BOTN Radio: Live from Bowers & Pitsea (26-08-2017)

On Saturday 26th August, BOTN broadcasted from the Len Salmon Stadium. Assistant manager, Mark Ashford and head goalkeeping coach, Wayne Franklin joined to co-host, as it was duty calls for Bower’s manager, Rob Small (congratulations, Daddy!).

Full guest line-up: Peter Augustine (Surrey FA development coach), Hayden Bird (Merstham manager), Jody Brown (Heybridge Swifts manager), Steve Baker (Harrow Borough), Matt Briggs (Dorking Wanderers winger), Glenn Driver (Leiston manager), Nick Davis (Sittingbourne manager) and Gabriel Odiniki (Corinthian-Casuals attacking midfielder).



Dara’s Women’s Football Round Up (26-08-2017)


 For the first time ever, the Women’s Super League will run as a winter league during the 2017/18 season, kicking off on the 24th September. Founded in 2010, the WSL has always been a summer series. However, in an effort to improve player welfare and boost attendances, the FA announced this bold change last year.  

A very brief Spring Series took place between February and May this year due to the bigger gap between seasons, which finished with a league victory in the WSL 1 for Chelsea-  Manchester City settled for second place on goal difference. In the WSL 2, Everton topped the table and Doncaster were the runners-up.  


There was even more action over the summer as the Women’s Euros took place. England lost to eventual winners, the Netherlands, in the semi final. In the final, which took place on the 6th August, the Netherlands defeated Denmark 4-2.  


 In the WPL Premier (third tier), Crystal Palace currently lead the Southern division as they thrashed QPR 9-0 in their opening game. In the Northern division, Huddersfield Town claim first place with an opening day 4-0 win against West Brom.  

In the WPL Division One (fourth tier), Chorley top the Northern league whilst The New Saints lead the Midlands league. In the South East division, Actonians claim first place following an emphatic 13-0 win against Haringey Borough Women. Lastly, in the South West, Plymouth top the table.

 Crawley Wasps 

 Crawley Wasps, who we follow closely, defeated newly promoted AFC Phoenix 2-1 in their opening fixture of the London & South East Regional Women’s football league.



Crawley Wasps kick off the season with 3 points

On Sunday, Paul Walker’s side hosted newly promoted AFC Phoenix in the London and South East Women’s Regional League. A 2-1 victory concluded the game, Naomi Cole scoring the opener within the first ten minutes. The new captain also earned an assist in the second half, picking out Suzanne Davies in injury time to secure a win. Paul Walker commented that the game was incredibly close, the half time score only being a slim 1-0 lead to Crawley. AFC Phoenix equalised in the sixty third minute following a sharp counter attack, but the Wasps collected the full three points.  

 After the game, BOTN spoke to manager Paul Walker. 

AFC Phoenix are a physical side- did this physicality show and how did Crawley Wasps deal with this?  

The side were physical, fit and very organised.  They were very good in the defensive mode and were confidently disciplined to get two banks of four behind the ball when we were trying to press them and create opportunity. They were also very disciplined at making breaks in numbers when they had possession. On the whole, we dealt with the physicality well.  
Was this encounter a good test for the physicality that is expected in higher level football?  

It was a good opening fixture for us as it has done a number of things. It made us very conscious that we cannot be complacent at all this season and must not take anything for granted, including teams that have been recently promoted from lower leagues. The level of fitness and physical strength that we have encountered in pre-season came from Women’s Premier League sides, so that challenge has continued and we are prepared for what will come next.  

In spite of the challenge, Crawley were able to open the scoring in the ninth minute. Can you talk us through that goal? 
It was probably one of the moves in the game that I was most happy with. We weren’t at our best on Sunday and I always believe that an important part of our performance is the way that we connect our forward play and the play between our players in the final third. We didn’t do that particularly well over the ninety minutes, but we did it well in patches. Our first goal was a good example: we had a sequence of very close, quality passes that ended up with the ball being crossed into Naomi Cole at the edge of the penalty area. Her shot was beautifully executed and curled into the top corner.  

Naomi Cole has taken on the role of captain this season- how did you reach this decision? 

I’m a great believer in changing things and freshening things up. We changed a lot of things on and off the pitch for this season. Hannah Duncan has been the captain for the past three seasons, who has done a tremendous job. She has been a real asset to the side and the club. However, we spoke with her and mutually felt that it would be a good time for a change in captaincy as she had done it for three years.

We made the change with Naomi, who is the natural choice. She is proven at Women’s Super League level, captaining the Millwall Lionesses. She is a quality player, as well as being a leader on the pitch. She is heavily respected by all the players for her talent and the way that she conducts herself. We also appointed Holly Walker as the new vice captain, who has taken over from Michelle Ward. 

When Crawley conceded the equaliser, did Naomi have to lift the team spirit, or did the side respond quickly? 

We went in 1-0 at half time in a tightly contested game. With the possession that we had, we didn’t capitalise enough on it. I would’ve been more comfortable with a 2-0 lead, but it was 1-0. The first half was a clear indication that they were a competitive side and that the game was by no means won. We had to start sharp, but they also did that. They were very spirited and pressed us hard because they wanted to get back into the game.  
We had to soak up a period of pressure as they found an equaliser. There was a need to regroup, and that’s a measure of the quality of the side that we have now got. Naomi was instrumental in that and other players also responded to the challenge, which was pleasing for the management team. 
The other part of the response was that we had a really strong squad of sixteen players, and we made some bold changes in response to them equalising. We needed to create more offensive pressure at that time because they had stolen the initiative and we needed to change this. We did that through leadership on the pitch and the changes which we made. It paid off, as we spent a lot of time pressing them high in the last twenty minutes of the game and eventually scored the winner. In fairness to them, they also had chances at our end.  
What are your thoughts ahead of Crawley’s match against Parkwood on Sunday?  

The side secured three points against Fulham in their first match of the season, so they are another side that we cannot be complacent about. We must be completely focused and have an appropriate game plan to carry on our good start to the season.  

Dara Wilson.



BOTN Radio: Live from Lowestoft Town (19-08-2017)

For show two we set up at the Amber Dew Events stadium, and were joined by Trawler Boys manager, Ady Gallagher, and assistant manager, Dale Brooks.

Full guest line-up: Elliot Styles (AFC Hornchurch), Anthony Gale (Walton Casuals), Keith Rowland (Wingate & Finchley), Malcolm Porter (South Park), Drax Hippolyte (Staines Town) and Gavin Rose (Dulwich Hamlet).



Crawley Wasps 2017/18 Season Preview

Following a third place finish in the London & South East Regional Women’s Football League, as well as reaching two cup finals, Crawley Wasps search for promotion during their 2017/18 campaign. Last season, Leyton Orient topped the table with an impressive forty nine points; the side boasted sixteen wins, taking one draw and only suffering one league defeat throughout the whole season. London Kent Football United claimed second place, trailing behind the winners by eight points. Crawley Wasps were only two points adrift of the runners up, drawing one additional game and winning one less.  

Ahead of the new season, BOTN spoke to Paul Walker- manager of Crawley Wasps- to discuss the club’s pre-season and their aims for 2017/18.

Q. Firstly, can you talk us through your pre-season campaign? 

We played five pre-season games, all against Women’s Premier League opposition. It tested us against our goal of playing higher level football in the near future. It gave us a benchmark of the quality of the squad that we are assembling, being able to compete at that level.

We selected three WPL South teams, including Gillingham, Portsmouth and West Ham United. The other two were WPL South East teams, including Maidenhead and Southampton. We won three of the five games, losing two, which was a good benchmark for us. In one of those games, we were chasing the game and our ladies were quite disappointed to lose. The other three games, however, were very convincing wins.

Q. How have you strengthened your squad over the summer? 

The squad is probably as strong as it has ever been, with four or five new players coming in and retaining some of the players that we really wanted to retain. Another significant thing for the team is that we have started training two nights per week. The second training session is for strength and conditioning; we have hired a new coach to support these sessions. In addition, we have secured a brilliant partnership with Cottesmore Hotel Golf Country Club. In return, they have given us access to their gym on a Thursday evening for the ladies first team.

Q. By adding in those extra sessions and securing a new sponsor, have you seen a significant difference in the team’s performance over the summer? 

Since we started the sessions about five weeks ago, it is still early days, but we have started to see early benefits of our work at the Cottesmore facilities. We decided to move to this because, when competing against teams at a higher level, we sometimes struggled to compete physically. As part of preparing ourselves for higher football, we have created this arrangement. We expect to see significant benefits of our training this season.
Q. Your aim is to compete at a higher level of football- which clubs do you think will pose a threat to your ambition this season? 
The obvious one would be London Corinthians, who have had a very strong side for the last three or four years. For the past two years, they have finished as runners-up in our league. They are always a good, competitive side and we expect them to be strong in the league this year. There are two newly promoted sides that we do not know too much about. Carshalton are another side that have been very strong in previous seasons. Although, like ourselves, they face competition for players in their area due to higher level clubs.

Q. Ahead of these matches against promotion rivals, what will you say to your players? 
We will certainly do our homework in advance of the fixtures against these clubs, especially London Corinthians. We do know a fair bit about them and their squad at the moment, but what we will do is refresh our intelligence on them.
Q. What are your thoughts ahead of your first fixture? 

We encounter AFC Phoenix this Sunday, one of the newly promoted sides. We do not know a huge amount about them, but we expect them to be a strong, physical side and will prepare accordingly. I am hoping that, with the squad that we have assembled and our home advantage, we should have a competitive edge going into the game.

Full reaction of the game to follow. Dara Wilson.




BOTN Radio: Live from Tooting & Mitcham United (12-08-2017)

BOTN kicked off the new season broadcasting from The Imperial Fields, ahead of a tasty encounter between the champions of the Ryman South D1 (Tooting & Mitcham), and the champions of the Ryman North D1 (Brightlingsea Regent). Terrors manager, assistant manager and star player all joined the studio, alongside Mick Sullivan, Ben Eltham, James Cummins and Nick Robinson.