It’s been a busy few weeks since my last column with plenty of action for both club and country.

We had a couple of ‘empty’ weekends after the league defeat to Coventry back in October which gave the squad plenty of time to put some extra work in and prepare for two more big home games.

Having dropped points this season whilst watching the likes of Coventry and Chichester roll on, every match has become a big game for us.

I like that though, it is the sort of pressure the best teams thrive on and if we are serious about winning the league, then that’s what we’re going to have to do – deliver under pressure.

I went away with the Wales team for two friendlies in Portugal. They were the first games since the England defeat and, in all honesty, we are still coming to terms with how close we got without achieving our end goal of World Cup qualification.

It was a good opportunity for our manager, Jayne Ludlow, to try new things and have a look at some of the younger players against a good opposition with their own recent history of qualifying for a major tournament (Euro 2017).

The games were tight and although we didn’t play as well as we’d have hoped, we were resilient and learnt a lot about different styles of play and how best to adapt.

The first game ended in a 1-0 defeat to an injury-time volley and the second we ground out a 0-0 draw. It brought down the curtain on international football for 2018 and we will go again with a trip to Italy in January.

Back to club matters, we have had two home games against MK Dons and most recently, top-of-the-table Chichester City Ladies.

Unfortunately, I missed the MK Dons game as it fell over the weekend that I was in Portugal but by all accounts it was one to forget. Whether there was an element of complacency in the squad as the opposition had been struggling a little bit in the league or if it was just a bad day, I don’t know but we made sure that it was dealt with in training last week and we know we can’t afford to let it happen again.

I think coming up against the side at the top of the table was, oddly, a good thing for us. There was no room for doubt as to how we would need to approach the game and the level we would need to be at to make it count.

Thankfully, we put in what I would say was the best 90 (+7) minute performance of the season. Until Sunday, we had played games where we’d been at our best for maybe 30, 45 or 60 minutes of a game but from the first whistle to the last, each player stood up and was counted. From those that started to those who came on as well as the unused subs and the under-23 team in the stands, it was a real ‘one-club’ feeling and it certainly paid off as we won the game 1-0.

In truth, it could have been two or three goals and V in goal only had one real save to make – a well hit free-kick in the first half. We had one chalked off for offside – I’m still not convinced it was by the way – and a couple of other good opportunities that the away side’s goalkeeper did well to keep out. We played as a team and never looked like crumbling, even under a spell of late pressure.

What I liked the most, however, was the level of discipline and calmness on and off the ball. The game got quite heated at times and in recent weeks we have let ourselves down a little by reacting in a negative way. Sunday, it was different. We let the referee do his job and we did ours and it made a big difference.

Now we need to keep that sort of form up, we have an FA Cup game in two weeks’ time and a long away trip to Plymouth to end the calendar year. Win both of those and we will be in good shape come 2019.