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Goalkeeping partnership reaping dividends for SSFC Women

Shotstopper Scarlett Gowans and goalkeeping coach Adam McGuinness make a formidable partnership.

The proof is in the pudding - South Shields Women have kept five clean sheets in all competitions, and have conceded just five goals in the league, which ranks joint-best along with Alnwick Town.

McGuinness, who arrived at the club over the summer, says he is loving his time with the Mariners, and has really enjoyed working with Gowans one-on-one.

“Scarlett has been a delight to work with,” he said.

“Not only is she a top goalkeeper, she’s also a top human being with a brilliant personality.

“I’ve always said the most important thing for players is understanding them as humans and getting to know them on a personal level, building a trust and understanding them.

“Footballers aren’t robots - we have to understand them from a human point of view."

Football is all about learning, and the hard work put in behind the scenes has allowed Gowans to develop as a player across all fronts.

McGuinness added: “Me and the coaching staff discussed at the start of the season about bringing in a player development plan from a tactical, technical and psychological point of view to help Scarlett, so she can develop her game further.

“We also asked her what she would like to work on so we can help her in any way we can.

“We’ve been working on 1v1s from angles and central areas, positioning, distribution, central and angle shot stopping, defending the space, defending the goal and scanning since pre-season to help her game tactically and technically.

“We can see she has been progressing very well in her development and her performances in games have been consistently brilliant.”

She made a spectacular triple save in the County Cup game against Gateshead Leam Rangers, and while the result wasn’t one to celebrate, moments like that will be.

“She’s made crucial saves in big moments for us which comes from concentration,” McGuinness continued. “That is a psychological trait in a goalkeeper, on top of five clean sheets so far this season, which is always a buzz for a goalkeeper, and I’m sure she will continue to keep more clean sheets along the way.

“She has a bright career ahead of her.”

As for Gowans herself, she has relished the chance to work alongside McGuinness this season.

She said: “Working with Adam has definitely been the difference this season, which is reflected in the clean sheet stats.

“Being young, it’s easy to reinforce bad habits that you pick up with inconsistent technical training, but Adam has been knocking those out of me and overall helping me to improve as a goalkeeper.

“Being a goalkeeper, you need psychological resilience, which I have struggled to uphold in the past, but we have worked on small methods to maintain a consistent playing mindset, in order to not let it affect me during the games, which has been a massive help for me this season.

“The training gets adapted to my needs, whether that be physical or mental.

“I feel a lot more confident going into a game, after training with Adam. He gives me that extra push to play well.

“I think overall, my game has been upped, and I owe a lot of that to him, his patience, and the work that we do together.”

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