As we make our way into the end of February, Long Eaton United have played seventeen games in the Midlands Division One so far. Long Eaton currently occupy fourth position, eight points off the top of the table. Their 3-2 defeat to fellow title rivals, Boldmere St Michaels will have been a disappointment.
Away from the League as well John Bennett’s team have also made history within the club as they had never reached the Third Round of the Women’s FA Cup before, but much more on this later on.
Pre-season was a great way to test and improve the team while unifying, playing against higher-level opponents and proving a point with the season coming up, Long Eaton kept busy and worked hard throughout the whole of pre-season including a game I’m sure they will wish to forget in a hurry.
The season started with a 4-0 win over Leafield Athletic and a first away win over Wem Town 1-6. However an away day to Burton saw a 1-3 defeat before going seven games unbeaten in the League, including wins over Bedworth 1-0, Boldmere St Michaels 1-0, Solihull Moors 1-6 and Lincoln City 4-1.
Followed by that was three draws up against Peterborough United 2-2, Doncaster Rovers Belles 1-1, Sporting Khalsa 2-2.
In between these games, Long Eaton also played in the Cup with a 4-1 win over Peterborough United and a 3-4 loss to Norton & Stockton Ancients. As well as the history-making FA Cup run that started with a 0-4 win over Leamington Lions, 4-0 win over Peterborough United that was followed by a 6-0 win over Netherton United. The run unfortunately came to an end when Long Eaton came up against West Bromich Albion in the division above, the National League Northern Premier League. A 5-1 victory for the Baggies saw the run come to an end, but a real high point of the season with what they had achieved.
In 2022 Long Eaton have competed in six games but the results have been up and down. The team has amounted three wins and three losses. Wins over Solihull Moors 3-2, Burton 0-3 and Wem Town 1-0 had also seen defeats to Leek Town 4-0, Peterborough United 0-1 and Bedworth United 1-0. I know that John Bennett and his team will be looking for some consistency throughout the remainder of the season. With the record this season being played 22, won 13, drew 3 and lost 6.
The squad itself is a team that has strong foundations with some great additions coming in such as Alex O’Neill, Laura Dexter, Moriah McIntosh, Alex Spokes and Tilly Hallas-Potts as well as the latest signing Lucie Mulgridge making her debut in the final game before Christmas.
It’s always a shame to lose players as well with Amy Wells having a spell on loan at Notts County as well as Beth Naqwi, Tara Kirk and also Lauren Da’Casto moving on as well. Injuries also have seen Annie Taylor, Kelly Kennaugh, Nikki Emery and Molly Boultbee have caused issues and have been missed by all the staff as well.
More of a personal touch as well and opinion but the team, the club and its staff really are a fantastic bunch on and off the pitch and have always shown me love and respect with the efforts for the team and also my own projects, I think massive shoutout out to John Bennett and his staff also for the efforts and time this season.
With Annie Taylor being out of action, Millie Fugler has stepped into the role of being captain and leads from the front on the pitch. She is always involved as well impressive Alex O’Neill, Cala Thornton and also Tiana Hicks who leads the goalscoring list for Long Eaton. But the team can boost goals from all over the pitch. As always Jordan Atkin is such a big player for the team and squad as they move towards the end of the season.
Photo: Adam Nunn