Brighouse Town Women's self-belief catches National League Northern Premier rivals by surprise
They may have surprised some of their illustrious rivals in the National League’s Northern Premier but Brighouse Town Women have shown that they are a force to be reckoned with.
Following last season’s promotion to the third tier of women’s football, seventh placed Town have lost only one of their opening seven league games.
They have also progressed in the FA Women’s National League Cup, setting up a tasty first round trip to Newcastle United Women on November 7.
And building consistency is key, according to boss Rob Mitchell, who said: “We have started really well. We have always set ourselves goals and this season we have tried to improve and finish as high as possible.
“This league is all about consistency and putting runs of results together.
“You need a stable squad and we have suffered from injuries and unavailable players but we have shown strength in depth.
“It is the strongest squad I have ever had in terms of its depth.
“We have had games when we have been missing key players like Amy [Woodruff] and Drew [Greene] but other players have stepped up.”
Mitchell admits that his squad’s strength may have caught out some of their opponents in the early stages of the campaign, saying: “Some teams have had the mentality that they have expected to beat us and when we play them again they will be more aware of us.
“We have heard comments from other teams like ‘how did we lose to them? They are not that good’ but we just use that to motivate us.”
However, Town are also learning about their opposition. Mitchell said: “Against Stoke, I thought we should have won [having drawn 1-1]. When we played them again in the League Cup they changed things but we also learned from the first game and we came away with a 5-2 win.”
He added: “We want to keep clean sheets but we also know that our focus is on attack and we will concede goals.
“Our belief has been pleasing. Our worst performance was against West Bromwich Albion but we still fought back and got a late equaliser from Imogen [Williams]. Our ability to compete is really good. We are going to lose games but we are going to bounce back and improve each week.
“The majority of our squad are from tiers four and five but they are gaining experience that will make them better players.
“There has been a definite step up in class in this division. Teams are more clinical and mistakes are punished.
“But we have stepped up a level both on and off the pitch. We are using technology and the players are training harder and are fitter than they have ever been. Their speed and work rate must be one of the highest in the league and the teams we have played will know that they need a lot of pace to compete with us.
“I am always critical and there have been games that we have drawn that I feel we could have won but I think we have shown that we are a capable team.
“We take each game one at a time and try to get points from each game. But if we fail to do that then we move on and dust ourselves down.”
Following a week off, Town return to action on Sunday when they host second-bottom Loughborough Lightning and Mitchell knows how important three points will be, saying: "Loughborough is a big game and I think that if we can get to 15 points at this stage of the season then that will put us in a strong position."