Perfect season could be just the start for history-making Lowestoft Town Ladies
- Credit: Archant
Lowestoft Town Ladies boss David Eastwood talks to MARK ARMSTRONG about the meteoric rise of his Trawlergirls
Lowestoft Town followers have got used to drama over the years.
Trips to Wembley, play-off finals and promotions almost became the norm for the senior side.
Their maiden campaign in Conference North last season was relatively unexciting by their standards given their 16-placed finish.
The Lowestoft Ladies side clearly haven't got the message.
After winning every one of their 20 league matches, they secured the Eastern Region Women's Premier Division by a stunning 25 points. They threw in a cup success for good measure.
David Eastwood's side now sit just two leagues away from dining at the top table of the ladies' game – the Women's Super League.
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It made up for the disappointment of the previous season when, after leading the division for most of the campaign, they were pipped by Bedford and Billericay in the final weeks.
'It's been an amazing season – we weren't expecting anything like that,' said Eastwood, who has masterminded the girls' rise through the women's football pyramid with three promotions since they were launched in 2011. 'It's nice to make up for last year.
'We had high hopes after last season – we felt that we had a team that could do better than the previous season but to win it in the way we have has been fantastic.'
It wasn't as straight-forward as it sounds for the Blues, especially when they found themselves 1-0 down and a player short in their opening game when goalkeeper Chloe Pierce was sent off early on.
'Chloe collided with their striker and, much to everyone's surprise, she was sent off and I thought 'well this is a great start to the season!'
'But the girls rallied and despite being 1-0 down and down to 10 men we managed to win 3-2.'
Key to their success has been the form of their front three – Natasha Thomas, Zoe Cossey and Hannah Waters – who plundered a stunning 114 league and cup goals between them.
'All the girls have been brilliant but those girls are a nightmare for our opposition,' added Eastwood, who was quick to praise a defence that conceded just two goals in their last 11 games. 'I call them my (Lionel) Messi, (Luis) Suarez and Neymar – I always say to them that I'm so glad I don't have to select a team to play against them.'
Unfortunately for Lowestoft their heroics have not gone unnoticed and Eastwood admitted the vultures have started to circle round his impressive young side.
'We've had to be a bit careful because we've had Women's Super League clubs take a look at some of our players but I would love to keep the girls together to see how far we can go,' he said. 'The average age is only 19 and I think there is a lot more to come from the group.'
The big question now is just how far can these girls go?
Eastwood is confident his side will be able to more than hold their own but acknowledged his girls will be coming up against teams with more resources at their disposal.
'I think there's every reason to believe they could have a decent season but the step up is going to be big – we know that,' he said.
'We are going to be competing against teams like MK Dons and Crystal Palace who have got professional set-ups (and the facilities that go with that) helping them.
'These places have also got big catchment areas to help them.
'It's going to be a very big challenge but one that hopefully we can rise to.
'The ultimate goal would be to get to Women's Super League status but they are very lofty aspirations.
'First though we would like to progress from the league that we're going to be playing in next season.'
Eastwood, 57, who also owns his own pharmaceutical company, Day Lewis PLC, got into ladies' football when his daughter wanted to start playing. He launched a Saturday soccer school, which quickly proved popular leading to the formation of Bohemians Ladies and eventually Eastwood had six sides operating under him.
But an offer from Lowestoft chairman Gary Keyzor was too big a lure and he puts a large part of the ladies' success down to the support received from those within Crown Meadow.
'Their support is what has really made it possible.
'The girls feel like they are being treated in the same way as the first team,' he added. 'They've got access to the same facilities and Paige Shorten, who is the girls' and women's football development officer at Suffolk FA, believes we have got one of the best set-ups around.'
Lowestoft are looking to add a couple of players to their squad for the upcoming season. If you are interested in joining contact David Eastwood on 07545 984411.