Lewes Women end season with a stern test at Casey Stoney’s Manchester United

Casey Stoney
Casey Stoney

Lewes Women travel to Manchester United Women on Saturday for their final game of the season.

Heading into the game the teams are split by 8 places and 35 points, with United having won the title and currently sitting nine points clear of second place, Tottenham Hotspur.

The Rooks currently sit in ninth place and are looking to finish the season on a high, but manager Fran Alonso knows what a difficult task it will be: “Well it’s exactly like you say it’s the best team in the division. It will be extremely difficult to get something positive from there. I think they have won every league game at home bar Durham where they drew so we know it’s a very difficult task.

“They are all full-time footballers regardless of who they play, whether they play their main team because it’s their last game and they will get the trophy or whether they give a chance to other players that didn’t have as many minutes during the season.

“For us it doesn’t matter as they are still technically, tactically, physically amazing players. So, we have got a little chance only if we are at our very best and they are not at their best and then we need a little bit of luck.”

United have scored 93 goals in just 19 games this season and Alonso knows how hard it will be stop them scoring on Saturday: “That is one of the main concerns for us. We want to have a close battle and make it a difficult game for them, we definitely don’t want to concede as many goals as they are scoring against teams. We played Aston Villa a couple of weeks ago and in two games they conceded 17 against them. So, it is a very good team.

“It is very difficult to stop them because they have got everything, they can be competitive, be direct they have got pace and talent, so it is basically the best team in the division by far and one of the best five/six teams in the country.

One player who will be looking to try and carve open that United defence on Saturday is newest signing Rachel Panting, who joined three weeks ago and Alonso talked about how she has settled in: “Very good. We knew already Rachel was making a big impression at her former club Portsmouth in the third tier, for a second year in a row she was top goalscorer and the most assists in that side.

“She came and made an impact from day one, she works very hard, she is a great girl and she has settled in with the girls and is well liked. Technically and physically she is a good player, so straight away she has been settling in well with the team and at this level, which is one higher than she used to play.”