Chorley: “The Game Is Massive In Stature”

Ahead of Sunday’s FA Cup Third Round tie, Ben Gooden, head coach of Impetus partner club Chorley spoke to editor Ben Gilby about their win over Bradford City in Round Two and tomorrow’s home game tie against Newcastle United (10/12/21).

Above: Chorley’s Aleesha Collins strides through purposefully against Bradford City in the FA Cup Second Round last Sunday. Photo: Alan Walker – supplied by Chorley Women.

Chorley followed up their outstanding First Round win at home to higher division Middlesbrough by defeating Bradford City, their fellow FA Women’s National League Division One North opponents 5-0 in a game which had to be moved 18 miles away to Leigh – the nearest 3G pitch available due to adverse pitch conditions at their own home ground.

From a playing perspective, Ben revealed that the venue change had minimal impact on the team. “For me, it actually wasn’t that bad. I was coaching whilst everyone else panicked trying to find a change in venue. I got all of the messages after and then within about twenty minutes the situation was all sorted.

“If you ask the committee, they may have a different story as they did all the hard work. They did an amazing job, as usual, we just turn up and play football. We knew that the change in venue was a situation that may happen and we let the players know about it earlier in the week so it was easy to manage the players’ expectations.”

Chorley’s Second Round opponents Bradford City were a team that they knew well. Chorley’s head coach outlined what specifically he was looking for from his team in the tie.

Above: Chorley and Bradford City enter the pitch at Leigh last weekend for their Second Round tie. Photo: Alan Walker – supplied by Chorley Women.

“Even though we beat them in the league game, we felt we needed to change up the game plan for them. We changed our out-of-possession triggers with the hope that we could be more dangerous in transition, and we felt that our in possession plan against them the first time was good but we had to tweak the system slightly.”

In terms of how playing what was a home game so far away from Chorley specifically impacted the team, Ben said: “We spoke about it before the game and told the players that they have to adapt quickly. The pitch was a bit smaller than what we are used to so that took some getting used to but the players coped really well. 

“We told them that the best way to settle was to go on the offense as soon as we started. We felt that would push Bradford back and allow us to get used to the surroundings as we played. Regardless of the venue, the records still show it as a home fixture and we need to protect it as if we would at Coppull or UCLan when we played there and anywhere else we may have to play.”

Whilst the game saw a comfortable victory on the scoreboard, Ben saw both positives and negatives from the match, with things to work on ahead of tomorrow’s Third Round tie.

“I thought we played well in spells and in others, it was a bit scrappy. A scoreline like that has been coming for us though because we’ve been creating lots of chances but not getting as many shots off as I’d like. I thought we could have done better with some of the chances we had, but we’ve scored nine goals in two games so we can’t be too disheartened by it.

“We are always critical when we analyze our games and even with a scoreline like that, we have to take action points from it. We’ll have to make some tweaks for Newcastle United in the Third Round as they will pose a different challenge.”

Above: Chorley fire in an effort on goal against Bradford City in the FA Cup Second Round last Sunday. Photo: Alan Walker – supplied by Chorley Women.

Newcastle United are another team familiar to Chorley, as, once more they are a fellow FA Women’s National League Northern Division One side. Both sides have only lost one league game all season, so it promises to be a high-quality match.

“They have players that can hurt us that’s for sure,” Ben admits, “and they will be right up there at the end of the season. They move the ball quickly and look to dominate possession so we will have to work hard defensively.

“It sets it up to be a really good game but I think people are actually sleeping on the fact we’ve only lost one game in the league this season. I think our record this season shows the character that we’ve got in the squad.”

Whilst another Cup win could potentially bring about a tie against an FAWSL side, Chorley’s head coach is fully focused on what his players need to do to get past Newcastle United.

“The first thing is we can’t pay attention to what the next round can bring. We know the game is massive in stature but I’d make this a tougher fixture than the Middlesbrough game so we can’t look any further than this Sunday. We’ve just to go out and try and win a game of football.

“What I need to see is we come out and execute the game model for 90 minutes, play like we have been doing and show the heart and desire to win that we’ve had recently. If we can go about our work for 90 minutes, it gives us a good opportunity, but if we can’t execute it, then it could be a really tough afternoon for us.”

Above: Two Impetus partner clubs together! Chorley and Euxton Girls at last Sunday’s FA Cup Second Round tie. Photo: Alan Walker – supplied by Chorley Women.

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