Unbeaten Wolves can reclaim top spot in the FA Women’s National League’s Northern Premier Division with a win at bottom of the table Hull City on Sunday – just don’t tell captain Anna Price that victory over a team with no wins at all from their 13 games to date is a foregone conclusion.
Price should be confident after beating the Tigers 3-2 in the league and then thrashing them 7-0 in the League Cup earlier this season. But those scorelines, insists the experienced defender, do not tell the full story of each match.
“We were 2-1 down with a quarter of an hour left before coming back to win the league match,” she points out, “and in the League Cup tie it was only 1-0 at half-time before we had a fantastic second half in front of goal.
“We’ll obviously be expected to beat them again, but anybody can beat anybody in this division as some recent results have shown. You’ve got to be on your game in every game if you’re going to get the results you want.”
Price and her colleagues have certainly got the desired results of late, with what could prove to be the defining week of the season just completed as wins against top team Derby County and local rivals West Bromwich Albion were followed by a hard-fought draw at second in the table AFC Fylde on Sunday.
After relinquishing the leadership due to having no league matches in three months, those results took Wolves up to third place and within a point of Fylde and two points behind Derby – and with three games in hand on both sides.
With neither the Rams nor Fylde having fixtures this weekend, the way is open for Wolves to jump ahead of them and perhaps – as National League followers are suggesting – set themselves up for a concerted title challenge.
Price, however, notes pragmatically: “We’re in our first season in this division after promotion and we’re only halfway through the campaign, so I won’t listen to any talk of winning the league at this stage.
“As a team we really don’t focus on the table, I think if we did that it would put too much pressure on ourselves. Our focus is on each match as it comes along, that’s how it has to be and that’s how we’ve been getting good results.
“Not many people outside our group would have expected us to get seven points from our last three games, especially after we’d had such a long lay-off from the league and then coming up against three very tough opponents in a week.
“But we came from behind to beat a very strong Derby side, then we won well at Albion with a different game plan and tweaked things again to get a draw at Fylde with a performance that wasn’t the prettiest but got us a valuable point.
“Now we’ve got Hull and we’ll go up there feeling confident but not over-confident. If we can win the game it’ll feel good to be back on top of the table, but there’s no way we’re going to get ahead of ourselves at any stage of the season.”