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Bristol City Women 0-2 Charlton Athletic Women: Manager Lauren Smith says players “frustrated” by loss

Bristol City Women’s manager Lauren Smith has admitted that her team “did not turn up” for their game against Charlton, as they slumped to a 2-0 defeat at the High Performance Centre in Bristol.

Despite a record crowd of 956 attending the match, they could not spur their team on to victory as the Robins struggled to make their mark on the game.

After the game, Smith cut a disappointed figure when giving her immediate thoughts on the game.

We just didn’t show up today, it wasn’t good enough from the first minute and the players know that.

They’re frustrated by it because we know we can be better. Charlton came here today and really took the game to us.”

The visitors, who started the day sixth, one place below Bristol City on goal difference, made their superiority known from the start, implementing a high press which proved to be the main reason for Charlton’s controlling nature of the game as City found the press hard to deal with.

Smith admitted that she saw the tactic coming from Charlton, but said her side didn’t move the ball fast enough to beat the press when in possession.

We knew the press was going to be used and we looked at ways to deal with it in training because they played a similar way to when we faced them earlier in the season but we didn’t progress quick enough in possession to beat it.

We were forced then to try and break a line and go long but again, they picked up second balls from that so ultimately we were second to everything today.”

Lois Heuchan broke the deadlock midway through the first half, curling in an effort from inside the box, after missing a gilt-edged chance moments before, leaving City with a mountain to climb with the way the game was being played.

The home side huffed and puffed for an equaliser but their struggles worsened on 73 minutes, when Elise Hughes converted from close range following a corner on the right. Despite this, Smith was pleased with how her side didn’t lack belief before the second goal went in.

The group didn’t give up, you could see that when the board went up with four added minutes at the end, they still believed they could get back into the game so I’m proud of that.

The feeling of not doing well enough drives them on so hopefully we can get things right for this weekend’s game.”

The loss lowers City to sixth in the Women’s Super League 2 table and they’ll hope to get back to winning ways this Sunday away to Southampton in the 4th Round of the Women’s FA Cup.

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