Read the full match report

Connor Laing
Wednesday 17 April 2019

Forest Green Ladies lost their final game of the season in a 0-2 result against Portishead Town Ladies at Kingsway Sports Pavilion.

A goal either side of the break saw the visitors ensured the win in what was generally an evenly-contested match.

Despite finishing tenth in the South West Regional Premier Division and with their league fate still undecided, manager Craig Darkin has been pleased with the overall progress which his side has made in his first full season in charge.

He said:” I would say 99% of the games we’ve played this season there’s always positives to take.

“The way we contained them (Portishead) in certain areas of the pitch and for decent spells of the game, it was definitely an improvement to when we went down to them and played. Huge improvement.”

Darkin says there is one aspect of the game which his team are generally behind the other in the division but knows his players are slowly improving in the physical side of their games.

“You’re not going to install a sense of not being intimidated when they come up against stronger, more physical ladies. I use the term ladies because we have a very young squad and when you’re playing at the standard we’re playing at.

“Unfortunately, some teams’ strengths are their physicality. Not necessarily their playing ability but their physicality.

“If you’re the type of player that gets intimidated by that you’re already putting yourself at a disadvantage during that game. There are a few players in the team that do get intimidated in such situations but from how they were at the beginning of the season to how they are now, it’s night and day.

“So even those players who are a little bit intimidated, they are nowhere near intimidated as what they were when they first played.

“The progression is always there, positivity is always there to take. Portishead know today they came and they had to play. We didn’t make it easy for them.”

It has been a tough campaign but Darkin already has plans in place to continue the progression of the team next season.

He said: “They’ve been given three weeks off. After those three weeks then we come back and we work hard.

“The likelihood is that we’re going to be training three days a week. Fitness programmes, fitness tests, they’re going to have all of this. In those three day we’ll probably do fitness work, individual work and team work.

“We can start working on lots of different bits and pieces. I’m already really excited for next season.”

The manager also indicated that he is looking to add a few new faces to the squad where he can ahead of next season to improve squad depth.

He explained: “We’re looking to do some open trials the week after we get back, so in four weeks.

“I’m going to spend the next few weeks advertising and getting us out there to see if we can get come fresh blood in and progress because we need at least eight more players just to get that depth back in the squad so when injuries do happen, which seems to happen for this team, then we’ve got players that can fill in.”

Darkin summarised the season for Forest Green Ladies and thanked those who contributed before looking ahead to next season.

He said: “I want to give a huge thank you to the players. I want to give a huge thank you to everybody that’s supported us this season and shown the love. Hopefully we’ve done everyone proud.

“We are a development team and we will continue to develop. I don’t think there were too many games this season where we didn’t show how we progressed from the week before and that’s not something that you get very often. That’s something that really stands out to me as to why this team can really push on and cause a lot of team’s issues next season.”