Our Phoenix squad have been navigating their season in new territory after a record-breaking season saw them secure double promotion from Division Three East to Division One in the Thames Valley Counties Women’s Football League. They sit a very respectable second in the table heading into the New Year break having played seven games and registering five wins, one draw and one loss.
We caught up with manager John Swallow to see how they’re getting on and what to expect from the team in the New Year.
On what’s his experience been moving up to Division One of the TVCWFL for the first time
Division One brings a good challenge to the team, you learn very quickly that some of your opponents have ‘been round the block a few times’ and you have to be a bit smarter, stronger and 100% focussed in order to compete at this level.
On what’s been the biggest challenge of joining a new division so far
The challenges for me were looking at my team sheet for the first game and the reality hitting me that four of our five defenders and our top scorer from last season were not with us anymore due to relocation, retirement, university and a season long injury but you trust the players that have replaced them and they have been superb from minute one
On his highlight of the season so far
On a match basis, our performance in a 4-0 victory against Slough was the perfect example of how the team has matured against a strong experienced team we had to be patient for the break through but once we made a tactical change. We ramped up the pressure and ran out comfortable winners.
From my own personal perspective, finishing a game very recently with five 16/17 year olds all putting in really good performances justifies the trust you put in the younger players and they do not fail to deliver.
On how he’s feeling going into the break
We go into the Christmas break on the back of a good result in the cup and a decent position in the league and full of optimism for the second half of the season when we know we have some strong and experienced teams to go up against which will tell us where we are as a group.
On what can we expect from the squad in 2023
We are committed as a squad to encourage even more of the younger players to come and play in a friendly but competitive environment and help them gain valuable experience as they transition into open age football and the different culture around the adult game.
Results so far
Banbury United Women’s First 0-8 Ascot United
Ascot United 4-0 Slough Town FC Ladies
Procision Oxford Ladies 0-4 Ascot United
Ascot United 3-0 Haddenham Ladies
Slough Town FC Ladies 1-1 Ascot United
New Bradwell St Peter FC Ladies 2-0 Ascot United
Ascot United 6-1 Harwell and Hendred
They have also secured a spot in the next round of the TCWF League Cup with a 9-0 thrashing of Aylesbury United Ladies Reserves.
Up the Yellas!