New-look Mossley AFC Women eyeing promotion

A PHOENIX has risen with a rebuilt Mossley prospering in the premier division of the Greater Manchester Women’s League.

Four wins, the latest a 6-1 success at Rochdale, and a draw from seven matches has left the Lilies in second place to the delight of manager Damian Blackshaw.

Mossley AFC Women

It has exceeded all expectations as shortly before the start of the campaign there were doubts there would be a Mossley AFC Women’s team.

The heart was ripped out of the team when eight players left to join former manager Chris Brookes who reformed a women’s team at Ashton United.

“We were left with only three signed players at one stage,” explained Blackshaw.

“We had to convince the remaining players to stay, which we did, and that the team was not folding.”

Blackshaw kept hold of the likes of Kenzie Bentley, last season’s top scorer who has scored eight goals in the first six matches.

Hair-raising: striker Kenzie Bentley in action (Photos thanks to Martyn Nolan)

Added to that, he has also signed seven news players: left back Holly Jones, defensive midfielder Nicole Worthington, attacking midfielder Jess Page, wingers Abby Hankinson and Lizzy Stack, strikers Katie Evans and Cerys Wilson.

Blackshaw also praised the impact new captain Natalie Leaver, who is from Mossley, has made in getting the new team to bond.

They are arguably stronger than last season as shown with a 4-2 win at Brookes’ Ashton United on October 13. The return is at Seel Park on Sunday, October 31, 2pm kick off.

Blackshaw said: “It has been a massive rebuild, but I could not be happier with the quality of the squad.

“I cannot fault the attitude, commitment and work rate of the players. I am delighted with the progress in only eight weeks together, and I am sure we will go from strength to strength.

“The club is right behind the women’s team and I am proud to be their manager.”

Blackshaw has also praised the work of his staff which includes new coach Lee Cuthbert, a former manager of Curzon Ashton Ladies.

The top four teams in the premier division have already established a big lead over the remaining clubs.

And Blackshaw has his sights set on promotion to the North West Counties League.

He said: “We would probably have gone up in each of the last two seasons but for Covid.

“From what I can gather, the top four teams in our division will be able to apply to go up which has always been our goal.

“Going up to the NWCL will be another big step in where we want to go.”

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