Mansfield Hosiery Mills Ladies FC are celebrating winning the East Midlands Regional League Division One North, gaining promotion to the EMRL Premier Division.
That means they will now face mouthwatering games against the likes Mansfield Town Ladies and Notts County Development Ladies next season.
Assistant boss Rob Mclean said: “Myself and manager Paul Wilcockson couldn’t be prouder of this group of players in the progress of their game and attitude this season.
“They really deserved to win the title and we look forward to the Premier Division next year and the new challenge ahead when there is more hard work to be done.”
Hosiery Mills Ladies were formally known as FC Interski and were invited to join the Hosiery Mills set-up at The Fieldings – former home of Sutton Town FC - as their only ladies’ team in 2012/13.
After winning the Nottinghamshire County League and Cup double, they were promoted to the East Midlands Regional League Division One North.
In their first season they came fifth and reached the Plate final, losing to Lutterworth.
“About nine of the players have been together for four years or more and I joined in the season 2013/14,” said Rob.
“After finishing fourth in 2014/15 and 20 points behind champions Winterton Rangers, we saw Gedling and Sandiacre opting to come down from the Premier Division.
“With Ollerton get promoted from the County League and Winterton not taking the chance to go up, it was suddenly a very strong division and improvement and recruitment was very much needed.”
Amy Dawson, Beth Wilcockson and, mid-season, Jazz Heath all joined from Teversal along with Abbie Truman from Notts County U18s and Steph Herrington, in her first ever season in football, bolstered the ranks as Mills started the season with a 20-strong squad, though through the season that number went down to 17.
Strike partners Amy Jones and Beth Wilcockson notched 32 goals between them as they ended the league season with an impressive record of played 20, won 16, drawn three and lost one.
Overall in league and cup they played 25, winning 18, drawing three and losing four.
Rob recalled: “The season began with a midweek fixture against local rivals Teversal. Always a tough match, we won 3-0 to set us on our way.
“Second game was the qualifying round of the FA cup in which we drew Rise Park of the EMRWFL Premier Division, matching them for 90 minutes then extra time and playing 50 minutes with 10 players after a sending-off. But we held them to a 2-2 draw before losing on penalties.
“Encouraged by that performance the ladies went on an unbeaten run of eight games, only dropping two points against Ruddington, last seasons runners-up and getting through the League Cup first round, beating Corby.
“We suffered our first defeat in December in the second round of the League Cup against Kettering Town, coming back from 3-1 down to 3-3 but to cruelly get knocked out by a last minute goal.”
The last game of the calender year was against newcomers and second-placed Ollerton, which ended a 0-0 draw which left Hosiery Mills as Christmas leaders.
“We didn’t play again January 31 when we suffered our first and only league defeat. 2-1 against Sleaford Town,” he added.
“I took charge one last time in a 3-2 win against Ruddington the next game before handing over to new manager Paul Wilcockson, with me becoming assistant manager.”
Paul started with a 7-1 win over Alfreton then a 2- 0 defeat in the County Cup quarter-final to Ruddington.
With just the league left and still top in a close chase between Mills, Ollerton and Ruddington it was Mills who were going to hold their nerve and, with them taking four points off both sides when they still had to play each, Mills were left favourites.
With Ollerton and Ruddington taking those points off each other and Mills on another unbeaten run, Mills needed three points from their last two matches, both home games, starting with Cleethorpes Town.
Ron recalls: “Everyone was nervous before the game, but as soon as we started we went straight for them taking a 2-0 lead into the break.
“Then 10 minutes after half-time Cleethorpes scored, but it had no bearing on our performance as were scored three more in a 5-1 victory and were crowned champions and promoted to the Premier Division where we can now look forward to another local derby against Mansfield Town Ladies.”
New players are welcome at the club - contact Rob Mclean on 07961 342832 or Paul Wilcockson on 07810 757099 or check their page on Facebook Mansfield Hosiery Mills Ladies FC for details.