remaining WPL fixtures of the 2016/17 season: Fixture list.