Tom Davies said there were plenty of positives to take from the game despite Cheltenham Town Ladies being knocked out of the FA Cup on penalties.
The Robins led 2-1 and 3-2 against Southampton Women’s, but the visitors took the game to extra time and prevailed in a thrilling penalty shoot-out, 6-5 after a 3-3 draw.
After the game, Davies said: “There was only one way that game was going to go and it was penalties. We were matched in 90 minutes and matched in extra time, so it was one of those pound-for-pound matches with two fantastic teams going at it.
“From a neutral point of view, what a phenomenal game to go and watch. From a manager’s point of view, I think both of us had to sit down for a bit afterwards and calm the heartrate a bit!”
Cheltenham had scored seven goals in their previous two outings in the FA Cup, and continued to attack impressively as Lacy-Jai Liggett made it eight goals for the season.
Courtney Jones was also on the scoresheet with her first goal for the club, and Davies was delighted with the way the whole team conducted themselves.
He said: “I’m so proud of the group and I said that after 90 minutes and after extra time. No matter what happens before, penalties are a lottery.
“It’s fantastic to win them when you do and we have done before. It’s horrible to lose them but we’ve played phenomenally well and played our part in a fantastic game.”
The game was played out in freezing conditions at the Corinium Stadium in Cirencester, with snow coming down heavily during extra time and penalties.
The former Stoke City coach took further positives from the way the players adapted to the situation.
“The way the players adapted to the conditions shows the experience of the group with how we’ve reacted to every situation.
“We’ve gone behind, we’ve gone in front when there wasn’t long left, so there’s all these different emotions then we’ve gone into penalties having conceded late on. We still found the composure to go and take those penalties and there were some fantastic saves as well.”
Despite failing to match their run to the Third Round in last season’s competition, the Robins can take confidence ahead of the resumption of the league season in December.