Since 71 Team of the Season

Since 71 Team of the Season 2018/19

In our debut season, our team of writers have seen a lot of football involving teams from various levels of the women’s football pyramid. I wanted to put out a ‘Since 71 Team of the Season’ based on players that one of us had seen in the flesh this season. After attending Yeovil Town vs Manchester City earlier this season it could have been very easy to name a side that was made up of 90% players from the Sky Blues. That isn’t fun for us to collate so I decided that we had to cap the team to one player per club.

We have discussed amongst us and it wasn’t easy but hopefully you will agree that we have named a balanced team that could compete with some of the best teams in England?

Goalkeeper – Sophie Baggaley (Bristol City)

When our Bristol City supporters group awarded our player of the season award recently it was obvious that it was only going to one player, our bubbly goalkeeper who always has time to talk to us fans, the one we affectionately refer to as ‘Baggers’ – Sophie Baggaley. Sophie announced herself as a fan favourite with a match-saving performance with a string of brilliant saves at Arsenal last season and since then has never looked back.

This season Sophie has come into her own and one of her most memorable performances came when she stopped a Chelsea team containing Fran Kirby from scoring. This will live long in the memory for us Vixens fans. She thoroughly deserved to win her two WSL player of the month awards. It is no secret we will be very lucky to keep her next season, I for one am hoping we will once again get to sing our supporters song ‘Baggers had it covered,’ because she certainly has both on and off the field. By Rich Paish

Bristol City's Sophie Baggaley was also named in the PFA team of the season.
Bristol City's Sophie Baggaley was also named in the PFA team of the season. Photo from @BristolCityWFC

Defence – Steph Houghton (Manchester City)

We here at Manchester City Women’s Official Supporters Club are incredibly proud to have Steph Houghton as our captain! She is an incredible leader both on and off the pitch, an inspiration to all youngsters and a fantastic footballer as well.

One particular game this season encapsulates the essence of what Steph is to our team. We found ourselves 2-0 down at home to Bristol City, and it also became Steph’s personal mission to rescue something from the game. She covered every blade of grass, she roused every City player to give everything they had and with time running out, Steph herself took matters into her own hands and swept in a spectacular 22 yard angled shot to level the scores at 2-2.

Steph will undoubtedly bring all these qualities and more to the World Cup this summer when she leads the Lionesses into battle, she is a natural leader and players respect and respond to that. This fact was bore out last week when she was presented with the PFA Special Merit Award by her fellow professionals. An award that now places Steph in the same lofty esteem as legends of the game such as David Beckham and Pele! A true accolade and reward for all the blood, sweat and tears she has shed in the cause of every team she has proudly represented. By Dave Sheel (MCWFC OSC Committee Member)

Steph Houghton celebrates scoring against the USA in the She Believes Cup. Photo from @StephHoughton2
Steph Houghton celebrates scoring against the USA in the She Believes Cup. Photo from @StephHoughton2

Defence – Elisha N’Dow (Aston Villa)

Aston Villa‘s very own Boom Pow in the heart of the defence. Elisha N’Dow improves year after year and this year is no change as she is having one of her best seasons. She has passed 100 appearances for Villa Ladies and at such a young age will add so many more. Vice Captain, in the running for Supporters Player Of The Season only goes to show the impact she has at back with her hard-hitting, last-ditch tackles. Also has the ability to get the ball at her feet and drive at the opposition with comfort as well being ever dangerous on set pieces. By Adam Nunn

Aston Villa's Elisha N’Dow thwarts Stoke City. Photo from @LishaNdow
Aston Villa's Elisha N’Dow thwarts Stoke City. Photo from @LishaNdow

Defence – Hannah Short (Yeovil Town)

You always need a defender who puts in a great shift and always gives 100% and that is exactly what Hannah Short does. She’s made some excellent clearances this season and is always a player to look out for. She is a proper leader in the truest sense of the word. After her long-range winner against Everton to give Yeovil their first three points this season she became a bit of a national celeb, with numerous tv and radio appearances. Hannah is a vital part of the Yeovil squad starting in every league game so far this season. She and the whole club have deserved much more than they’ve managed so far this season! By Daisy Passmore

Hannah Short marshalling her Yeovil Town side. Photo from @YeovilLadiesFC
Hannah Short marshalling her Yeovil Town side. Photo from @YeovilLadiesFC

Defence – Alex Greenwood (Manchester United)

The Manchester United captain and Lionesses’ left-back was one of the first players Casey Stoney wanted to recruit once she was named United’s manager. Alex Greenwood was handed the captaincy by Stoney, the pair had previously played alongside each other at Liverpool.

Greenwood made her senior debut for Everton in 2010, having signed for the club as an eight-year-old, and just two years later was named FA Young Player of the Year. Greenwood was the youngest player selected for the 2015 World Cup and played two games as England secured a bronze medal. As well as being tenacious and comfortable defending her goal, she is also intelligent going forward and provides an attacking threat. It was Greenwood that stepped up and kept her nerve by slotting home a penalty in extra time during the FA Cup tie with Reading. The reds eventually suffered heartbreak in injury-time. The side will be happy with the way they secured the Women’s Championship title and promotion to where they belong, the Women’s Super League. By Stuart Barker

Alex Greenwood against Reading. Photo from @KunjanMalde
Alex Greenwood against Reading. Photo from @KunjanMalde

Midfield – Lucy Staniforth (Birmingham City)

Football is very much a family affair for the Birmingham City attacking midfielder, her father Gordon played for York City and Hull City and her brother Tom played for Sheffield Wednesday. Lucy Staniforth made her debut for Sunderland as a 16-year-old and has had successful spells with Notts County and Liverpool before signing for Birmingham in 2018.

This season, all bar one of Staniforth’s eighteen appearances have come from the start and she has scored two and assisted five goals this season. While it’s been a solid season for her Birmingham side, at the time of writing the blues are sitting third in the league with one more round of games to play. Staniforth’s role in this rise up the league has not gone unnoticed by the England manager, Phil Neville. Staniforth scored the opening goal for the Lionesses in their 3-0 win against Japan in the 2019 She Believes Cup, a tournament the side went on to win. By Stuart Barker

Staniforth embracing her inner Shearer after scoring for England. Photo from @LStan37
Staniforth embracing her inner Shearer after scoring for England. Photo from @LStan37

Midfield – Chloe Lloyd (Cardiff City)

Cardiff City are lucky to have a midfielder as amazing as Chloe Lloyd on their team, she brings skill, composure and determination to their squad. Chloe only signed for Cardiff in January but she had already scored two great goals this season for the club and been vital in their journey to finish runners up in the National League. Chloe is complimented in the Cardiff side with fellow Welsh internationals, Emma Jones, Ffion Morgan, Nadia Lawrence and Laura O’Sullivan.

When I spoke to Chloe earlier in the season she cited one of her big inspirations is Steven Gerrard, “Growing up my footballing idol was of course… Stevie G! Hence why I prefer to play as No. 8.  He was a Captain, Leader and a Legend. I’d like to think I adapted how to play as a central midfielder from watching him. Nowadays, I really enjoy watching N’Golo Kante for Chelsea.”

When I saw Cardiff take on Portsmouth, Lloyd was my player of the match and I could certainly see a bit of Kante in her play. When Pompey looked to build an attack, more often than not Chloe swooped in and won the ball, not only that, she displayed composure to move the ball forward and build attacks of her own. Chloe looked like a player who would be at home in the Super League or Championship.

Chloe Lloyd in action for Cardiff City Ladies.

Central Midfield – Jade Bradley (Portsmouth)

In every team you need a midfield general to boss the game and in Jade Bradley Pompey have that. Her partnership with Danielle Rowe has been a revelation this season.  Jade offers tough tackles, pinpoint through balls and a thunderous left foot.

For me, Jade’s highlight of the season was her free kick against Chichester City. It was twenty-two yards out she put the ball so close to the top corner it almost hit post and bar at the same time and gave us the momentum to go on and win the game. By Ian Chiverton from Pompey Women’s Vlogs.

Jade Bradley taking on Oxford United. Photo by Jordan Hampton
Jade Bradley taking on Oxford United. Photo by Jordan Hampton

Midfield – Angela Addison (Tottenham Hotspur)

My first game of the season was a pre-season friendly between Chichester City and Tottenham Hotspur. For me, the player who stood out for Spurs was Angela Addison, the former C&K Basildon winger was making the step up from National League and looked every bit a player that could compete at that level, if not higher. While at first glance Addison isn’t the tallest player, she is ferociously competitive and if you take her for granted then she will expose you and leave you on your backside.

More recently I saw Addison and her Spurs side take on league champions Manchester United. The 19-year-old winger was Spurs’ biggest threat on the left-hand side. Her debut season at this level has been a successful one and included six goals in seventeen appearances so far. By Stuart Barker

Angela Addison in action for Spurs. Photo from @THLFCofficial
Angela Addison in action for Spurs. Photo from @THLFCofficial

Attacking Midfield – Molly Clark (Chichester City)

Fresh from a successful summer with the England Beach Soccer team, the attacking midfielder rejoined Chichester City after stints at her home town club Portsmouth and West Ham United. I’ve been fortunate enough to watch Chichester a lot this season and while the squad is packed full of talent, Clark has been instrumental in what is likely to be top three finish, an improvement on last season’s eighth-placed finish.

Clark will finish the side’s top scorer, at the time of writing Clark has 14 league goals in 18 league appearances. Many of these goals have been important match-winning goals, such as her recent brace against Coventry United which inflicted the champions only league defeat this season so far. By Stuart Barker

Striker – Amber Hughes (Coventry United)

Jay Bradford‘s side have had a superb season and recently wrapped up the National League South title. While the Citys of Chichester and Cardiff have pushed them as far as they could but they just fell short in the end. There I could have opted for the side’s top scorer, Amy Wathan but she is more at home in midfield and our side needed a striker and that striker is Amber Hughes! The forward is the top scoring forward in the division with twenty-four goals. More than the likes of Wales‘ all-time top scorer, Helen Ward and Oxford United‘s Emily Allen.

Coventry and Amber’s season highlight could be yet to come when they slog it out with the National League North’s champions, Blackburn Rovers, in the end of season play-off game. By Stuart Barker

Hughes competes with Chichester's Tash Stephens. Photo by @j3ffyb
Hughes competes with Chichester's Tash Stephens. Photo by @j3ffyb