Notts County and England goalkeeper Carly Telford explains how Notts County Ladies clicked against Liverpool, discusses the use of 3G pitches and pours praise on award-winning duo Izzy Christiansen and Beth Mead.
Notts starting to hit some form
This league is so small that the difference one win can make is huge. We’ve had a sticky start. It’s been a weird start because we played well in the cup without any reward and then we really under-performed in the game against Reading.
It was kind of ‘where do we go from here?’ We knew Liverpool were playing well and they have a lot of new signings but we set out with a really good game plan, the boss watched them a lot and we attacked their weaknesses really well for 80 minutes. It could have been different if they’d scored their first penalty but we had chances to score more than three before that.
It was a learning curve for us. We’ve never really been in such a comfortable position. Me and Bass we’re talking about how teams don’t really run away with games in the FA WSL so maybe we got a bit lost towards the end of the game. It went to 3-1 and then we allowed them to have the ball. Katie Zelem scored a really good goal and you think, ‘Jesus, there are still five minutes left’ so that was all a bit new for us. It shocked us but I thought in the end, we got ourselves over the line really well.
It was great for the crowd and our fans. I still need to watch it back but it’s great to be up and running with what is happening around us. Reading and Birmingham have been picking up points, so we want to be pushing on and get into that top three or four. I’d have loved a clean sheet but the three points are much more important!
3G pitches a big issue
They’re good and they’re bad. They have their positives – that you can play on them year round but the one at Widnes has been used so much because of the rugby that it’s almost not 3G any more. It’s like the old astroturf pitches – it’s hard, it’s worn in, it’s unpredictable.
You’ve got changes of surface now too. Most teams, like ourselves, train on grass and then when you go to Liverpool you go from that to playing on a tough surface and it changes the dynamic of how you prepare. It’s little things – the ball might run a bit differently so players mistime tackles and that leads to more injuries. If you were playing on that all the time, it would be fine but we’re not so you don’t know how your body is going to react to it.
The Liverpool girls picked up a few injuries themselves on it last year. It’s really tough when you change surfaces and people don’t realise that. Last year we trained on 3G pitches in Nottingham and when you go on the grass for a game, you pick up niggling little injuries that build up as your body adapts to the different surface. If it was a good quality of 3G pitch, then there’s an argument there to keep it, but it’s so worn in that it’s become really brutal – it’s really bad.
I can’t imagine the Liverpool girls enjoy it too much – it’s one of those where you turn up and just hope you can get through it. I don’t think anything will get done. You agree to be at a ground for a certain amount of time – I’d love Liverpool to say they can move grounds but that’s just not the situation we’re in with the FA WSL at the moment. You then have to agree a deal with a team to use their facilities, juggle the fixtures with their men’s team or another club or whoever, so Liverpool and Everton have to jump so many boundaries when it comes to turning around a pitch in pre-season. It’s a scary thought but everybody’s going to have to make do and put up with these injuries until Liverpool can arrange a deal elsewhere.
Christiansen & Mead awards richly deserved
There’s not one person that’s not spoke about what Beth Mead achieved last year. It would have been a travesty if she’d not got anything for her efforts! It was almost a bit of a Jamie Vardy story – nobody really knew anything about her and all of a sudden she was running away with the golden boot and putting Sunderland up there with the big dogs last season. They’re not a one-man team but she’s been a huge influence on them and she deserves every accolade. I’m sure she’ll get the chance this season to show her talent on the international stage.
We’ve always known Izzy was a good player, and moving to Manchester City was one of the best things she’s ever done, but there’s no doubt she’ll go on to be one of the best in the world in her position. She’s almost like Frank Lampard with how she arrives late in the box. Her movement is superb and I’m really glad she’s getting recognised. A lot of the awards tend to go to the strikers so it shows how much of an impact she’s made and I’m sure she’s another who’s now in Mark’s plans for the Euro’s. She’ll be working hard now to get back from injury but she’s a determined girl and I can’t wait to see her back on the pitch. She’s great to watch and she’s a great character – she’ll be a star of the future for a while now.
Read more from Carly here!
Follow Carly on Twitter @carlytelford1