Huge few weeks for Moneyfields Women – a cup final and hopes of promotion to the National League
Moneyfields Women have a huge few weeks on the horizon - both on and off the field.
They are anxiously waiting to see whether their application for 'upward movement' into the Women's National League as part of a restructure is approved.
But they will at least have something to occupy their minds as they await a decision, with a Women's Southern Region Subsidiary Cup final to look forward to on Sunday, May 23.
Karl Watson's team set up a showpiece occasion with Abingdon United after beating AFC Bournemouth CST 3-2 penalties following a semi-final stalemate.
He is now hoping they can enjoy a double celebration with some silverware followed by news the club will be promoted out of the Southern Region Premier Division as part of league restructuring.
Watson would be 'shocked' if his team were not moved into the National League structure having been top of the table with 10 wins from 10 matches when 2019-20 was declared null and void. They also won both their league games in 2020/21, including a 12-0 hammering of Newbury.
The manager said: 'It’s been a nervy couple of weeks.
'They’ve now allowed the movement between leagues so we’ve put an application in for National League football.
‘In all honesty, it’s where we need to be. It’s no good for my girls to play one tough game every six or eight weeks and roll out six, seven, eight or nine like we did against Woodley the week before.
‘I believe if we go up, which I’d be massively shocked and disappointed if we didn’t, if we do go up we’re not going up to finish mid-table and say ‘well done’.
‘Wwith the way the club and ground is developing in partnership with PITC (Pompey in the Community), I’m fully expecting to be there or thereabouts next season if they allow us to go up.'
Moneys are hoping to be playing in the National League Division 1 South West in 2021/22. That’s the fourth tier of the women’s game in England and one division behind Portsmouth who play in the National League Southern Premier.
The Division 1 South West currently includes the women’s teams of pro clubs Southampton, Swindon, Exeter and Cheltenham.
Watson, meanwhile, has welcomed the chance for his squad to return to action this season after the curtailment of league campaigns because of the pandemic.
I’ve been pushing the girls in the past few weeks,’ he explained.
‘They talk about momentum in football and we started off (in the competition) against Bournemouth Development and we weren’t very good.
'We had a friendly the week before against Saltdean where we weren’t very good. We built it up, we worked on things, we spoke about things and looked at footage and went back over stuff.
‘Each game we’ve got progressively better and there were good passages of play at the weekend, there are areas we need to tighten up on, but we created an even amount of chances.'
Moneys haven’t conceded a goal in the Subsidiary Cup. After beating Bournemouth Development 3-0 in their opening tie, they defeatedNew Milton 4-0 and Woodley 9-0 – Sheree Bell-Jack and Kayleigh Tonks both scoring twice in the latter success.
Goalkeeper Lauren Sayler was Moneys' shoot-out hero in the semi-final, saving two penalties while also pulling off some fine stops in normal time as it finished 0-0 against Bournemouth.
The Cherries had knocked Moneys out of the Women's FA Cup earlier this season in another tie that went to penalties.