As part of my role with Bridgwater United’s media team, I am in a great position to view the best and the brightest talent from the National League Southern Premier. From penalty saves to added-time winners, the National League Southern certainly hasn’t disappointed so far this season and the second half of the season only promises more drama.
Despite league positions, teams have shown that anyone can take points from anyone. Of course, results wouldn’t happen without the effort from the team but highlighted a few key players that have caught my eye.
Leah Burridge (Oxford United) One of Oxford’s signings ahead of the 2022/23 season was midfielder Leah Burridge [featured image]. Burridge spent the latter past of last season at Wolves in the FAWNL Northern before returning to the Southern league this season. It goes without saying Burridge has settled into life at Oxford well. Since joining the U’s she’s adapted to playing more of an attacking role in midfield than she has in previous years. This has more than definitely paid off as Burridge has currently scored seven goals in the league, more than any other player.
Georgie Ferguson (Watford) Last season, Watford ended the season at the bottom of the Championship meaning they were relegated to the National League. From the club’s results and performances, it is clear to see they are aiming to get promoted back into the Championship. Goalkeeper Georgie Ferguson has been key for the Hornets between the sticks. After previously being part of Arsenal’s academy the 20-year-old signed for Watford in 2021. This season she wears the number one shirt. Out of their eight (league) games this season, Ferguson has featured in every single one, only conceeding four goals so far this season.
Zoe Rushen (Billericay Town) Newly promoted Billericay Town have adapted to the league pretty well. The club currently sit fifth in the league table and have proven to be a threat to teams across the league. They managed to hold current league leaders Oxford United, as well as taking points away from games against the likes of Gillingham and MK Dons. One player who’s played a part for Billericay is Zoe Rushen. Not only has the forward netted four times so far, but she’s also set her teammates up seven times. Rushen was also one of the goalscorers in their cup win over Maidenhead where she also picked up Player Of The Match.
Amy Goddard (Bridgwater United) Bridgwater United currently sit ninth in the FA Women’s National League Southern Premier. Amy Goddard plays a pivotal role as captain which has benefited United this season. The defender brings experience to the side, after formerly playing in the WSL and Championship. It is evident from watching her play that she has composure on the ball and stays calm when put under pressure. When able to, she also sends balls down the pitch in order for Bridgwater to make counter-attacks.
Amy’s defensive relationship with Ffion Llewellyn at centre-back is valued muchly. As well as this, her motivation to win games and play until the final whistle rubs off on the squad. This was shown in their 3-2 win away at Portsmouth and draw at Cheltenham.
Amber Pollock (Plymouth Argyle) Despite being eleventh in the league, Plymouth have scored in six out of their nine league games. Argyle’s Amber Pollock has been an interesting player to watch for them this season. Pollock was named Player of the Month for October and scored two goals in their 11-0 win in the Women’s Premier Cup. The forward was also named Player Of The Match in that game for her efforts after coming on as a substitute. Pollock has been impactful for Argyle with her runs towards goal and getting on the end of passes. I expect her to be instrumental in Argyle’s fight to avoid the drop.
Emma Jones (Portsmouth) Ahead of this season Portsmouth announced that forward Emma Jones would be remaining for another season, despite a number of high-profile departures. Jones has been crucial, scoring a number of important goals for Jay Sadler’s side. The forward is curly one goal behind Oxford’s Leah Burridge in terms of how many goals scored so far this season. The club are currently third in the table with six wins, a draw and three losses.
Some of those wins have been against Crawley, Plymouth, Billericay and MK Dons where Jones has contributed goals in each. If Pompey continue to go about their business in this same manner then don’t be surprised if they are in with a shout of promotion come May.