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Ipswich Town Women: Captain Maria Boswell eager for people to watch team play at Portman Road for the first time





Ipswich Town Women captain Maria Boswell has said it’s a great chance for people to watch the team ahead of their first ever league game at Portman Road.

The highly-anticipated fixture will see the fifth-placed Blues host Chatham Town on Saturday afternoon with the visitors currently sitting second-bottom out of the 12 teams in the FAWNL Southern Premier Division.

Instead of playing at their usual home ground at Felixstowe & Walton’s AGL Arena, defender Boswell will lead the side out for the historic occasion in front of more than 8,500 fans.

Ipswich Town Women captain Maria Boswell has said it's a perfect opportunity to watch her and her teammates play at Portman Road on Saturday. Picture: Ross Halls
Ipswich Town Women captain Maria Boswell has said it's a perfect opportunity to watch her and her teammates play at Portman Road on Saturday. Picture: Ross Halls

The 21-year-old said: “I think the fact that our home ground is 25 minutes outside Ipswich can sometimes make it difficult for people to come and watch us on a Sunday.

“But being in the heart of Ipswich at three o’clock on a Saturday is the perfect opportunity for people who haven’t come to see us yet and to see the identity that runs through this football club.”

“I think it’s the perfect time for us to have this game. I think it was a case of trying to figure out the appetite for coming to watch women’s games but we’ve seen since England won the Euros in 2022, the level of interest there is.

Joe Sheehan’s side currently sit fifth in the FAWNL Southern Premier Division. Picture: Phil Ham
Joe Sheehan’s side currently sit fifth in the FAWNL Southern Premier Division. Picture: Phil Ham

“We’ve seen clubs like Newcastle United, who are in our tier, sell out St James’s Park and we’ve seen Championship success and WSL success.

“We’ve realised that there is definitely an appetite and an interest in it, and that people do want to come and watch women’s football, so I think this is the perfect opportunity for us to play a game like this and the ticket sales support that view.”

Boswell said the team’s all-time top scorer, Natasha Thomas, will be looking to add to her 20 goals from 23 games this season.

The skipper added: “I think a couple of the girls have discussed goal celebrations already. At the AGL we get a good crowd but sometimes it’s hard to do big celebrations, knowing it’s not a massive crowd there.

“So, a few of the girls have thought about it, but we don’t want to think too far ahead. It’s more about the occasion and what that means instead of the result and the goals etc.

“Hopefully they will come but that’s not in the forefront of our minds.”

Joe Sheehan’s young side are going through a mixed bag of form and sit fifth after two wins, two losses and a draw in their last five games, but are expected to claim all three points at the weekend.

Boswell addressed her role as captain and said: “We are quite a young squad and even the more senior players in the team are still really young, so it’s a learning curve for me and players like Kyra (Robertson) and Pesk (Sophie Peskett) who are probably regarded as the most senior players in the team.

“It’s a learning curve to know how to navigate certain situations. We’ve had situations like that this year; it hasn’t always been smooth sailing for us as a team. Even the young ones are very mature for their age, so sometimes it’s the other way round.

“It’s just such a together group that we can all see when maybe one player in particular is struggling and we’re really good at coming together and recognising that, and hopefully just being a support for everyone, especially obviously the younger members of the team.”