South Shields Women keeper Scarlett Gowans insists the team wins, draws, and loses together as one result cannot define a season.
Shields’ final Yorkshire trip ended in heartbreak as Barnsley FC Women took the lead with minutes to spare following a goalmouth scramble which honestly could have gone any way, and the 1-0 defeat also ended the Mariners’ unbeaten start to the league season.
Twelve games remain, however, and there is all to play for in the NERWFL Premier Division as the club hopes to secure promotion into the FA Women’s National League for the first time.
“Playing against a team you’ve never played against before is always difficult,” Gowans said.
“Yes, you can watch the highlights, but that doesn’t match the same amount of insight you get from having experience against a team.
“With that being said, of course they were going to be challenging, the league table is as tight as it is for that exact reason - every team is a challenging side on their day.
“I believe that we contained them for almost all of the 90 minutes; we prevented the through ball, we worked well as a unit to win the ball back, and overall I think any team could have nicked it in the dying embers. Unfortunately it wasn’t us today.”
Gowans kept Shields firmly in the game as she pulled off a number of one-on-one saves which prevented Barnsley from scoring more, but she believes there’s a lot to be proud about as a team.
She added: “I am proud of my performance, alongside all of my teammates' performances today. It’s hard as a goalkeeper to be happy with a performance when you’ve conceded - nevermind losing it to a last minute winner - but you can’t allow one negative in a game to disqualify all of the positives.
“It’s great to see the development from last season to the current one, especially when me and Adam [McGuinness - goalkeeping coach] have been working so hard in training to perfect different aspects of goalkeeping.
“For obvious reasons, the goal at the end was disappointing for the whole team, but we win together, we draw together, we lose together.”
Nine of Shields’ last 12 matches are at home, and home support will be more important than ever if the lasses are to win the title.
She continued: “Nine home games coming up is exciting! With the postponements, we haven’t had the chance to have that home backing too often so far this season, however our away support has been growing, which is an extra push to bring home the three points.
“We love seeing new faces wherever we play, but these upcoming home games are a massive opportunity to come and support us, and get us over the line this season. We have had amazing performances at home this season, which were given a helping hand by the fans.
“We would love to celebrate with the home fans, and overall grow the support for the women’s game. We would love to see you there!”
And player of the match Natalie May insists Shields will come back stronger when they play Wakefield AFC Women on Sunday.
She said: “Yesterday was a tough result to take; our unbeaten run came to an end which it’s disappointing. I don’t think we deserved to lose the game - the way that the game went, the result could have gone either way but we did battle until the end.
“We will make sure we put everything right on the training ground and go again on Sunday.”
More details will be shared on the club’s social media closer to matchday.