Last weekend saw Dartford host St Albans City at Bericote Powerhouse Princes Park. Dartford FC Women’s Captain, Lizzie Adams, featured in our matchday programme that day. For those who missed that feature, here is the full article:
This season has proved to be a rather challenging, yet somewhat inconsistent one for Connor Dymond’s Dartford FC Women side. Challenging because the London & South-East Regional Women’s Premier League has proved to be a tight affair this campaign, yet inconsistent because some superb performances and progress in cup competitions has had an impact on the side’s league form.
However, that hasn’t had a negative effect on the positivity surrounding Lizzie Adams’ squad, as the Captain intends to finish the season on a high. And, as usual, she’s in good spirits when we chatted over WhatsApp.
“I’m doing well thanks. We’ve come back from an Easter break feeling refreshed and motivated to give everything until the end of the season, as well as our defence of the League Cup in our upcoming League Cup Final on the 30th of April.”
Ah yes! The League Cup Final. Winning the competition last season was a brilliant achievement for Dartford FC Women, but to defend ownership of the trophy by reaching another final is a tremendous achievement in itself and the team should be proud of themselves, which Lizzie is quick to agree with… “It’s been another season that has stretched and developed our team, especially with the interest and participation levels of women’s football growing massively off of the Lionesses’ Euros win last summer. The league is much more competitive than ever, which has been challenging at times. But, we’ve had some brilliant games and all feel proud to have made it to another Cup Final.”
But, the Skipper has one person in mind within her squad who deserves a special mention, and rightly so… “I need to give a very special mention to our goalkeeper Jade Charlton (along with all the Mums in our squad!) Jade had baby Maddox in August and was back playing football six weeks later! To have a baby and everything around that is incredible, let alone to be back playing football. Not to mention all the hard work that Jade puts in behind the scenes too. The whole team has so much respect and admiration for her.” – They’re not the only ones Lizzie, for there are many within the club, including yours truly, who share that respect and admiration towards Jade.
It’s fair to say that the entire team has continued to progress under the guidance of Connor Dymond and his coaching staff, even if results on the pitch haven’t always reflected that. “Yes, I think the quality of the football we are playing (and we’ve been told this by several teams too!) is some of the best in the league. We’ve worked through multiple different formations, patterns of play, and our understanding as a squad as to how to implement those at different times. We’ve very much appreciated the opportunity to have access to more professional support around us, thanks to the hard work of Connor and those working behind the scenes at Dartford in order to create the opportunities and additional support for the team. We hope that this support and access to facilities and opportunities will continue to grow and be available to more and more women and girls playing football. Such things help to make all the difference in growing interest and following of the women’s game.”
There have been many good memories made for everyone surrounding the club this season, and Lizzie is no different… “The excitement and buzz around our FA Cup run was brilliant and so good to see. We want to build on that for next year, as well as sustain that profile for the remainder of this season. We love having mascots at our games and getting to see the girls’ teams joining us and supporting us. We’ve also loved watching some of their games too!
“A highlight for me, though, is reaching the League Cup Final again. Nothing beats a cup final, and we couldn’t be more excited to get out there and show everyone what we can do.
“I’ve also really enjoyed following the Dartford Women’s Development Team’s progress, as they have absolutely smashed it in their league. Give them a follow on Instagram if you don’t already at @dartsfcwdevelopment. Do give us a follow too at @dartfordfcwomen!”
This season has seen Lizzie reach and surpass her 100th cap for the club. On her journey, she has scored a few goals as well, including eight this term. Does the Skipper have a favourite? “There have been many favourite goals this year, including lots of brilliant team goals. But, my personal favourite was in the semi-final against Dulwich Hamlet in the League Cup. Shauni Griffiths cut it back to me near the top of the box, and I finished it. I put it into the top left-hand corner, which helped us go ahead in that game.”
She continues, “A second favourite goal is Emily Read’s penalty in the FA Cup First Round proper against Ascot United. The goal put us through to the Second Round proper for the first time ever. Emily had to retake the spot-kick and had the composure to slot it home… an epic moment!”
Of course, with the smooth moments come the more rougher ones, of which no team is immune from. And, Lizzie is honest with her thoughts… “I think our struggle with consistency is a disappointment for me. As I’ve said, we’ve played some of the best football in the league, but putting that into practice week in, week out is something we’re still working on.
“A big focus for our remaining games is absolutely on consistency and giving everything on the pitch in every single game. We want to be undefeated for the remainder of the season. We have some very big games coming up where we owe ourselves a response following some disappointing results against some of the teams we will face again.
“All eyes for now, though, are on each game coming up as we lead up to the League Cup Final. We won the final last year and want to repeat that success. We will be facing Worthing in the final, who are also battling it out for promotion. It’s set to be a brilliant game!”
With everything pointing to that fixture at the end of the month, the squad will then be able to switch off and rest until training resumes for the next challenge. However, Lizzie’s summer looks rather different… “I’ve recently started a new job, which will be keeping me quite busy! I’m now with the Premier League, working to support more girls and women to play football. It feels like a new and exciting change. I feel extremely fortunate to get to play football and be in a position to take lots of the experience I’ve had from playing into that work, with a focus on how to increase opportunities for people in women’s football at all different levels.
“However, I am hoping to get some more time with family. I also can’t wait for the Women’s World Cup tournament, which will be from the 20th of July until the 20th of August. It’s set to be another great summer of women’s football!”
There you have it. Lizzie Adams, Captain of Dartford FC Women, footballer, fan, and advocate for the women’s game. Her passion is intoxicating and wonderful to see. And, as we reach the end of our conversation, I’ll let her have the final words…
“Good luck to all Dartford teams for the rest of the season. Thank you to everyone who has come down to support us at any of our games, we massively appreciate you all.
“If you’re free on the 30th of April, we would love to see you at our League Cup Final against Worthing. Kick-off is at 12pm at Sutton United’s stadium. Please come down, cheer as loud as you can, and enjoy a fantastic final! Thank you.”
By Chris Palmer