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Womens Premiership


02 Jul 2019
© AM Photography NI Leigh Skelton in action for Comber Rec Ladies

Comber Rec Ladies goalkeeper Leigh Skelton has confessed that she considered retiring from the sport before joining the club earlier this year.

The 25-year-old had previously been on the books of Crusaders and East Belfast but has spoken of falling out of love with the sport - that was until her move to Comber, for whom she has excelled this campaign.

“Before I joined Comber Rec, I was ready to hang up my gloves,” Skelton admitted.

“I was not enjoying football anymore but my mindset has totally changed since I came here, it has made me want to keep improving and to continue working really hard.

“This club have been so welcoming to me and from day one I have felt like an important part of the team and playing regular football at this level is great.

“No matter what the scoreline is we always go through the match totally united and we are a family regardless of what happens, and our heads will not drop.

“The jump between the second tier and the top-flight here is absolutely massive and I don’t think it is possible to appreciate that until you’ve played in it.

“We all knew this would be a huge challenge for us but the quality of the opposition at this level is so high and that is the standard we all want to emulate.”

Winston ‘Winky’ Kerr’s side are in their first campaign in the top flight after a meteoric rise through the football pyramid - but have gained just one point and conceded 42 goals across their opening eight games, but it’s certainly not down to lack of effort.

“The busier a goalkeeper is, the better they become,” added Skelton.

“There is less time to think and you get used to playing with your instinct, and I certainly think personally that I have improved since I joined the club.

“You are playing naturally and the more you think, the more mistakes you are likely to make.

“As I said, being part of this squad is really great and if you look at a lot of other clubs who have had similar jumps to the top tier, they have folded or had players leaving, but that won’t happen here.

“We have no intentions of that - we fully believe that we will stay in this league and that we belong at this level of football.

“Every week our scorers are getting better and we are becoming more and more competitive.”

Comber face a massive clash on Wednesday as they travel to Derry City - who are also on one point, with both teams cancelling each other out in a scoreless draw - in which Skelton excelled - earlier in the campaign.

“Our games against Derry are massive for our hopes of survival,” the shot-stopper analysed.

“We know that if we can beat them on Wednesday and then when we play them again, then we will have a fantastic chance of staying up.

“We are more than capable of getting those results and staying up is so important because we will get more media coverage, we will have more funding for the league and we can get better players.

“Derry have been in this division for a few seasons already but you can see how they are struggling this season - it shows how tough this division is.”