Posh Women U23s

Manager Michael Allsebrook looks back on a positive first season in charge of the Posh Women Under 23s.

Embarking on their first season in the FA Women’s National League Reserves Midlands Division, the Under 23s ended the campaign third in the table, having won 11 and drawn one of their 18 matches.

They bowed out of the 2023/24 season at the end of April with a 5-3 loss to Stoke City Development.

“It’s been a long but brilliant season for us all involved with the Under 23s. We knew that going into the first game at Wolves back in September we were going to have to do everything to prove ourselves at this level. Each game has provided different tests but throughout the players and staff have shown their quality and got us results this season.”

“There are some huge football clubs in this division with impressive set-ups, and from a personal point of view it’s been really insightful to see how clubs such as Derby and Wolves approach the games, but also how our set-up is comparable in a lot of ways. Our standards of professionalism have maintained throughout the season and that is something that we, as a football club, hold in the highest of regards. A football season is never straightforward but we can walk away from this season with our heads held high and look back on what an excellent job we have done.”

It wasn’t just the league that the Under 23s thrived in, Allsebrook’s side advanced deep into the cup competitions too. In the Northamptonshire County Cup, the squad reached the semi-final stages and bowed out to the Posh Women First Team via two late goals.

The Under 23s made it one step further in the FAWNL Reserves League Plate as they finished runners-up after a late 4-3 loss to Liverpool Federation Reserves at FC United of Manchester. Allsebrook recalls this moment as one of the highlights of the season.

“Across the season there have been so many moments that I look back on with fondness in what has been a brilliant first season in charge. For me watching the girls walk out in a national cup final with their names on the back of their shirts was such a special moment that filled me and the staff with immense pride. To know that we had worked so relentlessly hard to reach that moment made it even more special.”

“The plate final was an excellent occasion and one that we will live in the memory for a long time to come. The Women’s National League did a brilliant job of adding the finishing touches to give the players the sort of experience that they deserve. It shows how far women’s football has come and demonstrates the commitment to growing the game in the long term.”

“Whilst we walked away ultimately disappointed to leave without a trophy, the journey to get to the final was filled with so many special moments that it was true highlight of this season. The players will have learnt a huge amount from the experience and ultimately that is the most important aspect for the group at this stage.

Whilst there have been positive performances on the pitch, there have been a lot of encouraging stories from an individual perspective as Allsebrook has been pleased to see how many players have developed through the pathway, and grown over the course of the season. Midfielder Poppie Brown has enjoyed a breakthrough season with the First Team whilst Attacker Frankie Pim has been a part of the First team fold since her debut back in November. Rebecca Mears netted her first senior goal in her second appearance off the bench whilst Edyn Osker and Jess Abrantes have also featured for the First Team. Phoebe Richards-Reeves and Ella-Mai Bale have been a part of the matchday squads this season as well.

“The aim of our set-up is to develop players that are technically, tactically, physically and mentally ready for the rigours and the expectations of First Team football. The fact that we have produced five First Team debuts this season is a testament to the hard work of the players but also all of the fantastic work that goes on inside the girls’ academy from the staff of all disciplines.”

“This club has an incredible track record of bringing through young players in the men’s game and with the talent we have within the academy pathway, the women’s side are set to follow in these footsteps. All five thoroughly deserved their opportunities this year and hopefully next year will bring more First Team debuts for our academy graduates.”

With the season now finished, the players will take a break before returning to pre-season, whilst Allsebrook and his staff focus on upcoming academy trials.

“Next year is a fantastic opportunity to realign our focus and continue growing as a set-up. This year was always going to be a challenge bringing together a new group of players and staff, and trying to build a culture and identity. We are hopeful of retaining a large proportion of the group for next season, and we are incredibly excited for our trials on 9th June to see what other talent we can add to the squad.”

“Our aim ultimately doesn’t change, to produce as many players for the First Team as we can; whilst trying to embed a culture and a tactical identity that improves the players. We hope to remain as competitive as we have been this year and we want to attempt to close the gap to Wolves and Derby, who have been the standout teams this term.”

“Finally, I want to end this round-up with a message of appreciation to all of the players, the brilliant staff that have supported myself and the players this season; the media team, the supporters and finally the sponsors. We wouldn’t have achieved anywhere near the success we have both on and off the pitch this season without the hard work of every member of these groups, and they truly have made my first season in charge of the Under 23s incredibly special.”

By Lauren Shiels

  • Photo courtesy: Darren Wiles