BIRMINGHAM City Ladies manager Dave Parker has dedicated Wednesday’s 2-1 victory over Doncaster Belles Rovers to former captain Steph Williams.
Parker attended Williams’ funeral alongside fellow staff and players on Wednesday before taking to the field against Doncaster for their third Women’s Super League fixture.
Emotions were high in the Birmingham camp and the home side had to dig deep after going behind to a sixth minute Natasha Dowie goal.
But Freda Ayisi levelled things up with a close range header in the sixth and Melissa Lawley secured all three points with a deflected shot on the half-hour mark.
“That win was for Steph,” said Parker. “We’d all been to the funeral on Wednesday. It had been tough and emotional but she was looking down on us and she would have been proud of that performance.
“The performance was absolutely fantastic. We didn’t quite keep the momentum going into the last 15 minutes but it was about holding onto our lead and managing the game.
“Doncaster made two changes at half-time which says everything about how we played in that first half.
“If we would have been 4-1 up at half-time I don’t think nobody in the stadium would have complained. We just need to be a little bit more clinical in front of goal.
“The girls showed great character to bounce back, not just when they scored the goal to get back into the match, but also to score again and take the lead. Full credit to them, they were a credit to the football club.
“People have hammered us in the press recently for not scoring goals but it’s not through a lack of trying, it’s not a lack of creativity, everything will fall into place for us and we’ll be absolutely fine in this league this year.”
Youngster Charlie Wellings led the line for the Blues again in attack alongside Ayisi and Parker was full of praise for the academy player who hassled the Doncaster defence all evening.
“When she played against Manchester City she gave the England captain and the back four a right run for their money at the weekend.
“It was the same against Arsenal in the FA Cup and against Liverpool so you can’t ask for much more than that from a 17-year-old and we’ve got bags more of kids to come through.”
Looking back on the season so far, Parker feels his side could have taken something from their opening two league matches against Liverpool and Manchester City.
He added: “We’ve played Liverpool away on the 3G pitch which is tough but we could and should have come away with all three points.
“The girls gave everything that night and we should have had three more points on the board already.
“Coming into Manchester City at home it was always going to be a difficult game but I thought in the first half we matched them.
“We’re a bunch of kids but we matched them however in the final 20 minutes they got away from us.”