Spacey-Cale's message on 'resilience' after back-to-back results at league leaders

Marieanne Spacey-Cale (Pic: Ryan Asman/Since 71)
Marieanne Spacey-Cale (Pic: Ryan Asman/Since 71)

SAINTS Women’s boss Marieanne Spacey-Cale credited her side’s “resilience” after they made it three unbeaten in their debut Championship season.

Spacey-Cale’s charges earned their fifth point of the campaign when they fought from behind to hold league leaders Bristol City 1-1 at Ashton Gate on Sunday.

It was a second trip to the top of the table’s main stadium in as many weeks, beating Crystal Palace 2-1 at Selhurst Park previously.

It meant three matches without defeat after Saints battled from two goals down to draw 2-2 at Lewes and bounce back from their opening day defeat to Charlton Athletic at St Mary’s.

With only one team relegated back down to the National League, Saints are already showing all the tools required to fulfil their ambition of solidifying their Championship berth.

“Both of these games we were probably not expected to get many points but we have, we’ve got four,” Spacey-Cale told the Daily Echo, speaking after the draw at Ashton Gate.

“We’ve been hard to beat over the last couple weeks and the second-half summed up the character the squad has and we keep talking about resilience.

“We have had to grow up quickly in this league but the last few performances have showed that level of maturity that we are growing up and are starting to make better decisions in games.”

Saints were trailing at half-time due to an Abi Harrison goal and had struggled throughout to get any grip on the contest, versus the former WSL and promotion hopefuls.

“I think we got away with the first-half, we were poor but the character and resilience shows it’s there and we need to earn the right to play with the ball,” she added.

“We weren’t quick enough, we were caught on our heels and Bristol (City) were sharper than us. They were quicker to the ball and moving it, credit to them I thought they played really well in the first-half and we just weren’t at it.

“We reacted to things rather than being proactive and waiting for things to happen rather than moving into positions and being ready.”

But Spacey-Cale continued: “The girls just have to believe, trust each other, the process and yourselves. The goal early in the second-half was about trusting each other, a good passage of play nice and early.

“We came out a lot sharper so to finish that play with a goal was what we deserved and gave us probably a little bit of belief.

“We had a couple more chances, half-time is about how do you adapt if you need to but also how do you stay positive if you need to? It had to be a strong positive message, and not just ripping into them because that can have a more negative effect.”

After south-west trips to the likes of Bridgwater United last season were marred with torrential rain making the non-league pitches almost impossible to play on, the away days this season have represented well the step up.

Saints, who are also seeking to host as many of their matches as possible at St Mary’s, have had the luxury of playing in main stadia such as Selhurst Park and Ashton Gate and Spacey-Cale thanks the clubs for the experiences put on.

“Credit to Bristol City for putting the game on at Ashton Gate and getting a good crowd in as well,” she said.

“It’s what the club and players deserve, to have a showcase in stadiums like this for what talent is within women’s football.”

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