Nottingham Forest goalkeeper Aja Aguirre has enjoyed a good spell between the sticks for The Reds recently as she has picked up two clean sheets in two games.
Aguirre’s two clean sheets have helped the side pick up a well-deserved six points as they chalked their first points of the season on the leader board. The Forest shot-stopper believes that the team’s hard work over the course of the summer is finally paying off.
She said: “It feels fantastic to get back to back wins; seeing all of our hard work in pre-season starting to come together and giving us these kind of results is phenomenal.
“It’s exactly what we’ve been working towards.”
Aguirre and the rest of the Forest side endured a difficult start to the season as the new side began to gel on the field. With zero wins in their first three games, Aguirre was frustrated that The Reds got nothing from the games.
“It was always going to be a journey for us, being a very new group,” she explained.
“Right from the beginning though you could just tell that everyone was on the same page in terms of the impact we’d like to have this season.
“So, to see such a talented group of incredibly hard-working players graft away and come out with nothing for those first games is of course frustrating, but we have learned a lot as a team from these experiences and are using it to improve every day.”
The Reds most recent win came last Sunday as Precious Hamilton’s 83rd minute header saw the side walk away 1-0 winners over rivals Derby County.
The Reds produced a spirited and battling performance to ensure they took all three points back with them to Nottingham and Aguirre reflects back on the game at Pride Park.
She said: “Derby is always a match that’s going to mean a lot to both sides.
“It’s a different kind of atmosphere, even for the ones of us that aren’t from here and haven’t grown up seeing the historical rivalry between the clubs first-hand.
“Every player on that pitch was playing to prove a point, and it was definitely a massive battle across the entire 90+ minutes.
“I couldn’t be happier with the determination and grit shown by my teammates on Sunday to get the job done.”
Not only did the side pick up a win but Aguirre and her back-line also registered a brilliant clean sheet and Aguirre explains how that makes the day even more memorable.
“An away win on a big stage is always fantastic, and a clean sheet just makes it that much better,” she said.
“I spoke to Amy Page (goalkeeper coach) at half-time about a couple of things that we agreed needed to be better for the second half.
“I think that after we implemented those ideas into the game we were able to stay pretty solid defensively as a result.”
It wasn’t just Aguirre’s terrific saves that got the fans talking after the game but her celebration after Hamilton put The Reds ahead. Aguirre, guarding her net on the other end of the field, pelted the full length of the pitch to ensure she didn’t miss out on the team celebrations.
“When Bex Rayner walked up to take the corner I just got this massive feeling in my chest that we were about to score,” she explained.
“I was about 40 yards up the pitch already and when Precious headed it home, the next thing I knew the crowd was going crazy and I was just sprinting as hard as I could towards my teammates.
“I could hear Andy Cook (head coach) shouting for me to get back to the goal but I was already pretty much there so I just jumped in for a quick team hug and then got back as fast as I could.”
Forest aren’t in action this weekend but are back to business a week on Sunday as they welcome Huddersfield Town to Eastwood CFC in a tasty league clash. Aguirre looks ahead to the fixture as she states clean sheets are key to team success.
“As Andy Cook has already said, we haven’t done anything yet,” Aguirre states.
“We have had two great performances and two clean sheets but ultimately it’s just two games and we’ve got a long season to look forward to.
“The key thing for us now is to take this momentum and build off it every week; continuing to learn every day and to stay consistently switched on.
“Not conceding goals is our aim now. Goals win games but clean sheets ensure that points are retained, so as long as we’re keeping clean sheets as a team we’ll be in good shape.”