VAVEL UK’s WSL 2 end of season awards

Featuring a team of the season that takes a few liberties

VAVEL UK’s WSL 2 end of season awards
Credit: Getty/Graham Hughes

In an attempt to be cool and keep up with the times, our team of the season focuses so heavily on attack you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s lit, seriously, you may need to call 999 as our midfield is on fire.

The team

Fran Kitching (Watford) – Goalkeeper of the season

Just like our WSL 1 team of the season, we’ve been most impressed with the woman between the sticks for the bottom side in the league. At times looking like she’s bailing out a sinking canoe with a teaspoon, Kitching has been the best player for the Golden Girls by a considerable margin this season, giving the fans something to cheer and her teammate something to build on when they got out of their own half.

Defenders

Ellie Gilliatt (Sheffield)

One of the most experienced players in a young side, Gilliatt is all you want from a flying full back, ruthless up and down the pitch, full-blooded and determined. No slouch in front of goal, the defender finished the season with a flourish, netting a ten-minute hat trick in Sheffield’s penultimate match of the year.  

Leighanne Robe (Millwall)

Reliable as ever for Millwall this season, Robe became part of Millwall’s resolute defence, the Lionesses capable of handing the trickiest of WSL 2 attackers this term. A gritty defender that leaves it all on the pitch, along with Megan Alexander and Sarah Quantrill, Robe formed an integral part of Millwall’s backline, the Lionesses with the second meanest defence in the league.

Megan Alexander (Millwall) – Defender of the season

Signed ahead of the 2017-18 season, Alexander fast found her feet in London, the defender going on to feature in all but one of Millwall’s 24 outings this term. Growing in confidence throughout the season, the defender soon became indispensable for Lee Burch’s Lionesses, one of the quiet stand-outs in a strong team.

Midfield

Beth Hepple (Durham)

There’s rarely a match that goes by, let a lone a season, when Hepple isn’t causing a defence problems, the Wildcat as talismanic this term as ever for the northern side. With 11 goals in 23 appearances across all three competitions, the midfielder has continued to show her pedigree, refusing to slow down.  

Sam Tierney (Doncaster Belles)

Having worked her way up the pitch under new Belles boss Neil Redfern, Tierney has adapted to life in midfield with ease, a regular for the Belles over the last two terms, the teenager has only gone from strength to strength this season. Never out of place in the title-winning team, it’s clear, the best is still to come from the youngster.

Ella Rutherford (Millwall) – Midfielder of the season

Another teenager who has considerably impressed this season is Millwall youngster, Ella Rutherford, the academy product having made a smooth transition into the first team. Striking up an instant partnership with Charlie Devlin over the Spring Series it was clear that the new season would provide a canvas for Rutherford to express herself and the teenager hasn’t failed to deliver.

Katie Wilkinson (London Bees)

A player who caught the eye during her time with Aston Villa, injury looked to have derailed Wilkinson’s progress, her move to the Bees the shot in the arm the goal-getter needed. On the scoresheet eight times in 12 league apps for the London side, Wilkinson proved that she could still mix with the best in the league despite her time on the side lines.

Attack

Jess Sigsworth (Doncaster Belles) – Player of the season

After a 2016 season cut sort by injury, Sigsworth came out firing when she returned to fitness, delivering all she promised before getting injured over a year before hand. Not just a goal machine but a constant out for the Belles, the attacker became more than just a vital component of Redfern’s team, but the shining star of the side in a rip-roaring season.

Melissa Johnson (Sheffield) – Attacker of the season

If you like goals, you’ve come to the right place, it could be the tag-line for WSL 2 this season, though it could also go in Melissa Johnson’s bio. With Sheffield still struggling to get over their Spring Season hangover, Johnson was the salve as the Dronfield team rose through the rankings, taking no prisoners as they hammered opposition goals this year.

Kirsty Hanson (Doncaster Belles)

For every goal scored by the Belles, Hanson has never been far from the heart of the action, the young Scot steeped in all that the Yorkshire side has done right this season. In such a strong team it’s hard to pinpoint who the first name on the team-sheet has been in Doncaster this term, though it’s hard to think Hanson is far down the list.

Misc and honourable mentions

Young player of the seasonEbony Salmon (Aston Villa)

Though our team of the season is littered with teenagers, the youngest star of WSL 2 this season has undisputedly been Ebony Salmon. Needing no encouragement in front of goal, the 17-year-old adapted to the pace of the league in lightning fast time, accounting for seven of Villa’s 21 league goals this season.

Coach of the seasonLee Burch (Millwall)

Much like Lee Burch’s beard, Millwall’s unbeaten streak this season seemed to just keep growing; the modest team from London playing some of the best football in the league. Whilst the players are well deserving of the plaudits, there’s no question that very few managers could get the same level out of that specific group as Burch, though the team tailed off at the end of the season, Burch’s stock has done nothing but rise since he took over.

The standard in the league was very much being set by the goalscorers this season and we simply didn’t have enough space in our crowded attack for everyone, though the likes of Hannah Cain, Charlie Devlin, Sherry McCue, Zoe Ness, Rebecca Raynor, Sarah Wiltshire, and Megan Wynne would be right at home in any team of the season.