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It's a good feeling - Rachel
 Women's Football News 6 Feb 2009
 
It's a good feeling - Rachel - 6 Feb 2009 - Women's Football NewsBristol Academy goalkeeper Rachel Simkin took a modest point of view after helping her side progress to the quarter finals of the F.A.Women's Cup on penalties against Birmingham City.
 
Rachel pulled off a stunning save from Dannii Bird during the shootout and she told Women's Soccer Scene after the match: "It was a very long game and it was very cold as well.
 
"There isn't any real pressure on goalkeepers when facing penalties - obviously you want to save them but the players taking them are expected to score. When you make a save, it's a good feeling."
 
Academy had led 2-0 for much of the game before Birmingham launched a late fightback to take the game into extra time. "2-0 is always a difficult lead," admits Rachel, "because if they score, they are back in it, but we had got another then maybe we could have put it to rest. It's just one of those things really."
 
Rachel had already been beaten by a late penalty during normal time, also taken by Danni Bird, at the second attempt after the first one had been ruled out for encroachment. "Unfortunately I used my first experience in the second penalty she took against me so, in a way, maybe it was a good thing in the end," she smiles.
 
Academy have a good record in the Cup in recent years, having reached the semi finals on five previous occasions, but Rachel and her team mates are concentrating solely on their forthcoming quarter final tie against Sunderland. "It was lovely to get through and we've a long trip to Sunderland now," she says. "It's the FA Cup, so you never know what is going to happen - same in the men's as in the women's.
 
"We are likely to be favourites but will approach it as any other game and hopefully pull off a good result and get through to the semi finals. We can't be too confident though, we need to make sure we get a good win and go on from there."
 
Rachel is playing at the top level for the first time this season after joining from AFC Bournemouth during the summer, and has impressed with a number of fine performances as she has adjusted to the National Division. "It's been a new experience stepping up from a couple of leagues below," she admits. "Everyone has been really supportive - the manager, coach and all of the girls - so hopefully I can progress from here and take my game to another level when I can.
 
"It's brilliant to play against the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea and Everton - it's all new experiences for me so I'll take it one step at a time."
 
Bristol Academy have finished in fourth place in each of the last two seasons and Rachel has not ruled out their chances of emulating that feat again. "We're still looking for fourth or fifth (place)," she says. "We didn't have the best start to the season but we'll build on this. With a bit of confidence behind us now, hopefully we can take this into the second half of the season and get some good results."

 
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