Notts County Ladies striker Ellen White believes her team will be better prepared for this weekend’s Continental Tyres Cup final after defeat to Chelsea in the Women’s FA Cup final, almost exactly three months ago to the day.
After a topsy-turvy season for everyone involved in the FA Women’s Super League and the England national team, the 2015 season ends at the AESSEAL Stadium in Rotherham as Notts County face regular finalists Arsenal Ladies.
For Arsenal, it will be their fifth consecutive appearance in the final, but last year’s defeat to Manchester City Women was a rare mark against their name and 26-year-old White believes both teams will have every reason just to go for it.
“You’ve got nothing to lose – it’s a final – you’ve got to go all guns blazing,” says the England striker.
“I hope it’s a big crowd and it will kind of be a home game for us, which should help. We’ve had three weeks of preparation and watched a lot of Arsenal games; they’ll be disappointed not to have picked any trophies up lately. They’ve got some very good players and it will be difficult for us but we’ve got some good players ourselves who can cause them problems.
“The experienced players in both sides is huge, you don’t want to get too ahead of yourselves, you need those experienced players to step up and Bass [Laura Bassett] is a great leader for us. Both sides have got international players who can add that spark and Arsenal have the likes of Casey [Stoney] who is vastly experienced, too. It might just come back to that one moment of magic from someone to win it.”
The Lady Magpies have only been around since 2014 after a relocation from Lincoln but have already formed a strong squad full of players who were present at the 2015 Women’s World Cup in Canada, including White herself.
Laura Bassett, Alex Greenwood and Carly Telford also represented England in the summer, whilst Jess Clarke and Sophie Bradley were part of the 2011 squad that went out to France in Germany. That experience has quickly formed a strong side that reached the first Women’s FA Cup final to be held at Wembley earlier this year.
County came out of it with just a silver medal after a 1-0 defeat to eventual FA WSL title winners Chelsea, but White insists her side will be better prepared for any obstacles thrown at them on Sunday.
“We were disappointed to not have performed as well as we can do at the FA Cup final. It was an incredible experience but we don’t want to just be the team that gets to the final all the time.
“We played really well for about 20 minutes until Chelsea sussed us out; this game will be about executing our game plan and having back-up plans if that doesn’t work. We’ve got four or five girls who went to the World Cup, so we’ve got plenty of experience in the team to deal with that.”
Whatever happens on Sunday, it’s been an incredible year for women’s football as a whole, White herself and the whole Notts County squad. Despite finishing 12 points below Arsenal in the league, both games were close, a 1-1 in Nottingham and a narrow 2-1 defeat down in London.
For White, she’s aiming solely for a gold medal after already picking up bronze and silver during different stages of 2015.
“It’s been a fantastic year for us – it will be even better if I can go bronze, silver, gold. The girls who did go out there [to Canada] had an unbelievable experience; the amount of support was incredible and we didn’t realise how much we had until we came back. It was fantastic to have people watching who were not worried that it was women’s football and just wanted to watch us because we were winning, and hopefully that projects us into the spotlight even more.
“Looking back, the year won’t be as good as it could have been if we don’t pick up silverware but to play at the World Cup and at Wembley for my club has been amazing. We were more disappointed for our families and the staff that we didn’t perform in the final so we really wanted to reward everyone on Sunday.”
White scored one of the goals of the season as Notts County pulled off an ingenious free-kick routine to unlock the Gunners earlier in 2015, but she’s keeping her cards close to her chest regarding any new routines on Sunday.
“I couldn’t possibly say, but let’s hope,” she laughs.
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