We’ve dissected Hashtag United’s season to produce a statistical analysis of their title-winning campaign.
As clubs begin to prepare for next season following a riveting FA WNL campaign which saw four league titles memorably decided on goal difference, we pause for a moment to reflect on a historic 2022-23 campaign for Hashtag United and highlight some of the key numbers behind their success.
3 – Is the magic number
Three years and three days after Hashtag United announced the merger with AFC Basildon to bring the club under the Tags umbrella, Jason Stephens’s side secured their place in the third tier as they beat QPR 4-1 to win the FA WNL Division One South East title.
The Tags collected 49 points on their way to lifting the crown with a record of 16 wins, 1 draw, and 1 defeat.
2.72 – Points win prizes
Hashtag United averaged 2.72 points per game en route to lifting the league title – the highest points per game average of any side in the Women’s National League and the second-best record in the FA WNL Division One South East since its inception in 2014.
The Tags fared marginally better on the road than they did on their own patch, earning an average of 2.78 points per game on their travels compared to 2.67 at Parkside.
11 – Quick off the mark
Malika Apindia scored the fastest goal of the season for Hashtag United after a mere 11 seconds of play after the Belgium forward got herself into the right position to receive the ball and slot it past Lucia Delves in the Chesham United goal from an acute angle.
1,620 – Ever present
Tags number 5 and skipper Grace Gillard captained her team from the first whistle until the last as the only ever-present during Hashtag United’s FA Division One South East campaign.
In total, Gillard played 1,620 minutes, scoring ten times – making her the highest-scoring defender in the division last term.
9 – Just keep winning, just keep winning
9 – Hashtag’s longest win streak during their title-winning campaign was nine matches with an aggregate of 46 scored and only 8 conceded – the longest winning run during the 2022-23 Division One South East season by a margin of 4 wins.
In fact, Jason Stephens’s side were so consistent, they also held the record for the second-most wins on the spin with seven.
8 – Golden Glove
Jamie-Lee Bamford, who has since departed the club to pursue a career in the forces, kept an impressive 8 clean sheet in 12 appearances between the sticks for the Tags to claim the divisional Golden Glove award.
With a clean sheet rate of 67%, Bamford’s longest run without conceding a goal was four matches including shutouts against Chesham United, Cambridge City, Actonians, and Ashford Town.
77 – Currency of football
If goals are the currency of football, then Hashtag United delivered exceptional value in 2022-23.
In fact, with 77 goals in 18 games, Tags had the best goalscoring record in the entire Women’s National League, averaging 4.28 goals per game while scoring at least 25 times more than any of their league rivals.
Shared between 14 players, striker Sammy Rowland finished the season as the team’s top taliswoman with 12 goals in 13 appearances. An excellent return from the 2022-23 Vitality Women’s FA Cup Golden Ball winner.
0 – No way back
The Tags dropped a grand total of zero points from winning positions, at home or on their travels, en route to winning the title.
Once the Essex side took the lead, they maintained their momentum to taste victory every single time.
63 – Goals make the difference
After experiencing the heartbreak of missing out on the league title on the final day of the 2021-22 season to rivals Billericay Town, Hashtag United regrouped and came back the following season with a relentless attitude, which was reflected in the team’s goal difference.
With a record of plus sixty-three, their goal difference was the best in the league by a wide margin.
1 – There’s only one ‘Big Al‘
Alex Bailess’s biggest contributions to the sport may no longer be on the pitch, but that doesn’t make her three, albeit brief, league appearances during the 2022-23 league campaign any less significant for the footballer-turned-content creator.
Forced into early retirement at the age of 26 due to cardiomyopathy, a disease of the heart muscle which affects its size, shape, or thickness, the close relationship between club and player remains strong as Bailess returned to the pitch to help the Tags earn promotion and was on the field to share the moment the Tags clinched the title with her friends and teammates.
BEST OF THE REST
5 – Malika Apindia was singled out by her contemporaries more than any other Hashtag United player last term, with the forward being given the nod as Opposition Player of the Match on no less than five occasions.
268 – United’s largest home crowd of the 2022-23 season was in a 4-0 victory over QPR as 268 fans were on hand to witness the Tags lift the FA WNL Division One South East trophy.
31 – Stephens fielded a total of 31 players during the 2022-23 season, including 27 different players in his starting eleven.
8 – Tags completed the league double over eight out of nine of their league rivals.
15 – In one of the most crushing defeats of the season, Tags put Chesham United to the sword to beat the Division One South East newcomers 13-2 in their highest-scoring league game of the season.
11 – Maizi Garwood was the most called-upon player from the bench with the 21-year-old midfielder making 11 substitute appearances.
3 – Three players started every league game: Malika Apindia, Hayley West, and ever-present Grace Gillard.
11 – United’s substitutes made a big impact from the bench, contributing eleven league goals.
2 – Jason Stephens was recognised as the FA WNL Division One South East Manager of the Year on the back of his team’s success for the second year running.