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Interviews

Interview with Molly Sutherland

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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?

Steven Gerrard

What team do you support?

Liverpool!!!

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?

Abbie Laffy

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.

Categories
Post Match Verdict

Post Match Verdict – Billericay Town (A)

Sunday 27th September

Billericay Town 0-3 Ipswich Town

Ipswich Line Up –

Williamson (GK), Hubbard (c), Cooper, Peake, Boswell, Egan, Lafayette, King, Peskett, Grey, Thomas

Subs –

Meollo, Biggs, Allen, Barrett, Rossiter

Billericay Line Up –

Baker (GK), Lumley, Lancaster, Dougal, Porter, Blackie, Addison, Morton, Rushen, Charles, Stimson

Subs –

Moody, Harley, Stacey, Fuller, Mullett

Debuts –

Joe Sheehan handed a first team debut to Right Back Maria Boswell. An impressive performance from the youngster who looked really assured in possession and calm under pressure. Boswell played key parts in the game, overlapping Sophie Peskett and whipping crosses into the opposition box. New signing Georgia Allen also made her much anticipated return to Ipswich Town, coming on as a Half Time substitute to replace Centre Half Lindsey Cooper, who took a knock in the first half. Georgia made an instant impact, causing Billericay major issues with her creative spark and runs into the box.

Key Events –

Ipswich started off slow and struggled to match the pace of Billericay’s play, getting caught in possession and losing the ball easily in the middle of the pitch. The Tractor Girls struggled to create chances and put pressure on the hosts. Billericay come close and forced good saves from Williamson. Sophie Peskett’s pace caused the Full Back some issues as well as Anna Grey on the opposite side, although Grey didn’t look fully fit after her return from injury. Billericay had done their homework on Ipswich, closing down quickly, especially when they tried to play out from the back. Ipswich broke the deadlock just before the break when Paige Peake does what Paige Peake does best and scored direct from a set piece. Despite the blustery conditions, a Peake corner caused Baker an issue, looped over her and ended up in the back of her net, much to the keepers frustration, who had a decent first half.

Georgia Allen’s introduction to the match at Half Time, replacing Lindsey Cooper, caused Billericay problems. Allen, being used as a central playmaker, was quick on the ball despite having her knee still strapped up and played a brilliant through back to assist Sophie Peskett’s goal. Allen nearly got a goal herself from a Boswell cross, but the ball arrived just a split second too early for the Midfielder. Abbie Lafayette then come close, as she got on the end of a Paige Peake corner but was denied by the crossbar. Maddie Biggs come on to replace Natasha Thomas and didn’t take long before she made her mark, getting on the end of Sophie Peskett’s low cross and touching the ball past the outrushing keeper. Biggs looked very lively after her goal, and probably could have got a second not long later.

The Ups and Downs –

Town struggled to keep up in the first half and took a good 30min to match their opponents. This put the defence under pressure but they coped brilliantly and stood firm. Lucy Williamson pulled off some really good saves to keep Billericay out when it looked like a goal was inevitable.

Eloise King and Anna Grey returned from injury but took a while to bed into the match. A good run out for the duo will work wonders for them heading into next weeks game against Cambridge City on the fitness front and a full week of training to back them up.

A special mention to the Referee who seemed to pull his Hamstring just before the break but managed to see out the game hobbling round the Centre Circle for much of the 2nd half.

Player Of The Match –

A standout performance for debutant Maria Boswell gets her our Player Of The Match vote for this game. Boswell looked very confident and assured with the ball, even when under pressure. During the first half, when Billericay were on top and posing a huge threat to the Town goal, Boswell was solid and stopped any threat from that side of the pitch. Maria also made a big contribution in attack, overlapping Sophie Peskett and getting balls into the box. Again looking very confident moving forward and wasn’t scared to run and take on defenders.

Officials –

Not the worst officials we have ever had, especially after last weeks!. Referee got most decisions correct, for free kicks, but did miss what looked a penalty for Ipswich in the first half. A few questionable decisions regarding whose throw -in it was though, given to the wrong team. A 7/10 seems about right.

Categories
Match Previews

Match Preview – Hashtag United

Ipswich Town Women v Hashtag United Women

Sunday 20th September – Goldstar Ground, Felixstowe, IP11 9HT – 2pm Kick Off (Gates open 12:30pm). Our Ground Guide can be found here

Due to Covid restrictions, this game will be limited to 400 supporters on a first come first served basis.

The Tractor Girls are finally back after last seasons campaign was cut short due to the Pandemic and they start at home against Hashtag United, who were know as AFC Basildon last season. Ipswich will have a chip on their shoulder after missing out on promotion last season, the Tractor Girls were sitting top of the league before the season got cut short. We teamed up with HashtagWomensFootball to look ahead to this Sundays curtain raiser.

Pre-Season

The Tractor Girls have had a really good pre-season, starting off with a win at Needham Market where they easily won 17-1 which undoubtedly gave the girls a huge boost of confidence. This was followed by a 0-2 win away at St Ives Town and a 0-6 win away at MK Dons. Watford proved too strong and beat us 3-0 on their own turf. Last Sunday, the First Team took part in a showcase match against the u21’s which saw some really good performances and a chance for fans to check out the new youngsters Joe Sheehan signed during the Summer.

New Faces

Ipswich have made a handful of new signings during the Summer, the standout one being Georgia Allen who returns to Suffolk after a spell with Arsenal and a Scholarship in the US. Ipswich fans will be itching to see the former Arsenal youth Captain return to where it all started for her and see her back in action in Blue. Georgia has joined the club at a time where Captain Amanda Crump is out of action due to pregnancy which could see Allen step into that Attacking Midfield role, but will face tough opposition from youngster and Ipswich Town fan Eloise King who really staked her claim for the position last season with impressive performances and goals.

Other new faces such as youngsters Issy Bryant and Lucy O’Brien who have put in good performances over pre-season will be wanting to stake a claim for first team places. Ipswich also have a trialist they are currently taking a look at and has played during pre-season fixtures.

Team News

Ipswich manager Joe Sheehan will have a selection headache with such a strong squad available to him and all the players showing good quality. Last season’s top scorer Natasha Thomas will be looking to hit the ground running in her bid for a Golden Boot season and will face tough opposition from youngsters Maddie Biggs and Zoe Barratt who both put in impressive performances last season. Ellie Rossiter, who started out as a Winger, has seemed to have been moved into a RB/RWB role and will be looking forward to getting back into competitive action after spending the back end of last season nursing an injury. Blue Wilson returned from a knock during Ipswich Town’s Showcase match last sunday and Georgia Allen will hopefully be back after missing some of pre-season due to injuries. Emma Wallis is returning from a second ACL injury but is expected to miss the start of the season as she continues her rehab.

Milestone

Lindsey Cooper’s next competitive fixture will be her 200th for Ipswich and, as a regular starter, could be in line to hit this landmark on Sunday. Lindsey was a big player for Ipswich last season, not just at the back, but also causing opposition defenders to have nightmares trying to mark her in the box.

Player focus –

All eyes will be on new signing Georgia Allen as the former Arsenal Captain and England International looks to make her Ipswich Town debut after her return in the Summer. Georgia will be a brilliant leader in a very young, but talented, side and fans will be looking to see where Manager Joe Sheehan fit her into his team this Sunday.

Hashtag United Women’s Pre-Season

Five wins from seven, including a victory against tier three outfit West Bromwich Albion, instantly confirms that it has been a largely successful pre-season on the pitch for the Essex side. Perhaps more pleasing for manager Jason Stephens is that the performances in four of those wins, as well as the narrow 3-2 defeat to Crawley, have set the bar at a very high level heading into the debut league campaign under the Hashtag United name.

The Tags have picked up where AFC Basildon left off, scoring goals for fun with an attacking brand of football that’s sure to be a hit with the new legion of supporters. While Sunday’s clash is, on paper, probably the hardest of the entire season, the visitors will make the trip to Suffolk with optimism.

The Summer Signings

While the bulk of the Hashtag United squad have carried over from AFC Basildon following the merger, several new faces have arrived at Park Lane this summer. Most notably, striker Evie Clarke has joined from tier two side London City Lionesses, to spearhead a frontline that already boasts this division’s top scorer of 2019/20 in Kelly Wealthall. Her quality has been evident in pre-season, and a big season will be expected of the former England youth player.

Clarke is joined by Katie Pounder, Stef Paci, Ella Hill, and Imogen Riches, adding quality all over the pitch. Hashtag United have lost a couple of promising former AFC Basildon players, but the key performers from last season have all remained – except defender Alex Bailess, who was forced into early retirement but now enjoys a non-playing role at the club – and the squad depth certainly looks a lot stronger thanks to the summer recruitment.

Hashtag United Women Team News

In addition to the pleasing performances, the pre-season schedule has been relatively kind to Hashtag United Women in regards to injuries. After coming to terms with the Bailess news, which came a few days before the first pre-season fixture, the club hasn’t been hit with any long-term absences. A couple of players have picked up knocks along the way but should be in contention for Sunday’s trip to Felixstowe. However, Pounder was an early casualty in Sunday’s friendly at West Brom, being replaced through injury just seconds into the contest and will be a doubt for this weekend.

Sunday’s opener is a massive occasion for the visitors, and not only because it delivers their first ever competitive fixture. This is a club that will be gunning for promotion but are all too aware that the talented Tractor Girls are the side to beat. Any team that can topple Joe Sheehan’s ladies will have an outstanding shot at lifting the title. For Hashtag, then, this is the litmus paper that will truly indicate where they currently stand and what improvements – if any – will be required to surmount a genuine push for promotion.

No prizes are given out in August, or rather September in this unprecedented schedule, but this already feels like a six-pointer before a ball has been kicked. For the visitors, the memories of last year’s cup clash provide another source of motivation. While there’s no shame in losing such a difficult fixture, a repeat scoreline won’t be tolerated.

One To Watch

Poppy Binding. Over the past 12 months she has progressed from a technically gifted youngster that could deliver flashes of brilliance to a genuine star that demands the ball, unlocking defences seemingly at will. If pre-season is any barometer, she may find the target with greater regularity over the next few months too.