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There was a huge turnover in the playing squad during pre-season, where a new manager with new ideas came in. Only around eight players remained from the previous season. Considering the amount of new players and a new manager, pre-season gave a base for what has turned out to be a phenomenal season.
"We went into the season wanting to at least match what the club had achieved the season before and anything better than that was a bonus," midfielder Becky Hall told Women's Soccer Scene.
"Club captain Mags Hill played only two games before announcing she would not be able to play any further part during the season as she was expecting her second child. Couple that with our manager leaving in November, it very much became a real squad effort to pull together. Mags stepped into the management role and that transformed the mood in the camp.
"Experience, coupled with youth, has proved to be an extremely successful combination. We knew St John's would be a strong outfit coming into the season so an away 4-1 win against them in September set the stall out. At that time we were swapping places at the top of the table with Stafford Town who themselves hadn't yet lost a game, so when we met at the end of October it was the first real test of the team's character. We raced into a 4-1 lead but to Stafford's credit, they fought back to 4-4 and if anything looked like they might find a winner." Up stepped Becky Hall who scored a left footed half volley with two minutes remaining and they held on for the victory. That game gave the team the belief that they could achieve something really special.
With every game, the team grew in confidence and the unbeaten run extended week on week with some very convincing wins along the way.
To not only remain unbeaten but win every game until recently has been a real testament to how hard the team and manager have worked. A league record of 23 games played, 22 wins and only one defeat, with one game to play.
Natalie Hall had ditched her usual goalkeeping gloves and took on the responsibility of captain from Mags and has scored 34 league goals so far, whilst goalkeeper Charley Lee and her defence have only conceded 13 times all season in the league. A midfield unit that have worked their socks off all season and a squad that has fought every week for each other has made for a very rewarding season.
An incredible league campaign was backed up with two cup runs including a semi final defeat to Stoke City in the Staffordshire County Cup - a run which included a victory over higher league opposition in previous rounds. The first trophy of the season for Shenstone came in the League Cup where they edged out St John's in a tightly fought but very well deserved contest.
"A final mention must go to the supporters," added Becky. "The support from the sidelines has been nothing short of incredible and they have been the extra boost the squad has needed. Bring on next season!"
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