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Oxtoby delighted with squad effort

City Women boss Tanya Oxtoby was full of praise for her squad who played with confidence and put their bodies on the line to secure a semi-final berth in the FA Continental Cup.

A second half brace from Ebony Salmon saw off the challenge from Villa under the lights at Twerton Park and saw Oxtoby’s team kick-off 2021 with a home victory.

“It was a super effort from the players today. We’ve had such a tough day; we’ve had a tough year to be honest,” said Oxtoby

“They’ve played with so much freedom in the cup, which has been great to see and they played with a smile on their face. Villa threw everything at us, and we held our own and I’m really pleased the girls now have a semi-final to look forward to.”

Oxtoby was full of praise for Benedicte Håland, who came into the side late following Sophie Baggaley’s withdrawal due to Covid-19 and the Norwegian put in an outstanding performance to help the Robins secure their place in the final four.

“Beni was brilliant tonight, she’s had to wait for her opportunity and that’s the beauty of games like this where things don’t go your way in terms of planning but we have adapted and adjusted.

“We’ve brought two kids off the bench in a 16-year-old and 18-year-old, which when you compare to the changes Villa were making our future is very bright. Beni was fantastic tonight and I’m so pleased for her as she has waited so long for her opportunity.”

Salmon second half brace saw off Villa at Twerton Park (via JMPUK)

The Australian was pleased to see Ebony act on what was said to her at half-time as she provided a calm head to clinically dispatch her two best opportunities in the second half.

“We spoke to Ebony at half time about being a bit more clinical and she did that in the second half. The first one was brilliant and the second goal where she has rounded the ‘keeper and finished off is the composure we have been after.”

Oxtoby couldn’t fault her playing group, who had to overcome a lot of adversity in the build-up to the game with three first team players entering self-isolation and she’s delighted the club now have a semi-final to look forward to.

“I thought the whole team tonight was exceptional with the changes we had to make. Everyone came in and did their job, and I’m pleased the players have a semi-final to look forward to.

“I wanted the girls to focus on us tonight and what we were doing, release the shackles a little bit and we’ll do the same in the semi-final no matter who we play. I’m really pleased for the staff and the players as it’s been a tough season and this is a little beacon of light for us.”


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