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WOMEN: Skarratt delighted with league progress

by Liz Owen

Manchester Futsal Women’s Club captain Leanne Skarratt believes her side are improving with every game as they prepare to take on Gloucester University on Saturday.

A 5-1 win over Bristol City last time out was hailed by the skipper as their best performance of the season, and ensured they top the Women’s National Futsal League after remaining unbeaten in all three fixtures so far.

Skarratt praised her team-mates for some clinical finishing and sturdy defending, and feels they can continue to go from strength to strength.

“We put in a really good performance against Bristol and it was an ideal response to the Enfield draw, when we let a lead slip with some sloppy defending,” she said.

“I was particularly impressed with our performance in the second half, even though we scored all five goals in the first half. Defensively we were solid, and we only conceded one goal despite a lot of pressure from Bristol.

“I think that was our best performance of the season; it was very unified and most of our goals were great team goals - what you would think of as perfect futsal goals.

“We are improving every week. We have a lot of new players in the squad and we haven’t been playing together for very long, but with every match we become stronger and it seems like we are beginning to gel as a team.”

Gloucester, like others in the league, are a relatively unknown opponent, but may pose the toughest test of the season for Manchester as they sit only a point behind them in the table, having won both of their games so far. 

“We’ve never played Gloucester before but we know they are a very strong side,” Skarratt said.

“They reached the National Finals of the FA Futsal Cup in June, where they were beaten by Bristol, but when both sides met again in the league this season, Gloucester came out on top in a 6-2 win.

“We will have to work really hard to get the result we want as we expect it to be a very close game.”

This is the final league game for Manchester until the New Year, as the other six teams in the league face off in the middle of December.

With a big gap in competitive action looming before Skarratt and her team-mates kick off against Oxford City, she feels the enforced pause is both positive and negative, adding: “It gives the team a bit of a break, yet on the other hand it may disrupt our momentum, but it is what it is and we have to go with it.”

Ahead of Saturday’s clash, goalkeeper Ana Marques is ready to play after recovering from a broken toe which kept her out of the Bristol City clash, while Siobhan Watson is eagerly awaiting her league debut.

However, Bruna Fontes is unavailable, both Becky Pilkington and Jess Hickman are still sidelined with long-term injuries, and key player Sara Lorenzo Garcia is currently on international duty.

“Sara has been a really important player for us this season and unfortunately for us - but fortunately for her! - she is away in Thailand competing in the Deaf Futsal World Cup for Spain,” said Skarratt.

“It’s a great achievement for her and it’s great for us too, because we will hopefully get to reap the benefits of the experience she will gain from that.

“Siobhan is a young player who has had a lot of experience of playing at a high level in 11-a-side - she has played for Liverpool and she has also been to an England camp.

“She is really keen to learn futsal and actually made her debut for us a few weeks ago in our friendly against the England Deaf Women’s team, scoring two goals.

“It will be a great experience for her and hopefully she will go out there, express herself and enjoy it.”

Manchester Women’s Futsal Club face Gloucester University Futsal Club at Birmingham Futsal Arena on Saturday 28th November, kicking off at 11.25. Follow live match updates via their official Twitter account @MFCWomensFutsal and stay tuned for an official match report on manchesterfutsal.com

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