COV HAPPY WITH THEIR SWITCH TO THE SOUTH
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.”
GOALS GALORE: Coventry’s team