On January 30th, Bridgwater United hosted Women’s Super League heavyweights Manchester United in the FA Cup.
Although Bridgwater suffered a 2-0 defeat, they did incredibly well to keep the score down and do themselves and the club proud.
However one player in particular who deserves a lot of applause, not only for that game but throughout the whole season, is goalkeeper Beth Howard.
In front of a sold out 2,500 strong crowd, she was able to showcase her talent on a much wider scale compared to usual.
Deservingly, after the game against Man United, the 26-year-old received praise not only from neutral fans, but the opposition ones too. They had no problem giving credit where it was due.
Having started every game bar one so far this season in the Women’s National League, she has definitely established herself as one of the best goalkeepers within the league. Bridgwater currently sit fifth in the FAWNL South and, despite the fact she might not admit it, she’s definitely been a key part of getting the club into that position.
In big situations, Howard shows up and puts her experience and excellence on display.
A standout moment so far this season was when United travelled to Cardiff midweek in a tense game and the home side were awarded a penalty. The Cardiff player stepped up to take the penalty but Howard pulled out a save, once again showing her composure and class.
Before the club changed its identity to Bridgwater, Howard had been playing for Yeovil and has really been through the highs and lows with the club. Not only was she with the side when they were relegated from tier one to tier three, but also in the 2017/18 season when the club were promoted to the WSL.
A few people may recognise her name from the 2018/19 season. The goalkeeper union consisted of Howard herself and current Brighton and Hove goalkeeper Megan Walsh. Although it was Walsh who ended up getting the most minutes, the games in which Howard played really gave a true representation of how close it was to pick between the two.
When the club announced the re-signing of the shot-stopper this season, she stated how she was “excited to take this club forward in its exciting new era.”
From the fans’ perspective, it was definitely reassuring to know the club was in safe hands for another season.
What does Beth Howard offer?
After being in and around the club for numerous seasons, there is no shadow of doubt that Bridgwater’s No.1 offers the club a lot.
Not only can she use her experience during games and training, she’s also not afraid to use her vocal side.
The experience comes in useful seeming as Bridgwater have a very young squad. Her dedication and hard work can definitely be seen on the pitch and she is most certainly a player you should watch out for.