COV HAPPY WITH THEIR SWITCH TO THE SOUTH

The Football League Paper - - WOMEN'S FOOTBALL WEEKLY - By Paddy von Behr

COVEN­TRY United are de­vel­op­ing a rep­u­ta­tion as the Women’s Premier League free-scor­ers – and in-form mid­fielder Ash­leigh Neville be­lieves a switch to the south­ern sec­tion is the rea­son for it.

Last year, Coven­try plied their trade in the North­ern Con­fer­ence of the third tier but were moved to the South­ern Con­fer­ence to ac­com­mo­date the new­lypro­moted sides.

Neville, who is in her third sea­son with the club, ad­mits the stan­dard south of Coven­try is higher, with the three clubs above them in the ta­ble – Brighton, Charl­ton and Cardiff – im­press­ing the 22-year-old more than any side in the north.

Cov have held their own, though, and, while they lie 14 points off lead­ers Brighton, Michael Foy’s side do have four games in hand.

An 11-0 thrash­ing of Ply­mouth ear­lier this month was the high­light of the league sea­son so far, while they put 14 past Knowle in the county cup last week­end and Neville – who has six goals in her last three games – be­lieves play­ing at a higher level is pay­ing off.

“All the away games are two hours, if not more, so there is a lot more trav­el­ling, but I quite like it in the South­ern League,” she said.

“It is good be­cause this is more of a foot­balling league, with teams like Charl­ton and Brighton.

“You don’t want to play against teams that just hoof it up the pitch.

“There are more teams to fight for the top po­si­tion, but I think we have a chance to keep go­ing and hope­fully fin­ish at the top of the ta­ble.

“We still have Charl­ton to play twice and Brighton and, if we take points off them, we have a great chance.

“I’m hop­ing to push on and get into the WSL. That’s my dream. It’s where I have al­ways wanted to be and, hope­fully, I can get there with Coven­try.”

While those Ply­mouth and Knowle wins were con­vinc­ing, they were noth­ing com­pared to when United met War­wick in the early round of the county cup in Novem­ber, run­ning out 350 win­ners.

“I have never played in a game like that,” con­tin­ued Neville. “Four­teen or 15 maybe, but never 35.

“When we kicked off, it took 45 sec­onds to score and it was 20-0 by half­time.

“The Ply­mouth win was good, too. See­ing as we scored only four when we played them away, I did not ex­pect we’d get 11.

“Ev­ery goal counts when it comes to goal dif­fer­ence at the end of the sea­son and it was a nice bonus to keep a clean sheet as well.

“The team per­for­mance was very good and I got four my­self.”

While the goals have kept flow­ing for Neville, the mid­fielder – who spent much of last sea­son fill­ing in at left-back – ad­mits they won’t mean much with­out pro­mo­tion to WSL 2.

“Be­fore I came to Coven­try, I was more of a mid­fielder-striker, but last sea­son and at the start of this sea­son I was fill­ing in at full-back,” she added.

“I was used to scor­ing goals, but not con­ced­ing is a good buzz, too.

“I don’t mind play­ing full-back, but it’s nice to be in the goals this year and, hope­fully, they can keep push­ing us to­wards the top of the ta­ble.”

PIC­TURE: Coven­try Utd Women

GOALS GA­LORE: Coven­try’s team

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