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Women's team defender Chelsea Patient insists patience was key to United's latest league win

After a run of consecutive starts at the back for the Reds, defender Chelsea Patient’s form has certainly been a standout positive for Luke Podmore’s side over recent weeks. United’s no.5 picked up the Player of the Match award for her solid defensive role in the 3-0 win at Merseyrail Bootle LFC, a little over five weeks ago, backing the award up with another strong defensive performance in the Reds’ 6-1 at Warrington Wolverines on Sunday.

Having been an integral part of this United side for a number of years now, Patient understands the team’s ethos in consistently driving for success, with winning trophies a key attribute to this. The win at Merseyrail Bootle in February kept alive United’s defence of the Argyle Cup with Patient admitting that her individual showing, on the day, ranks with some of her best in a red shirt. "My performance against Bootle was 100% up there with my best performances for FC down the years. That game meant so much to myself and the team and it’s probably why I played like I did".

The win at Bootle set up a home semi-final encounter with Premier division side CMB, due to be played in the stadium, later this month. After unfortunately missing out in our most recent stadium game earlier this season, Patient is determined to keep up her good form of late, in order to increase her chances of featuring on the day. "I would feel so grateful to play in the stadium and better still, to be able to start! I don’t think that there will be a better feeling than walking out onto that pitch, so from now until then I’m going to work as hard as I can to ensure that I get the best possible opportunity to start".

Not only do the Reds have a stadium semi-final to come but also a County Cup final and a backlog of league games as the side aim to win their first ever North West Women’s Regional League title. Patient believes the motivation of important games to come has been a key factor in her recent run of form. "I think the reason I have been playing well over the last few games is because I know how important the games are coming up - there is no room for error! With the semi-final and final approaching, the goal is to hopefully start every one of these games and then put a big shift in for the team. We have a competitive side so I need to make sure that I play as well as I possibly can when given the opportunity".

Due to a number of postponements in recent weeks, the Reds had a fixture-blank March with the win at Warrington their first game in five weeks. Patient insists that the break didn’t affect the Reds too much, on the pitch. "In all honesty, I didn’t feel nervous even though it had been a while since we last played. When we started, you could definitely tell that we hadn’t played in a while and I could personally see that I was a little rusty myself. But eventually we started to settle and we started to look good as a team - we just needed to be patient".

In recent weeks, Patient has become not the only Chelsea within the side’s ranks. Striker Chelsea Flanagan joined from Blackburn Rovers LFC in February, scoring two goals in her first two appearances for the Reds. As well as this, defender Alice Forshaw made her debut for United in Sunday’s win having become the latest new face in the dressing room, over the last few weeks. Patient believes that the new faces have only made the side better as a whole. "The new signings have added a further competitive edge to the squad going forward and have each brought something new to the team, it’s helped us improve massively".

With manager Luke Podmore preferring to stick with a back three for the majority of this season, Patient has most predominantly played alongside defensive colleagues Francesca Davies and Abbie Carrington when in the side. The two are players that Patient sees as a joy to play alongside. "I absolutely love playing with Abs [Carrington] and Fran [Davies]. I’ve been playing alongside these girls for years so we work really well together and have learned how to work with one another so we have developed into a strong unit".

After United’s first midweek game of the season, scheduled to be at Northwich Vixens on Wednesday, was postponed, the Reds now face a minimum of at least another nine games in just over a month with a maximum of ten should they reach the Argyle Cup final. Patient knows that consistency and focus will be key in the upcoming run-in for FC. "Not missing training sessions is crucial at this point and staying focused - we are so close you could almost touch it! Our mindset as a squad has to be to stay on point. Like I said before, there is no room for error, every game has to carry a mindset of winning at all costs".

You can see Patient and her teammates in their first of nine scheduled, upcoming games as they head to the Cumberland Arena to take on Crewe Alexandra LFC development squad, in the league on Sunday (8th April) - 2pm KO!

We hope to see you there!

By Mikey Partington

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First Posted ~ 18:07 Thu 5 Apr 2018
News ID ~ 7838
Last Updated ~ 18:29 Thu 5 Apr 2018