Preview of AFC Unity Vs Thurcroft Miners Welfare

by Sam Tabuteau

In a week where even handshakes are being outlawed in some professional sports due to health regulations, AFC Unity and women’s football clubs up and down the country are rejoicing in a celebration of inclusivity as International Women’s Day makes its way to the forefront of contemporary society.

Sunday’s game against Thurcroft Miners Welfare is merely a contributing factor to a far larger collective process taking centre stage over the next couple of days and weeks. Preparations both on and off the pitch have been amplified tenfold with news that 17-year-old female referee Caitlin O’Grady will be officiating the game. She herself is a woman with lofty ambitions, stating her desire to one day referee in the Football League, and it seems only fitting that Unity should look to her for inspiration and visa versa.

The match itself is set to be tightly contested with Thurcroft sitting just four points behind Unity but with three games in hand. There is a case to say that Thurcroft could be lacking match fitness as a result, and with Unity having won 7-1 last weekend hope of another positive result will be firmly in the minds of everyone involved with the club. The same however could’ve been said of Unity a few weeks back, as they too suffered from numerous cancellations at the start of the year. But the resilience they’ve shown to turn their fortunes around recently suggests such issues don’t take as much prevalence as might be assumed.

Thurcroft’s results show them to be somewhat of a Jekyll and Hyde outfit,  having comprehensively dispatched of Dronfield Town Development in December they were then given a taste of their own medicine when they welcomed Dronfield back to their place in January – said 8-1 loss was also the last game they played, due to poor weather conditions, and Thurcroft will be looking to get back to winning ways and close the gap on Unity heading into the business end of the season.

Injuries continue to pile up for Unity, but with a couple of players returning to the fold competition for places is certainly healthier than it has been in recent weeks.

The selected squad of 16 is as below:

1 Hannah LAMB
6 Sarah PECK
11 Becky GAY
14 Chloe BURDITT
16 Lizzie SMITH
17 Kirsten VIZOR
22 Pippa JOSEPH
27 Michelle GARRIGAN
29 Kristina RANKINE
33 Lisa GRAY
37 Rachel RODGERS (captain)

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