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If you asked me which player I thought had improved the most in the last 12 months, I’d give you a list of about 5 or 6 players that had all become better players, but the top of that list would be Molly Sutherland. It’s no secret the talent Ipswich Town has coming through into the first team, Molly being one of them. But with Allen, Lafayette, and King currently occupying the centre of midfield, any midfielder coming through will find it difficult to break into that.
Despite the strength Ipswich has in that area, Molly has been named on every team sheet this season, except for the away game at Billericay, where she was captaining an Ipswich side in the Suffolk Cup Final instead where she lead the team to lift the trophy at full time.
Molly got herself on the scoresheet in the last game with a beautiful strike from outside of the area, as the Tractor Girls’ run out 10-0 winners in the FA Cup 2nd round qualifying. Something I think we can look forward to seeing more of as Sutherland forces her way into Joe Sheehan’s plans.
England Training Camps have already been part of Molly’s career and wouldn’t be too surprised if Sutherland got the call again, given her recent performances and continued progression.
We caught up with Molly to take a look back at the last month of games and discuss the departure of highly respected Coach, Paige Shorten.
Which footballer, men’s or women’s, would you love to play alongside?
What team do you support?
Who inspires you?
I think how hard-working Cristiano Ronaldo is, is very inspiring.
3 songs from your playlist?
1)Martin & Gina- Polo G 2)Hello- Pop Smoke 3) Insecure- Jazmine Sullivan & Bryson Tiller
Do you have any pre-match rituals?
Not really, although I tend to tie my shoelaces up several times before the game.
A football memory you’ll never forget?
Winning a cup final with a team prior to Ipswich!.
Which teammate would you room share with on an away trip?
Which 4 teammates would you pick on your 5-a-side?
Lucy Williamson, Abbie Laff, Sophie Peskett and Zoe Barratt
We started the month hosting Cambridge City, which was moved due to the weather. Do you have to adapt your game when playing on an artificial pitch?
No, not particularly, I don’t think an artificial pitch affects our game. We train on both the grass and the 3G, so we feel comfortable that we can perform at a high standard on both these surfaces.
We started well, taking the lead after 2 minutes. It seems to be a good habit taking an early lead at the moment?
Yes, at the moment it definitely seems that way. I think it’s a good habit to get into, as in scoring early we take clear control of the game. It allows us to settle into the match without the pressure of scoring that first goal.
We come away with the win and a clean sheet. They did prove difficult to break down though. Could that have been the effect of changing to an artificial pitch?
I don’t think the astro had much of an impact. I think Cambridge City just set up slightly different from what was expected and so it was about realising this and adapting to try new ways of breaking them down, which eventually we were able to.
We dominated the game in terms of possession and chances, is this something you work hard on in training, retaining the ball, and being patient?
Yeah for sure! We know how important it is to take control of matches so ball retention in good areas of the pitch is definitely a focus of training. We’re a team that enjoys creating chances, however, we also understand the need to sometimes just be patient so that we can keep possession until a clear chance presents itself. This way we don’t lose the ball from trying to force a pass.
The Cambridge United game was an emphatic win. Laying down that marker early on must give the team confidence?
I think every game we play were confident with our ability to win, even if the first goal seems to never come. However of course by taking a quick lead it allows us to relax into the match earlier, hopefully avoiding the possible franticness of trying to find a late winner.
Natasha Thomas smashed in her first Hat-trick of the season against Cambridge United. How important is she when she’s in this form and she must be a nightmare for defenders?
When in form defenders should definitely be fearful! She’s a crucial part of the squad and like she’s shown in the last couple of weeks she’s very much capable of scoring hat tricks every game. With such variety in her finishes, it must be impossible for a defender to determine what she’s going to do next!
When you’re winning by such a big margin, is it difficult to remain focused and ensure the team doesn’t get too confident and lose its shape?
This is something we are consistently addressing as a team, whether it be before a game or within one, there is constant communication about staying switched on. Not only are we a high scoring side, but we’re yet to let a goal in this season so the squad has a real desire to keep this momentum of clean sheets going. The only way to do this is to make sure we never lose focus and stay disciplined within our formation.
Zoe Barrett got herself on the scoresheet, there’s a lot of potential in the squad coming through the Academy?
There really is. There are so many players that are in great form and Zoe is definitely one of them having scored a lot of goals recently. I think if younger players can carry on improving as they are, then in a few years the ladies’ side may be seeing some new faces.
We have to talk about your goal in the Peterborough NS game. It was quite a hit from outside the area, is that something you practice a lot, shooting from outside the area?
It is! I thought last season it was an area that needed improvement so throughout lockdown it was something I practiced religiously every week with my dad. I find that most drills in training don’t allow for long-range shooting so I now go out with a friend locally to make sure I carry on improving. Hopefully, my goal tally can keep increasing this season!
Another ten goals and another clean sheet, the whole team seems to be really enjoying their football at the moment?
We definitely are! It’s so enjoyable to be apart of a team that is able to score so many goals, as it begins to give players the freedom to express themselves, not only in the scoring but in the build-up play for these chances. I think it’s clear how confident the team truly is as there’s been such a variety of players getting on the score sheet.
Going up against smaller teams in cups, are you always wary of a potential upset?
We never underestimate any team we get drawn against as a side of determined, hard-working players can be dangerous. We prepare exactly the same as any other game to make sure we’re not at the wrong end of a cup upset!
We have seen some rotation in the team for this game and it speaks volumes of the talent we have that we can knock out a 10-0 win even with younger faces in the team?
There is such a depth of quality throughout the entirety of both the academy and the ladies’ side and so any team put out is one that can confidently win games. I think because players from the academy now understand there is an opportunity to be apart of the women’s side, it creates really healthy competition which can only help to improve an already exceeding group of players.
Sarah Brasero made her debut and also became the youngest player to play for the club. She made a good impact and certainly did herself proud?
She should definitely be proud of her performance. Making your debut for the first team is already something that comes with a lot of pressure, however in also being the youngest player to do so there were high expectations. Sarah dealt with this brilliantly and never looked out of place. I’m sure she will be getting time in the team again within the season.
We received the sad news this month that Paige Shorten is leaving us, and we wish her the best. How big of an impact has she had for the club and yourself on a personal level?
It’s been such a pleasure to have Paige coach me for the time I’ve been at this club. She was a manager that cared on such a personal level for all the players, which is something I think is going to be really hard to replicate. I’ve learned masses under her and I wish her nothing but the best of luck in her new role, not that she needs it!
Paige has overseen a lot of the current squad come through the Academy. So seeing them all progress into the first team and getting them England call ups is a testament to her hard work?
It certainly is a testament to her hard work. To have so many players be called up for their respective age group just shows the level of coaching we are exposed to at the club, and how far players are able to go with this support. Paige has played a massive part in all of our careers so far.