When the SWFL 2 North season kicks-off again this Sunday, Stonehaven Ladies will look to pick up where they left off.
Stoney went into the summer break off the back of a 13-0 victory at home against Buckie, leaving them level on points at the top with Montrose, with just a single goal separating the sides.
Central midfielder Lisa Penny says that her side are looking forward to getting back to the action. “We finished the first part of the season strongly so hopefully we can pick from where we finished off,” she said.
Manager Matt Smith called his squad back slightly earlier than usual from their summer break as they try to go one better than their second place last term.
Despite a near perfect record of eight wins and one defeat from their opening nine league games, the sole defeat still nags for Lisa. “It was just a bad day that one. It’s really annoying because there was no real reason for it, it just wasn’t happening and it’s frustrating that it’s the only one we haven’t won.”
Stonehaven return with a home game against a Turriff United side that they have already beaten on the road this season. Despite their good record, 26-year-old Lisa isn’t taking anything for granted. “It’s really close at the top but it isn’t just between us and Montrose, Moray are just three behind us and I expect it to be a really close finish between the three of us.”
A close finish to the campaign could set up a winner-takes-all game on the final day of the season. Stonehaven host Montrose on the final day but Lisa isn’t looking too far ahead. “It would obviously be a massive game but there is a lot to go before that.”
Stonehaven came out on top when the top two met at Montrose earlier in the campaign, a result which confirmed to the Stoney players what they are capable of. “We knew our abilities because we finished second last season but beating Montrose definitely gave us a boost.”
The Montrose result may have been a league highlight but Lisa feels the team’s run to the League Cup semi-final also helped them. “It can be a distraction the cup games because of the travelling and all that goes with it but our run to the semi was really helpful. We were playing teams of a really good level.
“We’ve had a pretty consistent squad the past few seasons which gives Matt the chance to know his players. His style of management is really good as he is able to mix the serious parts with fun.”