Football: St Nicholas should be proud, says England women boss Mark Sampson

Gazette Series: John Seymour, manager of St Nicholas Ladies Football team in Chipping Sodbury (3433058) John Seymour, manager of St Nicholas Ladies Football team in Chipping Sodbury (3433058)

FA Women’s Cup Second Round

Cardiff City 3 St Nicholas 0

ENGLAND women’s manager Mark Sampson praised St Nicholas for their FA Cup exploits after they bowed out bravely at Cardiff City on Sunday.

St Nicks boss John Seymour revealed he was sent a message on Twitter by Sampson, who left Bristol Academy to replace Hope Powell as England boss last month, and he shared it with his squad at training last night.

Sampson wrote: “3-0 is a really credible result today John. You and the club should be very proud. Well done.”

Seymour said: “It was nice to have a pat on the back like that.”

St Nicholas won four games to reach the second round proper for the first time in their history and were massive underdogs against a Cardiff team two divisions above them.

After a nervy start where they found themselves 3-0 down inside 30 minutes, St Nicholas kept out the the South West Premier Division title-chasers out for the remainder of the game at the Cardiff International Sports Stadium and created some half-chances of their own.

Seymour said: “The girls were outstanding and played their hearts out. It was a moral victory keeping it at 0-0 in the second half.

“In the first 20 minutes we were a bit over-awed. The girls weren’t really in it and it took a while to get to the pace of the game but once we changed a few things and had a chat at half-time they did us proud.

“We got the coach over there early and they were buzzing and relaxed. I told them to be positive, concentrate on enjoying the experience and go out to play football and that’s exactly what they did.”

The home side started at a quick tempo and they opened the scoring inside ten minutes.

Cheered on by between 80 and 100 supporters, St Nicks defended for their lives and goalkeeper Ellie Soper made some impressive saves, but Cardiff soon doubled their lead after a goalmouth scramble.

The game was virtually over as a contest when Cardiff added a controversial third goal in the 30th minute with the ball appearing to go in off an arm of one of their players.

Although Cardiff continued to dominate possession in the second half, they were stifled by a tremendous defensive display by St Nicholas.

Even when the home side were awarded a penalty, Jade Gamlin, who replaced Soper in goal for the second half, pulled off a remarkable diving save from ex-Gloucester City star Paige Stewart to keep the spot-kick out.

Seymour has called on his side to take this performance into their South West Women’s Premier Division campaign, where they are top with a game against second-placed Truro to come at Yate Town’s Lodge Road ground on Sunday (2pm).

He said: “We proved we can compete at this level so hopefully that’s a positive we can take from it. Our objective is to win the league and get in the league below Cardiff.”

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