Forest Green Ladies manager Craig Darkin praised his player’s heart and desire in their narrow 1-0 defeat at Middlezoy Rovers.
Georgia Coles put the home side in front early on with a third minute penalty after a mistake by goalkeeper Becca Woods.
The rest of the game was quite scrappy in difficult, blustery conditions in Somerset but Darkin says that there was little fault he could lay with the players.
“I’m disappointed because I genuinely believed we could get a point today,” he said.
“It was a poor mistake in the first ten minutes which led to their goal, apart from that there weren’t really too many threats.
“The way the girls responded I found really positive. In the second half, the hunger and desire to go at them to gain an advantage I found really, really compelling. I really enjoyed that.
“It showed the kind of heart and desire the players do have.
“I called them out and said that that’s how we have to start the next game with that same intensity because I think the opposition will find that really tough to deal with.”
The weather conditions were punishing throughout. Huge gusts of winds disrupted play all afternoon which made it very difficult for either team to build up any real rhythm.
A wind-swept Darkin was left frustrated having come so close to getting something from the contest.
“Conditions were really tough but what I think what they tried to do fell nicely into our philosophy.,” he added.
“I’m just disappointed because I genuinely believe we could have got something out of today’s game and with how tight this relegation battle is.
“I really, really wanted for the players benefit to get something out of this game.
“So, although I can take some positive it will take a couple of hours to get over that disappointment.”
Due to a few injuries, there was a lack of numbers in certain positions for FGR which meant that Darkin was forced to play a few players out of their natural/best positions. One of these players, accomplished midfielder Sian Towler, had to play in central defence.
“I think when Sian enters the pitch, regardless of where she’s told to play, she gives an absolutely outstanding performance,” he explained.
“She puts her body on the line, she’s so composed and calm on the ball wherever she is on the pitch she can have an influence.
“I even think I could put her in goal and she would be outstanding.”
The two central midfielders who deputised in Towler’s absence were Rosie Dimery and Dyana Peacey. The former had only played in this position once before this season and the latter has only been back for a couple of weeks following a long-term injury.
“I think she (Dimery) did a very good job in centre-mid. Her fall back of being a winger, sometimes I felt that she was out of shape when we needed her to stay central,” he added.
“I don’t think she recognises what sort of presence she has being one of the tallest players on the pitch. Something we can work on in training.
“Dyana’s not even been back three weeks and she’s played two lots of 90 minutes. She did a really good job and put herself about.”
Darkin’s team are one point off potential safety in the division but has hope that they can achieve it.
“I can’t fault the players in terms of what they did,” concluded the Ladies manager.
“Unfortunately, the opposition seem to capitalise on these tiny mistakes that we make.
“I still believe we can get points from these next five games. 100%. Same desire. Same team. 100% I think we can get survival.”