Following the heartbreak of the penalty shoot-out at Park Hall in the SSE Women’s FA Cup fourth round, TNS Ladies’ manager Andy Williams, reflects on the day.
Firstly, I want to pause and focus minds on Emma Alexandre (the Chichester City captain). It was a particularly nasty injury, one we are hoping looks much worse than it actually is. Out thoughts are with her, her family and her teammates.
My overriding thoughts of the game are of pride. Most people in female football circles would not have given us a prayer; to take a quality higher division side all the way to the wire was a sensational effort.
The girls are naturally disappointed, probably more so because we always back ourselves when it comes to penalties. However, if we are honest, the better side came out victorious in the end. We congratulate Matt Wright and his team and wish them well in the next round.
I thought Chichester started the brighter with my team looking a little nervous and overawed. We played our way into the game and the goal then settled us. We knew Chichester would come back at us, yet we showed bravery in repelling so many attacks without being able to create too many chances of our own.
We are all hurting, but I’ve challenged the girls to use this hurt to fuel their future ambitions for the remainder of the season. People rightly tell me we are having a good season; in response, and without being flippant, I say the end of the season will determine how good it has been!
What I do know is that we’ve learnt a great deal from the game – most importantly that as a side we can handle ourselves at the next level. We know what we must do.