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‘We gave everything’ – Beard

Matt Beard was left ‘gutted’ for the players, staff and everyone associated with Bristol City Women as the Robins fell at the final hurdle in their bid for Barclays FAWSL survival.

🎥  Beard reacts to final day defeat

City travelled to the People’s Pension Stadium knowing only a win would give them a chance of avoiding relegation, whilst hoping other results went their way. However, a 3-1 defeat at the hands of the Seagulls sealed their fate as they were relegated to the FA Championship.

Goals from Maya Le Tissier and Lee Guem-Min gave the hosts a 2-0 lead before Abi Harrison pulled a goal back for the visitors to give the Robins hope of a comeback. Those faint hopes were dashed shortly after when Inessa Kaagman’s deflected freekick nestled in the back of the net to confirm the result.

Speaking to Robins TV Beard said: “Obviously we’re devastated, you can see by the reaction after the game. The players have left everything on the pitch today – it’s not through the want of trying but unfortunately, we couldn’t cross the line in this relegation battle.

“I have said all week and prior to this, to put ourselves in this position the players deserve an enormous amount of credit considering where we were when I came in. It’s bitterly disappointing, but we have to get today out the way and tomorrow is a new day and we deal with it from there.

“We started well and then we conceded early from a set play, which doesn’t help the situation and circumstances that you’re in. Then after that we didn’t do the fundamentals of our game well enough – there was still 85-86 minutes of the game left at that point for us to do what we needed to do.

“It’s frustrating but we’re a young team and we’ll learn from experiences like this.”

Beard arrived at Bristol City in January as maternity cover for Tanya Oxtoby and the second half of the season saw a remarkable turnaround in form as the Robins picked up 10 points through 11 rounds to be in the fight for survival on the last day.

However, Beard cited missed opportunities and fitness issues earlier on in the campaign as what has ultimately cost the Robins their top-flight status.

“I think you if you look at the games where we could have got more points, the West Ham game especially and Birmingham away. We were in front and then have been pegged back, and we’ve had some unbelievable chances in those games to win it.

He continued: “It’s not about today, it’s about the whole season. We’ve got a small and young squad – Tanya had her problems with injuries at the start of the year and when I came in fitness was a big issue.

“We’ve worked incredibly hard to get ourselves in this position and I’m desperately disappointed we couldn’t cross the line – I’m gutted for the players, staff and the club.

“We can’t change it now, once it sets in and tomorrow is a new day, we have got to make sure that we learn from some of things that have happened this season, and we go again.”


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