A look back at how the first team squad have performed during the first half of the 2017/18 campaign.
- Latics are currently fourth in the NWWRFL Premier Division.
- Louise Ainscow and Megan Hornby lead the scoring charts with 10 goals.
- Impressive league wins have been recorded against MSB Woolton, Tranmere Rovers, Burnley and CMB.
Wigan Athletic Ladies are currently in fourth position in the NWWRFL (North West Women's Regional Football League) Premier Division having lost just once from eight league games so far this season, with the only defeat coming at home against then league leaders Mersey Rail Bootle in October.
Five league victories have been recorded so far, with two of those coming against MSB Woolton (home 2-0 and away 3-0), and followed up with further wins against Tranmere Rovers, Burnley and CMB. The home fixture against MSB Woolton on the 6th September saw Louise Ainscow make her debut off the bench. A terrific 5-3 win at Tranmere followed, with Megan Hornby netting a brace and Grace Vella (P), Ellie Threlkeld and Ainscow also getting on the scoresheet. The team’s excellent form continued at Burnley as Latics held on for a 2-1 victory in East Lancashire, with Hornby and Ainscow netting once again. The year drew to a close at the start of December as the Ladies put four past CMB without reply, Threlkeld (x2), Hornby and Ainscow all on target.
In the F.A. Cup first round qualifier, Latics put in a commanding display to win 7-0 against Accrington Stanley at their new home at Billinge FC, in a game that saw six different scorers net. The following round’s clash against FC United of Manchester was much more closely fought in front of nearly 100 supporters, with Hornby’s fantastic free kick proving the difference. Latics were to be stopped by Burnley in the third qualifying round, though, as they suffered a 4-1 reverse.
Morecambe's Reserves were soundly beaten 4-1 in the first round of the Argyle League Cup during the middle of October, where two goals from Hornby and strikes from Vella and Ainscow won the game for Latics. Their reward for beating the Shrimps was a home draw against Burnley which is to be played at the end of January. The Ladies will now not enter the Plate Competition.
The club recruited experienced players Nicola Hamilton and prolific scorer Ainscow during the off-season having finished in their highest ever position of second last season. The pair are both in their second stints at the club, with Hamilton enjoying a spell during the 2009/10 season and Ainscow coming up through the youth systems before later moving on. Another huge plus this season has been the return of a fully fit Sam Baldwin, who only started three games last season. She has now made 124 appearances for the club in total and is the longest serving player alongside Amy Garratt, with both making their senior debuts in 2009.
The club’s younger players continue to make appearances for the Senior Team, with Vicky Johnson making her debut on the 26th November in the away win at Woolton and Flossie Jones making her bow a week later when she came on as a substitute in the 4-0 win over CMB. Both players started their careers with the club for the U9s during the 2008/09 campaign, spending two years with this age group before moving up the system and spending last season in Danny Mathers' successful Development County League side. Indeed, of the 19 players that have appeared in this season's Senior Team, no less than nine have played within the club's youth system.
Throughout the years, founder Flo Mather has provided Senior and Development teams with lots of quality players, whilst also giving young girls from the Wigan borough the opportunity to play football from a very young age. There is no doubt whatsoever that the players who have come through this system have contributed greatly to where the club proudly stands today, which is now just one tier away from F.A. Women’s Premier League.
Following the F.A. Cup defeat to Burnley, manager Andy Ainscow sadly departed the club after a successful period in charge. He guided the club to its highest ever finish last season when Latics claimed runners-up spot with a record haul of 50 points. He took over in February 2015, and won the Regional Plate 5-3 against Liverpool Feds Reserves three months later before reaching the League Cup semi-final for the first time ever during the 2016/17 season. The club wishes Andy all the very best for the future and thank him for all of his hard work.
Andy’s tremendous statistical record with Wigan Athletic Ladies reads as follows:
League record: P53, W31, D6, L16.
Cup record: P18, W14, L4.
Total: P71, W45, D6, L20
Player updates and stats
To date, a total of 19 players have appeared in the first team squad this season, with four making maximum starts, Nic Hamilton, Emma Valentine, Hornby and Vella. Michelle Hunt has also appeared 12 times, making 11 starts (+1 playing sub) and Ashley Taylor with 10 starts (+2 playing sub.) On 11 starts are Rachel Ainscow, Jess Linford and Emma Lysons.
The leading league goal scorer is L. Ainscow with eight goals from nine starts (+2 playing sub.) The leading cup goal scorer is Hornby with five goals (three in the F.A. Cup and two in the League Cup.) The overall leading goal scorer is shared between L. Ainscow and Hornby, who have a total of 10 goals each, and altogether the team have scored 35 goals in all competitions, conceding just 17.
The player with the most Player of the Match awards (league games only) is L. Ainscow on three, with sister Rachel on two. Hornby, Vella and Taylor have one.
Overall Player Stats
Hunt has now appeared 146 times for Wigan Athletic since her debut in September 2010, Linford has made 129 appearances, Baldwin 124* and Garrtt 122*. Approaching the 100 appearance milestone is R. Ainscow who is on 83 and Taylor on 79.
*These figures do not include season 2009-10 which are awaiting verification. A total of 18 league games and four cup Games were played during this season, giving a maximum appearance reading of 22 starts.
Most Goals and Player of the Match Awards.
Taylor leads the way with 27 goals (19 league and eight cup), followed by Hornby on 23 (16 league and 7 cup) from just 40 appearances. The player with the most Player of the Match awards is goalkeeper Linford, with a remarkable 23 awards, followed by R. Ainscow with 15 awards.
The Ladies are next in action when they travel to take on Accrington Sports and Football Club on Sunday 7th January (K.O 2pm). The game is at Livingstone Road, Accrington, Lancashire, BB5 5BX.
Wigan Athletic Ladies Football Club
*Many thanks to Rod and Josie Prescott for compiling and providing the half season report. All of the above research is taken from their own Women’s Football personal records.