'It would have been nice to finish on a high'
With a few contentious calls throughout, the Belles rode their luck to leave Adams Park with all three points, whilst Chambers was left disappointed not to have added to their tally for the year she was rather ambivalent about the nature of the game:
“Disappointed, it would have been nice to finish on a high but anyone watching could have seen it wasn’t a game for us tonight – we had a goal disallowed, penalty shouts in both halves, nothing was going our way tonight. But fair play to Doncaster, they’ve turned up and really given us a game and even though they’ve been relegated it’s still nice for them to go down with a few points on the board.”
One of the stand-outs for the Royals during the match was Mary Earps, a player Chambers holds in the highest esteem:
“Mary Earps has been presented player of the season before the game and she’s come in and made three world class saves. She’s still young, still has so much potential and we’re going to make sure that she fulfils that potential, that’s what we’re here for.”
'We may not have been pretty but we have got the job done'
In talking about using the game as a learning teaching experience for next year, Chambers harked back to what so many managers do and was left to comment on her team not taking their chances:
“If you look back at the first twenty minutes of the game, we’ve had about three golden opportunities that we should have put away and that’s the fine line at this level: if you don’t put those chances away, you don’t get many more and that’s where we need to make sure we build next season.”
Given the fate of the Belles, it’s easy for a team to earn promotion and boomerang back down again, whilst not always the most exciting team to watch, Reading did exactly what they needed to do this year to lay down foundations for next:
“The most important thing for us this year was making sure we secured WSL 1 football for the future and if that meant us being quite defensive then that’s what we had to do and at the end of the day, it’s done its’ job and we’re still in the league. But now, for the future, it’s about making sure we can still do that but do it whilst we go forward too – we had some great attacking play against the Belles but we just didn’t have that final end product. Even if we’re only creating one or two chances in a game we need to make sure we’re actually taking those chances because these are the margins.”
The hard work has already started for next season
With the season over, Chambers’ job is far from done:
“I think all managers start thinking about who to bring in for next year and I’ve been looking at us and thinking about what needs strengthening, where to bring players in and who. But for now we need to make sure we go right through and analyse the season, nit-pick and say, right this is what we actually need and then go and get the right players.”
Although the Spring Series means different things to different people, Chambers is looking to use it for continued development, a nothing to lose competition that will ready her team for the 2017-18 season:
“I think it’s just an opportunity for us to develop, whether that’s us getting results or just building on our style of play and giving players we bring in the time to get used to the team and bed into how we play. For us it’s just a chance to make us ready for the competitive season.”