First-team head coach Andy Cook, reserve-team manager Gareth Gladwin and reserve-team assistant manager Aston Dyer were all delighted to see their Nottingham Forest sides progress through to the Nottinghamshire County Cup final on Sunday afternoon.
Cook’s Reds put five past Ollerton Town as they reached their fifth consecutive County Cup final and Gladwin’s side romped to a 7-0 victory over Arnold Town to ensure it’s an all Forest final.
Reflecting back on the win Cook expressed his joy on his side booking their place in the final: “I’m over the moon and we’re all delighted about it.
“This competition is something the club takes seriously and we’re proud to get to the final again.
“It makes it even more special that we’ll be playing the reserve team and they played out a great game before us.”
Gladwin was also thrilled to see his side claim a well-deserved victory: “The girls deserved it and they played really well.
“Now we’re through to the final so we couldn’t be happier.”
“Really proud of them and this is the second final we’ve made this season. The girls are really buzzing about the win as are we,” Dyer added.
It took the first-team until the 50th minute to break down the opposition’s defence and net the opening goal but Cook was proud of his patient Reds and the goals they eventually created.
Cook said: “We couldn’t break them down in the first-half and it was a very stop, start game. But Ollerton did what they needed to do during that first-half and full credit to them all at the club.
“But at half-time we said we just need to stick to what we do and the goals will come.
“Precious Hamilton coming on and smashing that great hit, Lyndsey Harkin’s little run to set up Katie Middelton’s second – which she finished well was all great and proved we had the quality all over the pitch.”
The reserve side hit the ground running and went three-nil up within the opening nine minutes of the game as five different Reds penned their name on the scoresheet and Gladwin was pleased to see various players grab the goals.
He said: “That’s one thing we have got within our squad, plenty of different players that are capable of scoring. We don’t rely on a single player to get our goals, everyone is weighing in which is good to see.
“The team this season have been exceptionally good. There’s been no individuals and always been about the team performance.”
Dyer continued: “There were lots of opportunities to score today and we tried to bring in different players in them plays to create chances in front of goal, which they did.
“It’s just been brilliant to see today and throughout the rest of the season.”
The first-team’s positive afternoon was made even more memorable as long-term Red, Laura-Jayne O’Neill, made her first appearance in nearly two years for the side after fighting her way back from injury and like the rest of the team Cook was over-joyed to see the return of the full-back.
“We’re delighted for her and to see LJ back on the pitch. Before the game we spoke to the players and that was the big message, the fact that LJ can start and play the game,” he explained.
“It’s great to have her back and she’s worked so hard to get back to this position and this is just the start.
“She’ll slowly gain back more confidence when playing and bed herself into the team. She’s just a quality footballer and it’s great to have her.”
After a tough start to the new year Cook believes that Sunday’s win, five goals and clean sheet can kick start the side on for the rest of the season as they face a big few months of fixtures.
He said: “You look across the team today and there were good performances from everyone which can boost our confidence going forward.
“One of the biggest standout ones were Katie Middleton and she bagged herself a couple of goals.
“She’s been trying and trying to get them goals, sometimes trying too hard, but today she finally got her reward.
“Helena Comstaintou stood out as well today, she’s getting in them goal scoring positions which is good.
“Hopefully we can take this into the rest of the games now.”