In this, the first of our post-season catch-ups with Impetus’ sponsored players and partner clubs, Lisa Topping of FA Women’s National League Division One North side Chorley spoke to Ben Gilby (2/6/22).
Above: Lisa Topping (right) in action for Chorley against Newcastle United this season. Photo: John Shirras.
For the second season running, Impetus sponsored Chorley defender Lisa Topping. The Lancashire side has had a superb season in league and cup. Only four league defeats all season and a marvellous run in the FA Cup, defeating higher league opposition along the way. Lisa was overjoyed about so many elements of the season.
“Yes, absolutely, we did have a very successful season. We managed to take valuable points away from big clubs in the league, including an amazing win over Newcastle United towards the end of the season, who were fighting for top spot and we had a really good run in the FA Cup. But above all that, we’ve seen young talent come through the development and reserve teams into the first team squad which is fantastic to see.”
The former Liverpool defender believes that Chorley probably haven’t had the attention they deserved this season as a result of their impressive sequence of results.
“We only had four losses in the league this season which is a very low number and demonstrates how hard it is for teams to play us and get an easy result. One thing about Chorley is that teams will always have to work hard to take anything from us.
“Chorley is a real family club and always has been. But, this season the camaraderie between the players and amongst the coaching staff has been a different level. We all fight for each other and we’re all striving for the same goals for the team and the club.
“We want to be there and we want to train hard. In terms of training too – everyone has been improving this year and that’s down to Ben (Gooden, head coach) and the coaching staff’s time, commitment and focus.
“In general, we’re all tight as a team which is fantastic. We’re good at welcoming in new players and having fun at training and on game days. But, our skipper Laura Walker plays a key part, without a doubt. She’s a fantastic captain and a worthy leader of the Chorley team. She checks in with everyone and makes sure we’re all always focused on what we need to achieve.”
In such a fantastic season, there were so many potential high points, but for Lisa, it was their astonishing FA Cup game with higher level Middlesbrough that stands out.
“It was a fantastic moment for the club to beat a team in the higher league and progress to the next round when all the odds were against us. There was a buzz around the club for weeks. It went one way then the other and then to penalties!
“There was one other highlight for me. Scoring the opener against Leeds United away in the league. I don’t score very often but that one was a special goal and on YouTube too! My Grandma passed away a few weeks earlier so I was able to dedicate that one to her.”
Lisa has been happy with her performances this season, highlighting: “I’ve been a part of a team and backline who has not allowed many losses and I’ve managed to get my name on the score sheet a couple of times. As a left back, I always try to be hard to beat regardless and enjoy getting forward into the attack too and I think I’ve done that.”
Whilst the season now at an end, the defender is still focusing on keeping in good shape ahead of the new campaign.
“I’ve signed up for a gym now that the season is over. For me, it’s important to not lose all of the fitness I’ve gained so I’ll go straight into fitness work in preparation for next season.
“Personally, it’s a nice time to have full weekends back for a little bit and not have Sundays booked up, so I’ll go on lots of camping trips or walking over the weekends and make use of the spare time.”
Lisa believes that Chorley’s mix of exciting youngsters and experienced players puts them in a really good place to experience more success in 2022/23.
“Next season is going to be exciting and I can’t wait. The blend of players that we have puts us in a really good position to build on this past season and push on further towards our goals.
“The group that we have is extremely special with a good work rate and a tough attitude that makes us hard to break down. Another pre-season together will allow us to fix a few things and come back stronger.”