Dan McNamara has given credit to his side after Wolves Women reached the semi-final of the Birmingham Challenge Cup.
A 4-0 victory over Boldmere St Michaels at Compton Park ensured the Old Gold’s progression into the final four of a competition they have won back-to-back over the last two seasons. Manager McNamara has praised the way the team grew into the game against the Mikes and, in particular, the performances of goalkeeper Bec Thomas and the rest of the backline, who he says have grown as a defensive group in recent weeks.
On getting into the semi-final
“It was a good performance in the end and it’s always pleasing to get through in the quarter-final of a cup.
“The challenge for the girls is, as ever, to try and be in all of the competitions come January. They managed that last year and with some big games coming up, hopefully we can keep performing and see if we can achieve that goal.”
On settling into the game
“We took a little bit of time to settle into the game – that’s the nature of these cup ties, especially against local opposition.
“We know it’s always going to be a feisty game. They’ve got some great players and they want to battle, they want to make it a real competitive game.
“We felt we could get through the first 20 minutes and then start to settle and grow into the game. That was evident out there today, especially the way we moved the ball in the second half, I thought we were fantastic at times.
“Massive credit to the girls. I think they’ve listened to what we talked about this week and executed another game plan. Rightly so they’ve got themselves four goals and into a semi-final, so fantastic for them.”
On battling in tough conditions
“It was tricky at times but the pitch is fantastic, as you would expect. The pitch was brilliant for what we wanted to do.
“We wanted to move the ball quickly and we’d set some patterns up that we thought we were going to be effective with.
“The wind and rain at times is not great, especially when it’s blowing into the dugout. I think everyone dealt with it and came through it.
“The girls are really pleased and overall it’s a good day at the office.”
On keeping a clean sheet
“We pride ourselves on clean sheets as well as wins. It’s great for Bec (Thomas). She’s competing with another top goalkeeper in Shan (Turner).
“We’re blessed to have two fantastic goalkeepers. When she comes in and keeps clean sheets she makes my decisions more difficult.
“What pleased me most about Bec today was her distribution. It’s like having a fourth centre half in there, especially when we play with that back three. It’s fantastic for her and I’m delighted for Bec.”
On the defensive line
“The backline over the last few weeks are really starting to show a real maturity. We’ve had some of those girls – KJ (Katie Johnson), Morph (Anna Morphet), Emma (Cross) – for a long time now and they’ve grown.
“Some of the performances they’re putting in, alongside Ellie Wilson who comes in with her own pedigree, I’m delighted to see the likes of KJ who’s been here since 10 years old and Anna Morphet and Emma who’ve been here for my whole journey. They’ve really started to grow and impose themselves on games.
“I thought they were excellent today. I’m delighted for the backline and for the goalkeeper.”
On always looking to improve
“There’s always stuff we can work on and improve on. We want to be better week on week, so we’ll have a look back at the video and we’ll take it from there and see how we’re going to prepare next week.
“I’m looking forward to seeing it back and there are some good goals there where we can really go away and analyse.
“It will be the flip side of it that we really dig down into – what can we do better? Ultimately, we want to be better week on week.”