Cherries' women travel to Maidenhead as the hunt for promotion continues

After moving two points off top of the table, AFC Bournemouth Women turn their attention towards mid-table Maidenhead United, who they will play twice in the space of seven days.

Bournemouth women team huddle against Poole Town | By Zach Sampson/Nerve Sport

After moving two points off top of the table, AFC Bournemouth Women turn their attention towards mid-table Maidenhead United, who they will play twice in the space of seven days.  

They come into Sunday's fixture in hot form after their 4-0 mid-week victory against bottom of the league, Poole Town. With goals from Jade Bradley, Becki Bath, Katie James and Lucy Cooper, The Cherries made it clear who the queens of Dorset were. 

Maidenhead are coming into this game following a 4-1 loss to WSL opposition Reading FC in the Berks & Bucks County Cup. In the league, their form is mixed with them beating Poole 5-0 but losing 4-1 to Cheltenham Town. 

Cherries boss Steve Cuss is expecting a difficult game from this weekend’s opposition saying: “We expect them to be good defensively, they don’t let many goals in so we’re going to have to be our best going forward. They’ve beaten a couple of top teams already this season so it’s going to be a tough challenge for us."

Club captain Maisy Smith is also expecting to line up against strong opposition: “They’ve got some pace up top, they score lots of goals. A lot of teams this season go quite defensive against us because we score a lot so they could come out quite defensive. They expect us to have quite a lot of the ball, but I think they’ll give us a good game.  

“Everyone’s always up for a good game against us and they obviously want to beat us because we’re unbeaten so I’m sure they’re going to come out strong.” 

Whilst Bournemouth will be playing Maidenhead away this Sunday, they will be playing the reverse fixture next weekend. Cuss spoke about the importance of gaining a psychological edge by winning the first tie. 

“We’ll know each other well by four o’clock on Sunday," he said. "In the first game you’ll always want to come out on top. It’s imperative we do that as well, so we’ll try and come out on top on Sunday.” 

Currently, AFC Bournemouth Women are only a part time team. However, The Cherries boss alluded to the fact that promotion to the third tier of English football could see them transition to a professional team. 

“Every year we start to plan what we’re going to do for the next year and it’s never been the occasion where we’ve had to have a financial budget for the players.  

“In tier 3, the next level up, there’s a lot of teams that pay their players so they can attract a certain level of players, which is something that the club is thinking about at the moment.  

“If we stay in the same league, we’ll probably have the same set up. We’ll look at that over the summer months and continue to work towards that.” 

This season, the Boscombe side have cruised through the FA Women’s Division One South West. With nine wins and three draws in 12 games, many will say they’re set for promotion.  

Bournemouth’s dominant campaign continues against Maidenhead. A win takes them two points clear of current league leaders Cheltenham; every game until the end of the season will be treated like a cup final. 

  

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