Nicholl pleased despite defeat

COLERAINE Ladies manager Alison Nicholl admits she was pleased with her side’s performance as they were edged out by Foyle Belles last night…

The visitors would seal a 3-2 success against the Bannsiders who certainly produced a valiant effort against one of the favourites to win the Division One title.

Nicholl explained that it was a very good game of football for those who were watching and outlined the first-half which saw four goals scored.

“It was a very entertaining and challenging game against Foyle Belles,” she said.

“I think all of our supporters would agree it was a very good game of football and we had plenty of encouragement from the sidelines.

“We had to call upon the services of Jimmy Alexander because the referee didn’t turn up and Jimmy stepped into the breach and done a fantastic job – so thanks to him.

“The first half started really well and was end to end stuff. Foyle Belles probably dominated the first five or ten minutes and Cerys Sharkey pulled off several fantastic saves to keep us in the game.

“Foyle took the lead on 20 minutes after breaking through and they had a lot of joy down our left-hand side.

“However, we bounced back really well and we didn’t let our heads go down and I think the support from the sidelines helped with that.

“It was a very physical battle in the middle of the park, there was a lot of good football played and we came back within five minutes as Abby Alexander calmly slotted the ball into the back of the net.

“Foyle managed to regain the lead via the same side but we equalised straight away as Abby controlled the ball and found the top corner from outside the box to level the scores at the break.”

The visitors would find the all important fifth goal of the game and Nicholl highlighted that Foyle Belles’ wingers were a massive influence on the outcome of the contest.

“The half-time team talk was really about rallying the team because I think we were giving them a bit too much respect,” she continued.

“We know they are a very good side but we stood off them a wee bit and we encouraged the girls to get closer and get down on first touches very quickly.

“We asked them to be a little more competitive and first to the ball and it worked really well because we had a super second half.

“It could have gone either way. In the second half they got the third goal, it came down the left hand side.

“They had a lot of joy from their wingers who were really fast and direct.

“We didn’t let our heads go down and we had a couple of opportunities from set pieces that we didn’t put away.”

Nicholl spoke of her excitement at working with such a young squad of players and knows they have a good opportunity of collecting all three points next week against Crewe Ladies.

“I was incredibly pleased with the team’s performance. We had outstanding performances all over the pitch,” she concluded.

“Our goalkeeper was outstanding and made superb saves in the first half and ten minutes from the end even when there was a very bad tackle put on her.

“Cerys has been so brave and at the age of 14 she has been a terrific signing for us this year.

“Abby took her goals really well and I think having all her family there helped push her on.

“Solid all over and it was a very pleasing performance because we have a lot of young players in our team.

“Foyle are up there vying for top spot so we have to be pleased ahead of the game with Crewe next week who are bottom of the table.

“We will play 5-a-side on Friday night then a light session on Tuesday before the game on Wednesday where we will be expecting to take three points.”

Coleraine Ladies would like to thank GA Motors for sponsoring the match ball.

You can take a look at the league table and upcoming fixtures HERE.