SSE Women's FA Cup: Baggies will Boing Back, Believes Boss
Coach Craig Nicholls takes pride in what might have been, as West Bromwich Albion suffer FA Cup heartbreak against Birmingham.
West Bromwich Albion crashed out of the Women’s FA Cup yesterday at the fifth round stage, thanks to a narrow 0-2 defeat to WSL 1 side, and local rivals, Birmingham City WRITES PAUL NICHOLSON.
Goals from Jess Carter (pictured) just before the break, and a debut goal for Blues’ new signing Ellen White on the hour, were enough to send City into the quarter-finals.
But it was a tight game, and Albion manager Craig Nicholls could not hide the pride he had in his side – playing against a side ranked two divisions higher – and rued what might have been, had a first half effort from Abi Cottam found the net.
Speaking to She Kicks, Nicholls said: “I was very proud of my players. They acquitted themselves very well and worked ridiculously hard. [Birmingham] certainly knew they were in a game – which is credit to our group.
“I think if Abi Cottam’s shot had gone in then the game is obviously different. The save from their keeper is probably the best I've seen live, so Abi was terribly unlucky.”
Reflecting on the performance, Nicholls made particular reference to his defence and goalkeeper Becky Thomas.
“The back four stood tall and Becky [Thomas] made a couple of huge saves.
“We tried to balance defending in numbers [with] not being afraid to press high, which I think we executed well. We just needed to be a shade brighter on the ball perhaps.
“We were tired in the last ten minutes, but we still created a few slight opportunities on the counter.”
Albion will be focusing on the league for the remainder of the season, which has been a bit of a disappointing campaign in comparison to their FA Cup exploits.
They sit second from bottom of the FAWPL Northern Division, on 13 points – six points above basement side Newcastle United.
However, having only played 11 league games, they now have four and five games in hand of their rivals, and will be looking to climb the table and salvage some pride from their remaining matches.
Nicholls will hope his team can maintain the level of performance from Sunday’s defeat. Should they do so, then the results should come.
He said: “We’ve set a standard over the last two weeks, and although the results haven’t gone for us, the performances have been very good. We have to continue this, and not relax on what we did yesterday.
“The players want to move up the league – we just need to put the points together with the performances.”
West Brom’s next game is at home to third placed Derby County on Wednesday evening, with a 7.45pm kick-off.
Neither are workable or likely at present but hypothetically, would you prefer a more strict salary cap in the FA WSL OR should centrally contracted England players (that receive salaries from The FA) be allocated more evenly around WSL1 clubs?