A look back at the first month of the year for the club's first team.
- Latics recorded an impressive result at league leaders Stockport County.
- Grace Vella has picked up the last three Player of the Match awards.
- Goalkeeper Jess Linford made her 130th appearance against Accrington.
After sustaining just one league and one FA Cup defeat in the first four months of the new season, Wigan Athletic Ladies endured a difficult start to the year.
The New Year started with an unexpected league defeat at bottom of the table Accrington Sports and Football Club, with the club having never lost a league or cup game to any team representing Accrington in a total of 14 meetings beforehand, beginning in 1999.
Without regular strikers Ellie Threlkeld and Louise Ainscow, the Ladies still fielded a strong squad for the clash at Accrington, but were three goals down at half time. Latics rallied in the second half, scoring through Ashley Taylor and Megan Hornby, and went close to finding an equaliser later on but couldn’t find a way through. The fixture saw Vicky Johnson make her full debut for the first team while Chelsea Bloor came on as a second half substitute, with both a product of the club’s excellent U16s and County League Development Squad.
A difficult home league clash against Burnley FC Girls followed the week after, with Latics slipping to a 2-0 reverse. Nic Hamilton unfortunately put through her own net on the half hour mark before the visitors doubled their advantage in the second half. Gabriella Buckley and Charlotte Boylan, both new signings from Burscough Dynamo Ladies, made impressive debuts in this game.
Unbeaten league leaders Stockport County were next on the agenda, and Latics put in a vast improvement on their travels. The home side took the lead in the first half, but the Ladies responded magnificently after the break and deservedly equalised through Ashley Taylor. Latics had only ever met County in three previous league and cup meetings, winning all three.
Latics were due to play host to Burnley FC Girls in the Argyle League Cup on the 28th January, but due to the weather conditions the game was postponed.
Player stats and updates
Grace Vella has collected the last three Player of the Match awards and now leads this category this season with four awards from 11 league appearances.
A total of 22 players have now been used this season in 15 league and cup games, with Nic Hamilton, Megan Hornby, Emma Valentine and Grace Vella making the maximum 15 starts. Michelle Hunt has also appeared in every game with 14 starts and one substitute appearance. Goalkeeper Jess Linford and Emma Lysons both have 14 starts each.
Louise Ainscow currently leads the goal scoring charts with eight goals, Megan Hornby has six and Ashley Taylor and Grace Vella are both on four. The team have scored a total of 38 league and cup goals this season.
On January 7th 2018, Jess Linford completed 130 appearances for Wigan Athletic Ladies (128 starts, one playing sub and one unused sub) and on the same date Ashley Taylor made 80 appearances (67 starts and 13 playing sub). Grace Vella made her 40th start for the club on January 21st 2018, and has the unique distinction of never having been a substitute.
Michelle Hunt will make her 150th Latics appearances in her next game, with her record currently comprising of 137 starts, six playing subs and six unused subs since her debut in September 2010. Eleanor Threlkeld can reach 50 appearances in his next game and Keia McFayden 40. The next goal scored by Ashley Taylor will give her 30 in all competitions. (All figures exclude friendlies)
Wigan Athletic Ladies Football Club
*Many thanks to Rod and Josie Prescott for compiling and providing the January Review. All of the above research is taken from their own Women’s Football personal records.