‘Pleased with the team throughout.’ - Bristol City manager verdict after Championship victory

Lauren Smith guided Bristol City to a 1-0 win over Coventry United to get the FA Women’s Championship campaign up and running

Bristol City manager Lauren Smith was pleased with her side’s performance after defeating Coventry United in their opening FA Women’s Championship match.

The Vixens opened up their 2022/23 campaign with a 1-0 victory at the Butts Park Arena, courtesy of a goal from academy product Jessica Woolley.

After being thread through by City’s all-time record goalscorer Abi Harrison, Wooley showed her composure to lift the ball over goalkeeper Jodie Whiteman for the only goal of the game.

A winning start against a team they were frustrated to draw with last season was what was needed if Smith’s side were to be in contention for promotion this season.

Despite leaving the Midlands with all three points, the Welshwoman said areas of the game could be improved on in the games coming up.

In her post-match chat with Bristol City’s official channels, Smith said: “I think some of us are frustrated it wasn’t more but ultimately what we came for was a win and a clean sheet so that is what we have got.

“We have to be happy with that part, do I think give a bit more, create a few more clear-cut chances, absolutely!

“When you look back at the first-half and the first 20 minutes in particular we were putting the ball on target every two minutes. I am really happy with how we started the game and that we got the win.”

On the topic of goalscorer Wooley, her manager added: “She was excellent and it’s been a long time coming for her. She absolutely deserves it and took it very well, I can’t wait to watch it back.

Plaudits will go to the City attack for their part in the goal with Harrison involved in another City goal with Wooley on target, however a pleasing aspect of the victory was the defensive performance.

Despite the narrow margin of a one goal victory, City’s defence were rarely put under pressure by the opposition and earned a deserved clean sheet.

Manchester United goalkeeper as Wales star to stay put">Fran Bentley, now at the club on a permanent basis after joining from Manchester United, made a save to deny Keny Morris in the first-half but otherwise had a quiet day in between the sticks.

Four new signings in Vicky Bruce, Chloe Mustaki, Emily Syme and Jodie Hutton all featured too in what was a winning start for the new recruits.

First-team boss Smith admitted: “I thought that they were excellent. It didn’t look like they had a lot to do but that is because they defended well.

“They defended the half-way line well and the aerial balls. To be fair to them it might have looked like they had an easy day at the office because they managed the game really well.

“I’m really pleased with the team throughout.”

City return to home comforts next Sunday as they welcome Blackburn Rovers to the High Performance Centre.