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An extra force to the top

26 November 2014

Strong support from first-team helps Ladies coaches

The AFC Wimbledon Ladies management team are aiming to continue the club’s resurgence this season with a helping hand from Neal Ardley and his first-team.

Chris Lyons and Dave Ward (left and right with Bayo Akinfenwa above) were invited to watch first-team training yesterday as they seek to continue building a more professional approach for the Dons Ladies.

It’s all part of a “one club” philosophy that Chris says has really helped since he took over as manager in the summer.

“We’ve been made to feel very welcome by Neal Ardley and the club,” said Chris. “There are not many ladies clubs at our level that would get the support we’ve received. You can pick-up information from every coach and we can learn loads from working with someone of Neal Ardley’s calibre.

“This is the second time I’ve been down here and I’ve already implemented some of the methods for my own coaching of the ladies team. We’re very comfortable about how our season has gone so far considering the changes we had to make. We’ve only got one player left from last season and it takes time to integrate a completely new squad.”

AFC Wimbledon Ladies are well currently fourth in the London & South East Regional Women’s Premier Division – in stark contrast from last season’s rock-bottom finish.

First-team coach Dave Ward, who has a wealth of experience in the ladies game having managed Bracknell Town Ladies for many years, is delighted to be a Don now after having battles with AFC Wimbledon in the past.

Before switching to the ladies game, Dave was a player and coach in non league and he recalled being manager of Farnham Town when they drew 0-0 at AFC Wimbledon in March, 2003.

“In the first game we lost 1-0 to a late free-kick (Danny Oakins struck the winner), but then we managed to hold Wimbledon to a 0-0 draw at Kingsmeadow. I was also first-team coach at Godalming the next season when we played Wimbledon. I know Terry Eames quite well and Matt Everard from those days.

“Now I’m trying to help Chris to improve AFC Wimbledon Ladies and it’s a real team effort. It’s been very interesting to see what goes on at first-team training today. Neal Ardley looks very carefully at recovery and rest periods for players so that he can get the best out of them on match days. We’ve also been shown match analysis and how they go about that. Hopefully, we’ve picked up information that can help improve us during the rest of this season.”

 AFC Wimbledon Ladies hosts Hassocks on Sunday in a 2.00 pm kick-off at Archbishop Tenison’s School Sports Ground in New Malden.

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