The dust has settled on the first ever season of Development Team football for Maidenhead United Women and the campaign has been a roaring success for the side coached by Niall Irwin, Ryan Robinson and Max Scott. 
The team – sponsored by The Alfred Family in memory of Tim Alfred - has competed in the FA Women’s National League Reserve Division South East & Central against some well-established sides but they have secured some remarkable results and a string of players have now also appeared for Ed Jackson Norris’s record-breaking First Team having played for the Development side this season. 
One of those players is teenager Emily Norfolk, who joined the club last summer from Wycombe Wanderers along with her twin sister Amy, who has also played for both the First and Development team in their first season with the club. Emily – who made 14 starts for the Development side – recalls her early interactions with the club and admits “you could tell by the enthusiasm and support of the coaches that they believed in our ability to make First Team appearances and that we could produce results.” 
It did not take Emily long to make that transition, and she has subsequently made six starts and seven substitute appearances for the First Team, scoring her first ever goal in the black and white against Penn & Tylers in the Combined Counties League Cup in November. She continues: “When I then transitioned into the First Team it was evident that all the hard work was for a reason. It’s amazing to be at a club where links between the two teams are clear and it is incredibly supportive from all players and coaches.” 
The first half of the campaign was difficult for the newly formed Development squad, but there were signs of the character and determination these young players would continue to demonstrate as they won through two rounds of the League Cup via penalty shoot-outs. The first FAWNL win did not come until February but the team ended bang in form, winning their final three league fixtures to deservedly move off the bottom of the final league table. Emily reflects: “Even though results didn’t come straight away for the Development, it was worth the wait and built stronger character within the team to pick ourselves back up and fight for the results we knew we deserved each week.” 
The team will be raring to go again next season. MUWFC Development players must be aged sixteen years or over to represent the team in the FAWNL and for further information about the Development team please contact secretary@maidenheadunitedfc.org. 
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