Tractor Girls Host Hashtag United on Opening Day
Friday, 18th Sep 2020 17:11
Ipswich Town Women get their FAWNL Division One South East season under way on Sunday when they host Hashtag United at the Goldstar Ground, Felixstowe (KO 2pm, gates open 12.30pm).
A maximum of 400 fans are able to attend the game on a first come, first served basis. Admission is £5 for adults and £3 for concessions, while entry is free for under-16s when accompanied by a paying adult. Town season ticket holders are also admitted free.
The Tractor Girls were top of FAWNL Division One South East and on course for promotion when 2019/20, in which they had also enjoyed a club record FA Cup run to round five where they were beaten by Manchester City, was curtailed in March due to the coronavirus pandemic and ultimately declared null and void.
Manager Joe Sheehan says he and his squad are looking forward to finally returning to competitive action after such a long hiatus.
“We’ve been out of the game for a while, we’ve had a really good pre-season, four or five games to prepare ourselves and now we look forward to it this Sunday,” he said.
Sheehan has been pleased with what he’s seen from his team in pre-season, having won 17-1 at Needham Market, 2-0 at St Ives Town and 6-0 away against the MK Dons before falling to a 3-0 defeat at Watford. Last Sunday the first team took on the U21s in a showcase game (pictured).
“Yes, I think so, but we don’t take too much from it because obviously it doesn’t count for anything,” he added.
“I think there are certain things we’re going to try and implement and get out, and we reflect on those things to potentially change or keep what’s working. Yes, we’ve had some good games and hopefully that puts us in good stead.”
Promotion was the aim last season and will be the Blues’ target again in 2020/21, in what Sheehan believes will be a stronger division.
“Obviously we had a really good season,” he said. “I think the league has got stronger, a lot of teams have recruited really well.
“Historically the league has been between two or three teams, but I think it will be a lot more open this year and that makes it all the more exciting.
“It’s going to be really competitive. The team that finishes top come the end of the season is going to have really have earned that right. There are going to be a lot of good teams, a lot of good games and we’re really looking forward to it.”
Sunday’s opponents Hashtag United were known as AFC Basildon last term and despite being in the same division as the Blues, the only meeting was the Tractor Girls’ 5-0 home FA Cup victory in November. The Essex side are likely to be among the other contenders.
“It will be a really exciting game. We didn’t play them in the league last year, although we did play them as part of our FA Cup run,” Sheehan said.
“They’ve recruited really well and obviously rebranded. They’ve got a bit of momentum behind them, they’ve got a feel-good factor and it promises to make a really good start to the season.”
Eva Hubbard will be wearing the captain's armband having been handed the role on an interim basis with regular skipper Amanda Crump currently unavailable due to her pregnancy.
The Tractor Girls have announced their squad numbers for the season ahead with 10 players having new numbers.
Academy full-back Maria Boswell has been given the vacant number shirt having impressed in pre-season, while long-serving defender Lindsey Cooper, who is homing in on her 200th appearance for the club, moves to five having previously worn 15.
Wingers Anna Grey and Sophie Peskett have been handed 11 and 17 respectively having broken through into the first team last season.
Defender Emma Wallis, who has missed most of the last two seasons due to ACL injuries, will wear number 12, while midfielder Molly Sutherland is the new 15 shirt.
Georgia Allen, who returned to the club in the summer following a scholarship at Syracuse University in the US, will wear number 16.
Keeper Lucy Williamson moves from 34 to 13 and second-year academy duo Kyra Robertson and Abbie Jackson have respectively been handed 27 and 28.
Photo: Dave Francis
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