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Effort pays off for Emerson & Upminster

Essex County Women’s League Division Two title winners Emerson & Upminster Ladies FC was formed in February of 2022 having not a single player on our books, meaning they had to recruit a full squad of players.

“The early stages of pre-season saw us with six players, those of which were coming back from long term injuries or had very little football experience,” manager Charlie Massey-Reed told Women’s Soccer Scene. “As we progressed through pre-season we continued to promote the team on our social media platforms which sparked interest & saw us with up to 30 ladies at training!

“Our keeper was injured (out for the season) two weeks before our first league fixture, this saw Charlotte Nash-De-Villiers (who had never played football before!) put on the gloves for our first few league games, along with this we had a new squad and players were still getting to know each other, which saw a shaky start to our league campaign.

“The most important performances would have to be both games against Chigwell Ladies. The first game saw us travel to Fairlop in a game which finished 1-1, in that game we did not play anywhere near our best and were unfortunate not to score late on to take the three points. I believe this game was where the management team and players realised that topping this league was a real possibility. The return fixture at home saw the Ladies win 4-3 in an impressive display from the whole team.

“After the first Chigwell game there was a good morale within the squad & a real belief that they could go on to have a successful season, this was evident in the games which followed.”

Manager Charlie Massey-Reed is assisted by Jack Massey-Reed, with Megan Wiggins as captain. Maddie Pearce topped the division’s scoring charts with 23 goals in 14 appearances, whilst Hayley Knott contributed ten assists in those matches. Players’ player of the season was Megan Wiggin and Sienna Messore picked up the Most Player of the Match awards.

“The Highlight of the season was Makayla getting stuck in the toilets at Great Bradfords, five minutes before kick off,” added Massey-Reed. “This was filmed and got over 280,000 views on Tik Tok!

“It's difficult to highlight one individual who played an important role to win the title as every player in the squad played their part when called upon, whether they played five minutes or a full game, every player gave it their all every game.

“Looking back at the season I cannot be any prouder of the ladies and the togetherness they showed throughout the season and I really believe that they got everything they deserved for their continuous effort and dedication to the team. I really hope that we can keep hold of every player and show the teams in Division One what we are capable of as a team.”

Keynsham Town defender Celyn Garton holds off Natasha Wild of Selsey Women.