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Sisters enjoy pre-season success
 Women's Football News 3 Sep 2009
Ambitious West Midlands League Premier Division hopefuls Stratford Town recorded their fifth pre-season win under newly installed manager Ross Thorpe recently as they inflicted a 3-1 defeat on Coventry City.
Having recently taken up the post as the new boss of the 'Shakespeare Sisters', Thorpe's early task has been to freshen up a playing squad which has remained stagnant for many years under previous managerial reins by combining a blend of youth with experience. This is the ingredient that new manager Thorpe believes is the receipt for success and his pre-season preparations have paid dividends as the Shakespeare Sisters recorded their fifth straight win having hit eighteen goals in the process while only conceding just five goals, four of those coming in a ten goal thriller as they beat Sporting Club Albion 6-4.
Back in the club's Mason's Road days under then manager David Guthrie, Lisa Bright - who has recently joined the clubs coaching staff - formed a formidable goalscoring partnership with Leanne Morrall. A few players may have come and gone through the ranks but Thorpe has seen the vast majority of last season's squad put pen to paper for the new season while adding what looks, on paper, to be a few good signings. Highly rated youngster Sophie Meade joins from Leamington Lions, having achieved the top goalscorer accolade in two out of the past three seasons, and she will team up alongside former Leamington recruit Linda Turner. There are high hopes for youngsters Alex Darwood and Naomi Hunter whilst the return to full fitness of Esther Slater, who has been troubled by Injuries in the past few years, would be a big bonus. Another major coup for Thorpe was retaining the services of last season top goal-scorer Lisa Slowther.
Off the field, Stratford have been boosted by the signing of a sponsorship deal with Leicestershire-based FHM Site Services and with Birmingham City using the excellent facilities at Knights Lane, supporters of women's football in the Midlands will not have too many free Sunday afternoons without national or regional matches taking place in Stratford Upon Avon.
The acquisition of top flight women's football to Knights Lane in the form of Birmingham City is another successful manoeuvre for Stratford who, under president Sid Keenan and club chairman Craig Hughes, have been long standing supporters of the women's game. Chairman Hughes can often be found watching and supporting the women's game on many Sunday afternoons.
Having formed an alliance with Stratford Town Girls, it is anticipated the club can hopefully produce some of its own stars in the foreseeable future to grace the stage at Knights Lane and it is hoped that Town supporters will get behind the ladies team who traditionally attracted good support in the past at their old Mason Road headquarters.
The Sisters kick off their West Midlands League campaign away at Bradwell Belles this coming Sunday and, with the Premier Division looking more open than it has done for a number of seasons, Thorpe will be looking forward to putting together a realistic title challenge in his first season at the helm of Stratford Town.

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