Interview with Damon Neish: Inverness City, Stand-In Goalkeepers, Sophie Milligan & Alex Russell

Forfar Farmington coach Damon Neish thought the SWPL side could have come away from the final game of the season with more than just a point against a tough Inverness City side.

The side were missing a few players and had to field defender Kayleigh Brough and then midfielder Lindsey Dunbar in goal, with some fringe players getting some game time, in which they gave the coach food for thought for next season.

‘It was good to get a draw last Sunday, we had a lot of injury problems and a few girls didn’t travel up to Inverness. Inverness are a well thought of, well run team, they really pulled themselves together and have a few high quality players so it was always going to be a battle but we were equally as good as them and it was good to come away with something when it would have been easier for the girls to know the season was over, know there was nothing to play for, to turn up and just go through the motions, but they didn’t do that, they played at a really high standard and were unlucky not to come away with more than the draw. We scored some unconventional goals shall we say, it was good to have a break of the ball for once instead of it going against us.’

‘We knew the situation with keeper Fiona McNicoll missing the game a week in advance so we were prepared for it at least this time, so Kayleigh Brough and Lindsey Dunbar were prepared for it, they both stepped up and were great. I thought Kayleigh was outstanding, if she ever wants to go in goal for us again she’s more than welcome! I thought Lindsey was as well, she was pretty much a sweeper keeper, coming out and challenging at the edge of the box, taking attackers out at crosses, she was exceptional. It’s never an easy task to jump into a position like that so they both were great, as I said, it could have been easy for the girls in front of them to fall away knowing we had a makeshift side out, but they didn’t, they battled, they had something to prove and they went away proving it.’

Right back Sophie Milligan joined the club in late September and was making her second appearance since arriving while midfielder Alex Russell made her first start since April and both took advantage of the minutes to impress Neish.

‘I thought Sophie Milligan was very good, it’s difficult for someone to come into this team at such a late stage like she did and perform like she has. She looked like she tired a little in the second half after about an hour but she got a good run out and proved she had the quality needed to play at this level, that’s never been in doubt. Again the legs were a bit fatigued, that was behind my decision to rest her and she’ll be a very good player for us once the fitness starts progressing, the games start coming thick and fast and she gets into it.’

‘Alex Russell is Alex Russell, she’s going to give you 100% no matter where you put her, I thought she was quite good. She was rusty but on the whole she was making the runs, she was getting into positions and she was doing the things that I had asked her to do, I can’t ask any more than that. I was chuffed to bits with both Alex and Sophie, it was great to give Alex the full game, I would have loved to give Sophie the 90 too but at the time, I thought the game was what it was and we just needed to freshen things up a little bit, and that’s all it was.’

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