Forest Green Rovers Women manager Gary Woods says he was pleasantly surprised as his side stunned Swindon Town Women Development to win 2-1 on Sunday.
The hosts had only lost once all season heading into the game, but goals from Holly Thomas and Beth Edwards secured the victory for the visitors.
In an entertaining end-to-end game, it was Rovers who took the lead just shy of the half-hour mark as Thomas was on hand to bundle the ball home.
Swindon looked to respond in the first half, Kat Bach being denied by the woodwork, and had to wait until the second half to get back on level terms.
Becca Woods did her best as she saved from the penalty spot but as Forest Green were unable to clear their lines, Nat Goodright was on hand to fire home from close range.
However, FGR didn’t drop their heads and as the game moved into its twilight, Sian Towler, playing just behind the two strikers, was able to thread the ball through to Edwards to latch onto and finish with great composure.
“I said to them after the game, ‘where did that performance come from?’ They showed they could play and pick up a result against a top side in the league,” said Woods, who was delighted with the belied shown by his side.
“In all fairness, in the dressing room to start off with, I spoke to all of them and told them to enjoy their football and we’ll go from there.
“We said that we would take what comes and as long as they gave me 100 per cent on the pitch, that is all I was after.
“There is definite belief in the dressing room and they know that the winning mentality is there now, especially picking up a victory against a side who have only lost once this season.
“It was a fantastic game. They have that belief now and were playing attacking football that wasn’t defence orientated.
“It felt like our defence, for large parts of the game, were camped on the halfway line.
“They’ve shown they can do it and the expectation is now to keep those levels up.”
The win lifts Forest Green up to seventh in the South West Regional Women’s Football League Eastern Division, with three games in hand on Laverstock & Ford Ladies First.
FGR now travel to bottom-of-the-league Trowbridge Town Ladies this Sunday with renewed optimism and will be looking to continue their progress, with still over half of the season remaining, as well as a cup quarter-final against unbeaten Sherborne Town Ladies First on the horizon.
“We’ve got Trowbridge away next weekend, so we will be targeting three points from that one, because they haven’t won a game yet and are bottom of the league as a result,” added Woods.
“We have got to play them home and away, so they will be two important games for us.
“We’ve then got Laverstock at home and we have played them twice already, once in the cup, and we beat them both times.
“We’ve got a couple of games now where we can go into with confidence really high and they have that belief.
“I think that is something they were lacking, that they could be a cohesive unit and win games of football.”
Forest Green Rovers travel to Trowbridge Town Ladies on Sunday, January 19, for a 2pm kick off. Full fixtures and table can be found HERE.