SLOUGH ladies Head Coach Kali Takher says their highly successful second half of the season can largely be contributed to his players’ belief in their own ability, writes Dave Wright.

The Pink and Blacks went from a side hovering just above the relegation zone to the third-best in the Investec League Division One South.

“That was an amazing achievement,” said Takher.

Starting with a confidence-boosting 4-1 home win over St Albans, Slough embarked on a seven-match unbeaten run that took them up to a very creditable third in the final standings behind unbeaten champions Wimbledon and Reading.

Early in the season, Takher felt his team were still feeling the after-effects of being relegated from the Premier Division in the previous campaign.

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“They had probably lost their focus and were disappointed in coming down a league,” he said.

“But after Christmas, the players started to realise they had a job to do and became more focussed.

“They realised they could not win the league, but the aim was to finish as high in the table as they could. They pulled their finger out and thought ‘right, let’s dig in a bit deeper.’

“The girls became more focussed and got their reward. Since Christmas, we’ve not lost a game.”

“They produced some tremendous performances and the games they drew could easily have been won.”

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Takher, who played for Great Britain in the 1996 Olympics, continued: “What we’ve achieved has come despite a lack of player ability at times.

“Having eight or nine mothers in the squad has not made team selection easy. Players were not always available and there were games where we had only 12 or 13.

“So to do what they have is an amazing achievement and I say a big well done to them.”

In their last match before the sport was suspended, Slough recorded their biggest win of the campaign, hammering Isca 5-0 at Upton Court Park.

The coach admitted: “Whilst we were the better team, I don’t think we were five goals better if I’m really honest. We were ruthless in front goal and they were not.

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“Also, I think tactically Isca got it wrong, while we got it right this time.

“It was a particularly pleasing performance because four key senior players dropped out on the night before the game for reasons connected to coronavirus issues.

“It left us with just 11 players and we had to take one from the second team, so to play with just 12 is a massive credit to the whole side.

!As it was in front of our home crowd, it was a really nice way to finish our season.”

Their final fixture, away to Cambridge City, was cancelled.