AFC Unity’s whirlwind first ever season continued in a home struggle against Brampton Rovers.
After beating them 3-4 at Brampton, the Rovers had their revenge at Hillsborough College, going into half-time ahead by just one goal, before snatching a second in the 70th minute.
“I thought we played much better in the second half,” said manager Jay Baker. “But then against the run of play, Brampton put the ball in the net again, and that’s what it’s all about, so credit to them.”
Coach Olivia Murray agreed: “It’s disappointing because we were the better team and played the better football, but unfortunately we couldn’t find the back of the net.”
“Our football is fluid, and the goals will come with time,” said vice-captain Rosie Oates.
This sentiment was reinforced by captain Jane Watkinson: “It was a frustrating game, but we’ve got lots to take from it, with some really good football played.”
Defensive veteran Sarah Richards shared the feeling: “We just didn’t seem to get into our groove, which was really frustrating.”
“It was very frustrating,” admitted Murray, “but that just shows how much everyone wants to win.”
After last week’s vow to add fire-power, Baker admitted what he felt are his own challenges as a manager.
“You’ll often play certain personalities in specific positions for a particular kind of dynamic within the team,” he said. “That hasn’t afforded me the ability to create more chances up front, but now it’s definitely time to be bold, and we have the kind of players who enjoy being challenged and taken out of their comfort zone – because they’re team players, and the struggle against the odds goes on.”
The positivity in the AFC Unity camp remains despite the disappointing result.
“No game is a loss because we learn and improve and bond as a team every time we play,” added Oates. “We know as a team we can out-pass, out-pace and out-play most teams in the league, and sometimes we let that get the better of us, and that’s what we did today – but we had fun.”
“We’re a strong side with a great team spirit, and one of the things we do best is taking positives out of all experiences,” added Watkinson.
“This is a fantastic team to work with, and a wonderful bunch of ladies,” said Murray. “It was just one of those days. Onwards and upwards!”
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