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Six pointer for Boanas
Six pointer for Boanas

Chatham Women’s head coach Keith Boanas has sat down with KSN’s Mike Green for his fullest and frankest discussion with us ahead of the Clubs biggest game of the season this Sunday when Cardiff City Women visit the Medway Towns. 

The home side are in danger of relegation and the Welsh side arrive tenth in the league and are the side that you feel the Chats must get past if they are to stay in the division, it is the biggest game of the season and a relegation six-pointer.  

“There is no other way to put it!” the coach admitted to us before training on Thursday evening.

“If you could call a game a twelve pointer, then it definitely is a twelve pointer after last weekend’s results” referring to Cardiff’s 2-1 win over Billericay which took the Welsh side eight points clear of the Chats and level on points with the Essex side who are nineth in the Southern table. 

Under Boanas, the sides performances have undoubtedly improved from the early season days of conceding six to Ipswich and eight to leaders Portsmouth, but that first win of the campaign still eludes them.

“I love your positivity every time I talk to you,” the Coach told us! “It is a tough one as until the players see the wins for themselves, it is even hard for some of them to recognise any improvement. So, until we get those first elusive three points, I think we will always be going to have that feeling of “when.”  

“We’ve got no other distractions now at all in front of us, and with us bringing in a couple more players, I can only say that our training has been at a very, very high level and despite not scoring goals last Sunday (in a friendly against the London City Lionesses’ Academy – a Chats XI won 1-0) I was very happy with the performance.

“Considering we had new players in the first half last week, I actually expected goals in the first half. I made the mistake of saying to the girls after seeing London City in midweek that they were a very young team, and I did not want them to bully them or take the “mick.”

“I wanted to play football and play through them. But they took everything literally and were almost too nice! We told them at half time and after speaking to the six girls who went on, there was more purpose and really it was only the goals that were lacking.” 

“We are still trying to get that composure in front of goal into the girls, we spent forty odd minutes on that in training this week and I am sure that if we had had that composure in some of the games that we have lost, we would have won.

“It is one of the reasons that I have brought in Holly Turner from Ipswich, watching her on videos she is definitely a goal-scorer, but she has not played a lot for Ipswich, so she needed game time in training. I am really happy with her attitude, and I think she will be a key cog for the rest of the season.

“She has promised me in one of her messages to me that we will not regret signing her, and she will do everything that she can to help us get out of this position and she is really looking forward to it and excited to be playing here!” 

Another addition has been keeper Simone Eligon. “I’ve known her for a couple of years,” Boanas explained.

“She went to university and since she came back the Trinidad & Tobago coach, who is an English girl said to me that she had a keeper who lives in the area, could she come and train with us.

“It turned out to be Simone and she has done that, and we invited her to join us as a back-up keeper to Cara (Davies). If Cara was to get hurt in the run in, we would not have a keeper.

“What that has done even just in training this week, I can see that Cara’s upped her game, she was the only player who did not have any competition for their place. She is one of the more honest players and probably would agree that it has not been her best season.” 

The coach also confirmed that Tash Stephens had returned to Oxford and Amy Haynes was on trial at Reading and Ellie Keegan has gone on loan to Worthing to get game time as she is from the area.

“Of all the ones that I’ve let go, Ellie is probably the one who didn’t really get a chance to play for me, I like her a lot!” the Coach admitted.

“We wanted to get her playing as she was getting low and that is not how I work. The relationship with all of the girls is OK. Tish Nicholls has a hamstring problem, and she will not play again until its healed one hundred percent.” 

The Chats go into the weekend eight points from safety and with just nine games left. “For us to get relegated with my own standards would be a bad thing,” Boanas confessed.

“I have had the dreaded “vote of confidence” from the Chairman after the Dartford Cup game. For my own situation, I do not want to drop down again, I have had a taste of that, but this is knocking on the door of the level I should be working if not higher and so I do not want to drop a division.

“If you ask me if I would walk away if that did happen, that is another discussion for another day. The Chairman has told me and the girls that he does not want me to, but this is a full-time job for me so it will be a case of how it fits, even with this group, if they had been my group from pre-season, they would not be in the situation that we are in!” 

“The one thing I know is that I will not let them give up so for me you can lose but you can lose with pride and passion in the same ways that you can win with pride and passion so if players look like they’re quitting on me I will not accept that.” 

The Chats Women’s vital Women’s National League South game with the Cardiff City Women kicks of the Bauvill Stadium at 2.30 on Sunday