Lincoln United Women seal East Midlands Womens Regional Premier Division title

Lincoln United Women have produced a fine display this season, going invincible in the league and securing a back-to-back county cup success.

Katie Davison, assistant manager, spoke exclusively to The Linc about the achievements of the side: “Promotion was always the number one priority of the club, after coming so close the last few seasons. We developed the squad in preseason and throughout the season. From the off, Chris [Funnell – Lincoln United Women’s manager] and I knew this could be the season. It was unbelievable from the girls.”

The Whites won the East Midlands Women Regional Football League, winning all 18 games to finish the season with a 100% record. With it their secured promotion into the FA Women’s National League, where they enter in the Division One Midlands.

A stellar season:

Davison said: “Well, we conceded only 10 which is a great starting point. Everyone talks about how many goals we scored and over 100 goals is incredible, but Chloe [Hodgson] and Annie [Ward] as two centre-halves have been so robust. If we know we are unlikely to concede, we know we probably win because we back ourselves to score.”

The Whites rotated goalkeepers throughout the season, with both Amy Hood and Rosie Davison featuring between the sticks.

“We are lucky to have two great ‘keepers so we could select whoever was in better form, or who suited the opposition better. But the pair between them have been fantastic, reliable and consistent,” Davison added.

The Whites’ assistant manager spoke about the importance of the entire squad, particularly after losing key players like Demi Barai and Betsy Thomas through injury.

She said: “Chris and I thought it could be tough, but we didn’t really struggle, the girls that came in were fantastic. Becky Ward has been sensational, and Alice Hayes has been phenomenal. And with the magic of Ellie Gilliatt and Lauren Churcher, we have been unstoppable.”

Lincoln United Women
Lincoln United Women end the season some 14 points better off than second-placed Chesterfield. Credit: Ed Mayes Photography

“We scored over 100 league goals and that’s all down to the work rate of everyone, but Lauren Churcher has been unbelievable, her technical ability is above everyone else in that league, so step 4 will suit her to a tee,” she added.

Lincoln-born Ellie Gilliatt has represented England under-23s earlier in her career, while she has also played in the top-tier of the game – the Women’s Super League.

Davison said: “Ellie Gilliatt is quality. She works so hard at the gym to stay fit, strong and healthy, addicted to football. She is brutal with herself and others but to score over 70 goals this season is unstoppable. She gets man-marked and sent on her weaker right, but she still gets by them.”

A team effort:

Chris Funnell has stepped down from his position of men’s first team manager, but will remain at the helm of the women’s team heading into the next season.

Davison said: “We have known each other for years now so we get on really well, and completely trust each other. And for me personally, I don’t think there’s anyone better in the county for me to learn as a coach from, he’s up there with the best non-league managers.”

The Whites’ assistant boss credited the many volunteers at the club, from the kitman to the club secretary to the caterers. She added: “It really is a team effort, not just the players but the whole club’s effort to help the girls achieve what they have.”

Lincoln United Women
The promotion means Lincoln United Women will face rivals Lincoln City in league action next term. Credit: Ed Mayes Photography

The season is not over yet:

Despite capturing the league title and winning the Lincolnshire FA County Cup, United have their eyes on completing a potential treble.

They face Basford United in the league cup final on Sunday, March 26.

Davison said: “We talked about going for it last season to be honest, but we fell just short and finished with the double. So for this season, we wanted to go one better. We knew this was the season to win promotion and hope the cups come with it.”

The Whites will make the move up to step four of the English women’s football pyramid next season, meaning they will be in the same league as rivals Lincoln City.

Feature Image Credit: Ed Mayes Photography

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