Bristol City manager reserves high praise for Southampton

Lauren Smith reflected after City’s 1-1 draw with Southampton in front of a crowd of almost 4,000 at Ashton Gate

Bristol City manager Lauren Smith says that Southampton were the best side they have played so far after a 1-1 draw at Ashton Gate.

The Vixens earned a point against the Saints, but were left frustrated after dropping points from a winning position, which was the first time that they hadn’t won in this campaign.

A crowd of 3,637 came out to support Smith’s side at the changed venue of Ashton Gate, for a side who are chasing promotion to the Women’s Super League.

Wales international Ffion Morgan opened the scoring for the hosts before the hour mark but the away side got themselves back on level terms early in the second period with an equaliser from Beth Lumsden.

Giving her thoughts to Robins TV in her post-match interview, she said: It’s a bit frustrating. I think we could have put the game to bed in the first 45. We had some really good chances and we should have taken some earlier shots perhaps and a little bit of care in the final third.

“They have come out of the traps in the second-half, exactly what we expected them to do. They hit us on the counter and they did it. Frustrated around that and I know the whole player and staff will be frustrated that it has cost us the three points.

“Ultimately, we’re still unbeaten and we have to take the positives from the game. I thought our pressing was excellent, we caused them so many problems and we just have to turn that into our opportunities as well. Frustrated but some really good positives out of it.”

Despite the draw, City remained unbeaten in their opening four league matches, having won their first three opening matches.

Smith’s side are top of the table and are a point above Charlton Athletic and Crystal Palace. Lumsden’s goal was the first they had conceded this season after shutting out Sunderland, Blackburn Rovers and Coventry United.

Southampton are newly promoted after winning the National League play-offs last year and the Hampshire based side hadn’t lost their last two matches leading into the fixture.

City’s ambitions this year are to get promoted to the WSL, which would bring riches to the football club after a bumper new broadcast deal from Sky Sports.

The Vixens manager did admit however that did say she wanted her sides to be dominant in possession but that small changes may be needed to build a solid platform for success.

“We know it isn’t going to be plain sailing,” admitted the City boss.

“It’s going to be a tough league. Southampton are a good team, they’re a counter-attacking team but they are better than the ones we have played. We have to be ready to prepare ourselves for these.

“If we want to dominate the way that we do, teams are going to want to use the space against us. We have to be better than any other team in the league at defending that. We’re going to keep on our high pressing roll because we are so good at it and we’ll just have to tweak how we make sure we get out of games with three points out of it.”

Attention now turns away from the league for the time being as they welcome Crystal Palace to the High Performance Centre next Sunday (October 2) for their opening group stage match of the League Cup.