I’m proud of them. I’m pleased that a Birmingham team can go to Arsenal and dictate, especially in the first half.BCFC
Emma Follis’ equaliser, after Jordan Nobbs’ opener, gave Blues hope but they gave away “sloppy goals” which were capitalised effectively on by the Gunners.
He said: “I thought the girls were excellent. Their endeavour, their work rate, their connections were excellent. But we’ve given away sloppy goals that you can’t afford to give away, especially against a team like Arsenal – that’s inevitably what’s killed us.
“But, I’m proud of them. I’m pleased that a Birmingham team can go to Arsenal and dictate, especially in the first half. Although we haven’t created much, you tire the opposition out by doing that and they were getting demotivated.
“We’ve got to cut out those mistakes. But the mistakes today were uncharacteristic.”
Blues had held Arsenal during the first 45 minutes and went toe to toe with the league leaders. However, the defence was breached by Nobbs who scored her first of the afternoon when she found space at the edge of the 18-yard box.
However, seconds later Follis levelled the score line. The striker got her first of the season with a lovely dinked finish over the ‘keeper moments after the restart.
Skinner said: “You can’t ask for a better response, can you? I wondered how we’d respond if we went down, because it was a poor goal. And you can’t respond much better than that. I was pleased with the way they attacked.”
The eagle eyed may have noticed that while Arsenal celebrated their opening goal, Follis came over to the bench to chat with her manager. But what did he say?
“I’d like to say that I told her to go through here and flick it over the goalkeeper,” Skinner joked. “But, I just reiterated that there’s plenty of time to go. They’re a good team who have scored against everybody else so relax and see what happens. Stay in the game, stay focused.”
Connie Scofield made her first start in the league and she commanded the midfield alongside Lucy Staniforth and Chloe Arthur, which the boss was impressed with.
He said: “I thought she was excellent. Her energy inside that zone to connect and link was brilliant, and I can’t express how proud I am of her. I also thought Chloe Arthur was outstanding today – she was exceptional. She can dominate midfielders going forwards.”
Blues now go into the international break in third, with West Ham the challenge when they return.
The manager said: “West Ham’s a different challenge so although we will learn things from today, we can’t necessarily take them into the next game because they attack differently, they play differently.
“I think this week has to be about analysing, putting the game to bed and focusing solely on West Ham.”