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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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.

Disappointment for PNE Ladies

It’s fine margins between the disappointment of defeat and the joy of winning. Preston are languishing close to the bottom of the league, while their opponents Bury Ladies are close to the top.  You certainly wouldn’t have known based on the first 20 minutes of the game, which PNE dominated.  When chances come your way though, it’s the teams at the top that seem to put them away and that was the case down at UCLan Arena today. PNE could easily have been a couple of goals to the good before Bury scored but it wasn’t to be.

Preston played some good football and probably had as many chances as Bury but it was Bury who took all three points with two goals in the first half and another in the second. If Preston continue to play this way then it can’t be too long before they get more points on the board.

Photos below. Click on any photo to view slideshow.