'We're a different animal' - City Women boss delighted after latest win
- Credit: Ian Randall
Norwich City Women boss Shaun Howes believes his side are “a completely different animal to last season” after extending their unbeaten run with a 2-0 win at QPR on Sunday.
The Canaries remain second in Division One of the National Women’s League as goals from Kathryn Stanley and Megan Todd gave them all three points but Howes admitted it was his side’s defensive display that pleased him most at Loftus Road.
“I’m really pleased, a really professional performance against a good team,” said Howes, whose side only trail leaders C&K Basildon on goal difference. “We had to dig in deep in patches, but I think it was a thoroughly deserved win.
“We are a completely different animal to last season. The girls have shown that what we went through last season has really affected them. It’s made them really hungry to want to achieve.”
Stanley opened the scoring with a wonder goal in the first half and admitted it felt good to get her first of the campaign.
“I think every time a ball is played forward, you look to get towards goal,” Stanley said. “(When the ball came to me) I’m just going to hit this, and I don’t score a lot, so it’s good to get the first of the season.”
Stanley added on playing at Loftus Road: “It just shows how much the game is growing. The numbers are getting bigger and bigger every week.
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“It made the game so high pressured. Every time the ball came out, it felt like it was coming back in. There were bodies put on the line. The girls were amazing.”
QPR had their chances, testing Bryony Williams on more than one occasion. Katie Akerman almost squeezed an effort under her and then Vicky Grieve hit the post from an uncleared corner.
Rangers didn’t go quietly. Laura Hennessy’s free kick from 25 yards hit the post but Williams was more than up to the test of the Rangers’ attack, making countless stops.
Howes said he has the utmost confidence in his goalkeeper.
“We are comfortable that anything from distance Bryony will save,” he added. “We have such a great goalkeeper that unless it is an absolute worldie, we are confident she will deal with anything.”
It wasn’t just the keeper that kept QPR at bay. City’s defensive unit worked well, keeping their third clean sheet in five.
“They couldn’t break us down,” added Howes. “They couldn’t get in behind us. I think the back four were unbelievable. They have been all five games.”
The unbeaten run continues for City and will stay that way in the league for at least two weeks as they have a break from league football and head to Watford in the FA Cup.
“It’s a little bit nicer than it was this time last season,” reflects Howes on his side’s start to the season. “We are by no means the finished article. We are not good enough not to keep working hard. As long as we keep up that effort, the girls will get what they deserve.”
Another plus 500 crowd watched this game and Howes hopes the big crowds continue.
“This division and these girls deserve to play in front of big crowds in places like this,” he said. “But if we play them again next season, I don’t think they will invite us back here in case we beat them again.”
QPR: Katie McLean, Alice Curr, Ellie Searle, Chole Gunn, Vicky Grieve, Georgie Lewin, Melanie Hall, Laura Hennessy, Emilia Nygaard-Parsons, Katie Akerman, Brogan Moore. Subs: Kasha Petit, Erin Pope, Lauren Jordinson, Ellen Wardlaw, Sue Kumaning.
Norwich: Bryony Williams, Chardonnay Johnston, Alice Parker, Anna Larkins, Megan Todd, Natasha Snelling, Katie Knights, Millie Daviss, Ceri Flye, Kathryn Stanley, Freya Symonds. Subs: Rosie George, Jess Harper, Leilah Gooding, Ella Campbell, Olivia Cook.