Following on from last week's interview with Welfare Officer, we're moving onto our Media Officer this week (who may or may not have also come up with the questions himself) as James Gill is in the hotseat.
Tell us about yourself?
I was born and raised in Stockport, growing up not far from where County Ladies play their home games. I eventually moved to the other side of the town and now live a five minute walk from Edgeley Park Stadium. At 19, I'm comfortably the youngest committee member, which has both it's benefits and it's drawbacks, obviously.
What do you do at SCLFC?
I'm our media officer so, first and foremost, I'm in charge of running our social media accounts, which was just the Twitter page when I joined the club. Outside of SCLFC, I'm a freelance photographer covering games in the EFL, FA Cup and the National League so its only appropriate that I use those skills with County. I photograph, film and write reports on all first-team matches, home and away. It essentially takes up my whole Sunday, particularly when we're travelling to somewhere far away (Bishop Auckland springs to mind).
I'm also our resident Slush Puppie enthusiast, buying one every time I'm at Stockport Sports Village. If you ever see me at a game, I'm most likely enjoying one of those refreshing strawberry-flavoured, half-frozen treats.
How long you have been doing it?
I've been with the club since the start of Pre-Season, mid July to be exact!
How did you get involved?
I've been with Stockport County FC (the men's team) for five years and have been photographing at the club (as a freelancer, but sometimes covering for the official photographer) and it was through the official photographer that I found the vacancy with the SCLFC.
Before being media officer for the club, I was previously Press Officer for the Cheshire Football League.
Tips for people in similar roles at other clubs?
At the end of the day, you've just got to work around what suits your team best. In the women's game, photos and videos are definitely the way forward. The game is growing and there's never been a better time to help out!
There are clubs across the country and they'd all benefit from having the right level of media coverage.
A massive game for our first team this weekend as they hosted fellow unbeaten side, FC United Of Manchester at Stockport Sports Village.
Fresh off the back of their 10-1 thrashing of Penrith last weekend, the Hatters were looking to extend their run of wins in competitive games this season to eight games with another win at home to an FC United side who hadn’t lost a league game in three years.
There were no changes to the squad, with the same side lining up in blue and white as there was the previous week, with Hanifa Douglas and Shellby Wolstencroft returning to the bench after a week of not being in the squad.
The teams emerged from the centre tunnel to a crowd of 134 supporters, with the away side’s supporters donning flags at either end of the ground. The Rebels attempted to get the psychological advantage early on by opting to make the side swap ends at the start of the game, meaning County were attacking towards the southern end of the pitch during the first period.
The visitors had the early spells of possession, before a piercing run down the right from Wilson lead to a County corner. O’Reilly whipped in the corner, which was initially headed back to the full-back. She then turned and curled another ball in, which was headed away from goal by the Reds’ defence. This header was only to be met by Jodie Hancock, however, as she buried the ball into the bottom corner from 10 yards out to give the Hatters the lead.
United continued to pile on the pressure, eventually breaking down the left and earning themselves a free-kick. The resulting free-kick was parried away by Blackett in the County goal, only to be tucked home by Rebecca Foster to bring the visitors level.
Late in the half, a strong run from Reeves through the midfield lead to the Rebels’ goalkeeper in tears just five yards from goal. She appeared to fall heavily on her ankle before Reeves slid in to get the ball. This stopped play for about five minutes while Ainsworth received treatment.
HT | County 1 (Hancock 5’), FCUM 1 (Foster 23’)
County came out in the second half straight out of the blocks. A great run from Brusell through the centre allowed for Chloe Mapp to pull into space. A superb ball through from the ex-Liverpool midfielder fell to the feet of Mapp, who lobbed the goalkeeper with an expertly-executed finish to give the Hatters the lead.
The visitors came close again at the other end. If not for some Blackett heroics, the Reds may have drawn level just minutes after Mapp’s goal for the home side. The County ‘keeper making a great save to her left to keep the score at 2-1.
Brusell got in on the action herself, with a header in the 58th minute through yet another set piece from O’Reilly. This gave the home side the two goal cushion they desperately needed. United made a few formational changes after the third, as they pushed more players forward.
The introduction of Douglas and Wolstencroft created a new threat for the visitors, one which seemed all too familiar. Wolstencroft was an ex-player of the visiting team, which made the next five minutes all the more sweet. A good pass from Douglas into the onrushing Wolstencroft was hammered home from outside the box. It was a moment filled with emotion for the striker, who ran almost half the length of the pitch and into the arms of manager Ronnie Green.
The visitors came close to a consolation late on, but a heroic goal-line clearance from Nic Connor prevented the Reds getting a second, preserving County’s three goal lead.
Scott Healey blew for full-time and the Hatters had done it. They had broken the Rebels’ three year run of unbeaten league games with an outstanding performance at Stockport Sports Village.
FT | County 4 (Hancock 5’, Mapp 46’, Brusell 58’, Wolstencroft 84’), FCUM 1 (Foster 23’)
Team: Blackett, Wilson, Hancock, Connor (C), O’Reilly, John, Reeves, Jones, Brusell, Webb, Mapp.
Subs: Douglas, Wolstencroft, Hayes, Massey
POTM: Katie Brusell
For a full gallery of the game, click here.
This is the first part of a multi-part series on the roles of our committee members. The first being Welfare Officer, Peter Attfield.
Tell us about yourself?
I grew up in South Manchester and now live in Chorlton. Apart from football my main interest is cycling, I have ‘several’ bikes and ride around 10,000 miles a year, so I’m probably the fittest member of the SCLFC committee (although Martin and Rosie might disagree)
What do you do at SCLFC?
I’ve been involved with SCLFC since my daughter, Niamh, joined the club in 2013 and I became Assistant Welfare Officer in 2014. I’m now the Welfare Officer since Chris Lee took over the Treasurers role at the end of last season. As well as my Welfare Officer training I’m also a Level 1 coach, Level 1 goalkeeping coach and I’ve done FA Youth Module 1 training. I’m a member of the FA Licensed Coaches Club.
I’m at training most Wednesdays, often for the full three hours from 6 – 9pm now Niamh is playing senior football. I’ll either be down by the pitch or upstairs in the Saxon Room (depending on the weather…!). I’m easy to spot, so if you want to chat about anything or just introduce yourself feel free to do so.
Where would you like to take County over the next few years with your work?
In the immediate future I would like to see the club form stronger links with Stockport County men’s team so we can share resources for our mutual benefit and move towards the sort of integrated club model that is now common at Premiership level. Promotion for the First team to the National League this year would be fantastic after being so close last year. Also continued improvements flexibility throughout the club, that allows players to aspire to playing at the highest level we can offer. I really value that this is a club that can take players through from the youngest Wildcats up to full senior First Team level.
Fresh off the back of another win last week, the Hatters were looking to make it eight wins from eight in competitive matches this season. Their opponents were Penrith, the most northernly side in the league, who become the first side that County have played twice this season.
This week's team news saw a return to the squad for Katie Brusell and Jeneyah Webb. Abi Hayes dropped to the bench as Jodie Hancock slotted back into defense, while Chaneece Reeves came into the midfield alongside Jones and John. Emma Massey also dropped to the bench to allow for Webb to start.
A rather slow start to the game saw County spend a lot of their time attacking down the left hand side, through Brusell, Jones and O'Reilly. The Hatters were reserved to only being able to shoot from distance, due to their opponents defensive formation, which transitioned into a back six when the home side had possession.
A defensive mishap for County put the visitors through on goal, with the striker curling home an effort, leaving Blackett with no chance of stopping it.
A free-kick to County, around 30 yards from goal, lined up nicely for O'Reilly but her effort couldn't beat the wall. The ball then fell to John stood 35-40 yards from goal, who looked up, saw the goalkeeper off her line and dipped a superb effort up and over the 'keeper and into the goal to pull the Hatters level.
A good break from Jeneyah Webb down the right then saw her push into the box, only to be fouled by the onrushing defender. The penalty that followed was taken by Chloe Mapp, who made no mistakes in placing the ball into the bottom corner.
Another good break from Webb, bursting through two defenders, allowed her to get space to cross the ball. Her cross was whipped in to the near post, where Katie Brusell was rushing in to glance the ball into the goal from close range.
Brusell was almost in again with another headed chance, but her contact with the ball was unfortunately not as accurate, as the ball flew wide. But this miss was all forgotten just minutes later as she took the ball just outside the box and hammered it home to make it 4.
HT | County 4-1 Penrith
County started strong in the second half, with a flowing attack down the right. Bruselll took the ball beyond her marker inside the box and curled home to make it five, gaining her hat-trick in the process.
A fantastic move in the midfield from John and Brusell, saw the ball roll through to Webb who confidently played an expert backheel pass into the feet of Chloe Mapp. It was all trivial from there, as Mapp buried the ball home from the edge of the 18 yard area.
A County change followed, with Hanna Wilson coming off for Abi Hayes.
Hayes made an immediate impact too, playing the ball well on the right for Brusell, who crossed the ball into the six yard area where Chloe Mapp was waiting, her header went past the goalkeeper and allowed last season's top scorer to complete her hat-trick.
Brusell showed off her skills once more as she got her fourth of the game with a cool finish in side the box. Manager, Ronnie Green, saw this as opportunity to bring on Emma Massey for Kath Jones as Penrith appeared to be on their last legs.
Claire O'Reilly got another on the goal tally for defenders this season with her third goal in two games. The full-back doesn't score easy goals, striking from 25 yards and into the top corner, giving the goalkeeper no chance.
Chloe Mapp closed the scoring and put the score into double digits as she tucked home her fourth of the game from close range just minutes before the final whistle.
FT | County 10-1 Penrith
Team: Blackett, Wilson (Hayes), Connor (C), Hancock, O'Reilly, Jones (Massey), Reeves, John, Brusell, Mapp, Webb.
POTM: Jeneyah Webb.
For a full gallery, click here.
In the first of a new series of articles, we look at the sporting ventures some of our players are involved in outside of football, both past and present.
Our first article features defender, Rachel Mason, who is also an international-capped Australian Rules footballer. we sat down with Rachel to get her take on the sport.
"I’m 22 and live in Heaton Moor, Stockport. I’ve recently graduated in law from university and I am looking at starting a masters in January."
Were you sporty as a child?
"I’ve been sporty for as long as I can remember. I was always opting to play football in the playground and have tried my hand at lots of sports including football, lacrosse and athletics."
What got you into football?
"I have two older brothers that both play football and I grew up watching their matches so it was no surprise to my parents when I decided I wanted to play too."
What got you into Aussie Rules?
"My housemate from uni went on a year abroad to Australia and really got into it, so when she came back the following year she dragged us all down to the boys uni team training. From there we managed to recruit a few more girls to make a team and had regular fixtures with other uni’s and London clubs. It is such an exciting, fast-paced and demanding sport, so I knew I wanted to carry it on as soon as I gave it a go."
Tell us about your achievements in that Australian Rules?
"I was recently selected to play for England in the 2018 Euro Cup held in Cork. We made it to the final but lost to Ireland and came away with a silver medal. I’m also training with the Great Britain team when they meet up throughout the year which is great to learn from the best players in the country. "
Is it tough balancing both sports with working/studying?
"In my final year at university I played for Coventry United and we were training twice a week with matches on Sundays, on top of training with Aussie Rules. Coventry was becoming too much of a commitment to travel over an hour to training and matches whilst trying to balance my final year at university, so I did have to stop playing half way through the season. But at the moment I’m really enjoying a 15 minute drive to training!"
Is there anyone you look up to?
At secondary school I had a PE teacher that really inspired me to be the best I could be in anything I did and I still remember that today. But at the moment I’d have to say my mum because she does so much for so many people and is generally just an amazing woman.
And, finally where do you see yourself in five years?
I’d like to be a fully qualified solicitor and settled in a job I’m happy in. I’d also love to have been selected for the 2020 AFL International Cup in Australia with the GB team.
Note: Manchester Mosquitoes are running a taster session at Burnage Rugby Club on Sunday 3 November, 11:00-13:00.
Following on from their impressive win away at Chesterfield last weekend, the side returned to league action as they hosted Wigan Athletic at Stockport Sports Village. A number of regulars were missing for the game, most notably Jeneyah Webb and Katie Brusell, allowing for a first team call-up for Imogen Porteous-Williams.
The Hatters lined up in a variation of the 4-3-3 formation, with Blackett in goal and Wilson, Hayes, Connor and O’Reilly in defence. The midfield was made up of Jones, Hancock and John, while Douglas, Mapp and Massey rounded off the starting eleven.
Out the sides came, County kicking from right to left, and we were underway. A few early breaks down the left from Massey didn’t go unnoticed by the Latics, who focussed their defensive attention on the recent Development Squad call-up. This left space for Mapp and Douglas in the centre, which was used to good effect as the Hatters were able to break away a number of shots from distance.
Some good defensive work from Connor and Hayes kept the visitors at bay, their only real attempt early on coming from a significant distance from goal, which didn’t trouble Lauren Blackett. Then, just before the 20-minute mark, a good break from Massey through the centre allowed her to square the ball across the edge of the box to Chloe Mapp, who curled home with a sweet finish to give County the lead.
Only a few minutes later, a corner taken by Douglas on the left found itself in a dangerous area as Abi Hayes attempted to place home from close range, with only some defensive heroics denying the defender of her first County goal. Massey continued to make a nuisance of herself, linking up well with John and O’Reilly on the left.
County’s final chance of the half saw the ball in the back of the net through Jodie Hancock, only to be disallowed for offside.
HT | County 1 (Mapp 19’), Wigan 0.
Another strong start to the second half for County, as Wilson and Jones pushed forward on the right. A last ditch tackle from hayes prevented the Latics from getting through on goal at the other end. The second half was shaping into a more even half, with the Hatters coming closest in the opening stages of the half through a Nicola Connor header from close range which fell just wide of the far post.
County finally got their second through some brilliance from Claire O’Reilly. The ball was played back from a Wigan defender to the feet of the County left back, who struck from 35 yards towards goal, wrongfooting the goalkeeper and doubling County’s lead.
The visitors pulled one back five minutes later, through a close range effort. This was swiftly followed by a free-kick on the halfway line for the Latics. A looping ball in from the No. 11 found it’s way into the box and then into the back of the net through a defensive miscommunication to make it 2-2.
This sparked some flowing football from County, a run from Douglas down the right led to a free-kick just outside the Wigan penalty area. The ball in from O’Reilly was superb and was met by Nicola Connor at the edge of the six yard box, who headed home to put County back ahead.
The 90 minute mark passed, and with just seconds on the clock, County found themselves with free-kick about 25 yards from goal. O’Reilly stepped over the ball, she took a short run up and curled the ball up and over the wall, then into the top left corner of the goal to make it 4-2.
FT | County 4 (Mapp 19, O’Reilly 67’, 92’, Connor 86’), Wigan 2 (73’, 84’).
Team: Blackett, Wilson, O'Reilly, Hayes, Connor (Porteous-Williams), Hancock, Jones, John, Mapp (Reeves), Douglas, Massey (Wolstencroft).
POTM: Abigail Hayes
A full gallery of the game can be found here.
Why is mental health an issue for football?
One in four people will experience a mental health problem in any year. Over 10% of the population have depression at any one time. There are millions of people involved in grassroots football, right now, with mental health problems. The examples of Robert Enke, Gary Speed, Frank Bruno and Marcus Trescothick show that mental health is relevant to everyone in sport, even at the elite level.
Mainstream clubs should comfortable including people with mental health problems, in training, matches and socially. We want to make coaches and team mates confident and comfortable about talking about mental health problems, in the same way that people discuss physical injuries.
“Mental health problems can affect anyone – footballers too. I’m pledging to support Time to Change… It’s ok to talk about mental health.” Tony Adams - England and Arsenal
There are also projects delivering fantastic work in football and other sports, specifically to help people with mental health problems. These pages include information to help new projects get off the ground, and help existing projects grow and improve to deliver more benefit to more people.
What can football do to help?
Sport can help in people’s recovery, help to mange symptoms and can radically improve the quality of people’s lives. Whether it’s in mainstream, community football clubs, or in specialised sport and mental health projects, football can deliver massive benefits. There are three key ways that football can help:
For some people, physical activity can be as powerful as medicine or therapy. In 2010 the Mental Health Foundation said that for people with depression, “Comparative studies have shown that exercise can be as effective as medication or psychotherapy”. Exercise releases natural chemicals like adrenaline and serotonin. It also helps to release muscle tension, raises the body temperature and causes tiredness. These all help relieve stress and provide relaxation – this is of particular benefit for people with mental health problems.
Delivering social inclusion
Making friends, holding down a job, keeping fit, staying healthy… These are all normal parts of everyday life. But the stigma that surrounds mental illness makes all of these things harder for people who have mental health problems. While attitudes to sexuality, ethnicity and other similar issues have improved, people with mental health problems are still often treated unfairly. Football can help to break this isolation and include people more in everyday life and their communities.
Helping physical health
People with mental health problems are statistically:
For some more reading, click here.
"Football saved my life”
Dated references from the Wizard of Oz aside, James Gill covers this weekend's FA Cup victory away at Chesterfield
Hot off the heels of their thumping win in Durham last time out, the Hatters were looking to continue their strong for with a trip to Hall Corner, former home of Glapwell FC, and current home of Chesterfield LFC. A tidy set-up, complete with paid entry and hot food, it offered a fitting setting for a hotly-anticipated encounter in the final qualifying round of the SSE Women's FA Cup.
Two changes from the previous cup game saw a few positional switches for County. Jade White, missing with a knee injury, was replaced by defender Jodie Hancock in the centre of midfielder and Katie Brusell was replaced by Hanifa Douglas, sitting just behind the front two of Jeneyah Webb and Chloe Mapp. On the bench were two debutants, Emma Massey (called up from the Development Squad) and Chanice Reeves, who was returning from an injury sustained in pre-season.
The home side kicked off, with County attacking up the rather noticable slope at Hall Corner, an early run from Wilson down the right was put out of play for a corner within the first 60 seconds. The resulting corner from O'Reilly was met by the head of Nic Connor, giving the Hatters an early advantage.
A tough 20 minutes followed, with the Spireites advancing closer to the County goal, but it was the Hatters who broke through via a quality Chloe Mapp volley from the edge of the box, extending the lead to two goals. This was followed five minutes later by a good run on the right from Wilson, who lined up for a cross, mishitting the ball and looping a wayward cross over the goalkeeper and into the back of the net to make it 0-3. It was a momentus day for Wilson, as she scored her first goal for the club after a number of years of being the main source of assists.
The Hatters continued to apply pressure for the next 15 minutes, but the major talking point in the final third of the first half was a stunning save from Lauren Blackett in the County goal, robbing the home side of a lifeline.
HT | Chesterfield 0-3 Stockport County (Connor, Mapp, Wilson)
A strong start to the second half saw Mapp come close with a sweeping shot from the edge of the box. Webb was making her presence known with a number of incisive passes, eventually coming close herself with a shot, which was blocked by the defence but Hanifa Douglas was there to pick up the pieces, hammering home from close range.
A fifth goal swiftly followed with a scuffle in the box, which saw the ball knocked into the goal by Chloe Mapp. Mapp was then replaced by Shelby Wolstencroft and debutant Emma Massey came on for Kath Jones.
Massey made an instant impact by making strong runs down the right hand side of the pitch. She eventually broke down the right and put the ball in the back of the net from close range to make it six goals to nil.
FT | Chesterfield 0-6 Stockport County (Connor, Mapp (2), Wilson, Douglas, Massey)
For a full match gallery, click here.
Team: Blackett, Wilson, Hayes, Connor (C), O'Reilly, Jones, Hancock, John, Douglas, Mapp, Webb.
Subs: Wardle, Reeves, Massey, Wolstencroft.
Player Of The Match: Lauren Blackett.
A day to forget for our Blues team this weekend as they fell to a 5-1 defeat to Division One South title challengers, West Didsbury and Chorlton. Goals from Dunlop (2), Wilman, Edmondson and Spencer gave the visitors the win.
The Blues will be looking to pick up a win this weekend with a trip to Wythenshawe Amateurs.