I 100% think that she’s an international player of the future.Marc Skinner
Centre-back Aoife Mannion turned misery into ecstasy after missing a penalty but scoring the winner with a perfect strike from 25-yards-out.
The manager said: “I thought we were in control, I thought that that was the best we’ve controlled a game since the Brighton game. I understand what Bristol were trying to do and Tanya’s going to be great and she’ll do great and they’ll build on the attacking, but we knew what had to go back to the Birmingham way today.
“It was a matter of time in my opinion, we didn’t great too many goal scoring opportunities, but we should have taken the ones we had. We’ve had a penalty and so on and I’m proud of Aoife and the way she kept resilient and she’ll score the next one – I know she will.”
With Bristol intent on sitting back to prevent Blues from finding the breakthrough, they put as many players behind the ball as possible to keep it tight. Blues continued to probe but it was difficult for Skinner’s team to not get frustrated.
He said: “It was extremely difficult to keep the calmness and the composure in the girls because at half time they’re frustrated.
“If a team’s going to sit, you have to move them around and play. Some teams will want to wait and you make mistakes. We’re a team that wants to try and take the opposition and manipulate them, so I was pleased with their patience overall.
“It took a while but I knew we’d get to that point and you’ve just got to stay positive and confident in that moment.”
“I’m super proud. I’m not getting over my station because event number five was successful. Event number four was a wipe out, we didn’t perform but event number five was successful. On to event number six.
“For me, I was really pleased with the way they reacted, it was a different challenge. We found a way through it and that’s all I askin my players and they’re still frustrated that they didn’t score more of course but if you dominate a game you only have to score one and that’s what we did today.
“And if we can keep doing that, we’ll pick up more points than we lose."
The goal scorer Mannion was brilliant throughout the match in marshalling the back line as well as threatening with her dangerous runs up field. She bravely stepped up for the penalty in the first half, only for it to be saved. But showed her character with an unstoppable finish past Sophie Baggaley and Skinner was impressed.
He said: “I think Aoife is an exceptional talent, I really do and that’s not just because I’m her manager. The girl goes home every day and she tries to be better every day. She leaves nothing on the training field.
“She focuses, she wants to learn, she wants to get better and ever since I’ve picked her up I’m privileged to have the players that I have. She’s shown again a glimpse of the character she has to not be successful at the penalty but then to step up and take the moment. I 100% think that she’s an international player of the future.
“And I think that if she can keep working and building then I hope she gets her opportunity to prove that.”