A look at Women’s Football in Preston

I guess you could say that Preston is the home of women’s football.  The achievements of Dick, Kerr Ladies received national coverage last year when a monument recognising their achievements was unveiled at Preston’s Deepdale Stadium.

Nationally, the women’s game has started to take off. Thousands turn up to watch England’s ‘Lionesses’ when they play and you may already  have noticed the increasing amount of media coverage around the top teams these days

It appears that many Premier League sides have also recognised the growth potential in the women’s game. The likes of Chelsea, Liverpool, Man, City and Everton all have teams playing in the top tier – the FA Women’s Super League. This season Manchester United will also join the fray when their newly formed team goes straight into the leagues at the predominantly part-time Championship level.

If you are interested in watching the women’s game locally, there are  a number of teams to choose from.

For the last few seasons I have been photographing the exploits of Preston North End Ladies who play at UCLan Arena. PNE Ladies play in Division One North of the Regional Leagues along with another local team, Penwortham Town Ladies who were newly promoted to this league at the end of last season. This is in effect ‘tier six’ of the women’s football league structure, which is a little complex to say the least.  

In the League above PNE and Penwortham is another local team Sir Tom Finney Ladies who are playing in the North West Women’s Regional League Premier Division. They also play their football at UCLan Arena. 

Move up another couple of leagues to the National League, Premier Division North and you will find Fylde Ladies who play their football at the fabulous Mill Farm stadium. When you get to this level, you will normally find there is a small admission charge to go and watch the games.

So, that’s a round up of the local teams playing in the top few tiers of the women’s game. The season started for Fylde Ladies last weekend when they won away at Sunderland. In September it starts for our other local teams.  You can follow the teams on Twitter if you want to keep track of news and all the results and fixtures are available on the FA’s website: https://fulltime.thefa.com/ff 

@PNE_LadiesFc

@PenworthamTLFC

@stfladies

@FyldeLadiesFC

 

The FA Women_s Football League Pyramid

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Sir Tom Finney Ladies take on Crewe Alexander Ladies in pre-season friendly

My first set of photos for the new season comes from a pre-season friendly down at the UCLan Arena where Sir Ton Finney Ladies ran out comfortable winners against the visitors from Crewe.

A few pictures from the game. Click on a picture to enter slideshow view.

 

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In Pictures: Preston Caribbean Carnival

It’s annual tradition that has been taking place in Preston for over 40 years and this year we even experienced some Caribbean style weather to accompany this fantastic event.

This post is all about the photographs but a big thank you to all those who work so hard to arrange the event and make some superb costumes.  Here are the pictures. Click on any pictures to enter the slideshow view.

A visit to Ingleton Falls

Last week we spent a couple of days in North Yorkshire, visiting the spectacular Ingleton Falls.  It’s a few years since I was last there and not much as changed. You still have to pay to walk the countryside trail, something that doesn’t go down well with a lot of people but at least the money helps maintain the paths. At £6 each, it is a bit ‘steep’ though.

We stayed at Thornbrook Farm campsite which proved to be an excellent choice. A short stroll from Ingleton and an even shorter stroll to a large farm shop and a great local pub. The facilities on site are also excellent with one of the cleanest shower blocks I’ve ever seen plus underfloor heating too!

The local pub is The Marton Arms at Thornton in Lonsdale.  The staff were really friendly, the food was good and there was a good choice of beers on tap too. Easy to see why, even on a cold mid-week night, it was a popular location.

Back to the Falls themselves and we didn’t visit on the best of days. It was cold, very windy and muddy but, it was still an enjoyable walk. We chatted, on the way round, to an avid walker who was originally from Yorkshire but who now lives in Australia. He was reminiscing about the last time he was here, when he worked as a gamekeeper in the area. He has walked trails all around the world but the icy winds and driving rain earlier that week had forced him to abandon his planned walk. I could relate to that as we walked over the tops on the North Yorkshire fells, the wind driving you back and the icy spots of rain stinging the cheeks. The walk itself took us about two and a half hours in total and there is a cafe hut half way round with toilet facilities

As some point I’d like to return to Ingleton and spend more time photographing the falls.

Here are a few pictures from our visit.

Ingleton Falls in North Yorkshire

Ingleton Falls

Thornton Force, the largest of the waterfalls on the Ingleton Waterfalls Trail

Thornton Force

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The Marton Arms

St Oswald's Church at Thornton in Lonsdale

St Oswald’s at Thornton in Lonsdale

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North Yorkshire Countryside

 

Defeat for PNE Ladies in final game

Preston North End Ladies suffored a disappointing 3-0 defeat in their final game of the season against Carlisle Ladies.  There was an inevitability about the result today, as Preston only managed to field nine players but even so, the performance was a bit lack-lustre.

Carlisle struggled for a while but went into the break one goal to the good. Two second half goals sealed it for them.   Not much else to say really – the season just petered out.

Here are the photos from the game…

 

PNE Ladies take on top of the league Penrith

Preston North End Ladies have been in good form recently, winning their last three games and moving away from the foot of the table. Today’s visitors Penrith AFC Ladies have also been going great guns and are unbeaten this season – something had to give down at the UCLan arena.

The match proved to be a fantastic game of football, both sides 100 percent committed to the cause.  It was a game of contrasting styles. Preston playing a really good passing game while Penrith relied heavily on the long ball game. It’s a tactic that works well for them and it was Penrith who broke the deadlock against the run of play.

Preston had been playing the better football and they continued to do so, equalising with a shot from the edge of the box before half time. It was richly deserved.

The second half continued as the first. Penrith continued to work hard and got a second to take the lead, again somewhat against the run of play.  Preston continued to push forward, never giving up but Penrith extended their lead and made it three with the last kick of the game.

Well done to both teams on a great game of football. Preston played the better football and deserved to get something from the game but it was Penrith who stole the points, continuing their unbeaten run.

 

Another three points for PNE Ladies

I don’t recall covering a night match for PNE Ladies before so the game against Burscough Dynamo was a first for me. This presented challenges from a photographic point of view. The low levels of lighting on the Sport Arena pitch meant that ISO levels were maxing out at ISO12800 and I still wasn’t really getting the shutter speeds I needed. The added misery of cold and driving rain was lifted slightly by the fact that PNE Ladies impressed again and secured a 3-0 win.

Well done to both teams for playing some good football in difficult conditions.  Here are the pictures…

Click on any picture to enter slideshow view.