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Proud of the players - Matt
 Women's Football News 28 May 2012
 
Chelsea manager Matt Beard refused to be downhearted following their penalty shootout defeat to Birmingham City in the F.A.Women's Cup Final at Ashton Gate. 
 
"I'm proud of all the players, one hundred per cent," he said. "I don't think anyone expected us to be where we are today.
 
"Obviously I'm disappointed we haven't won as I think we deserved to. I'm very disappointed with the second goal but we've got to take it on the chin and move on.
 
"Firstly, it wasn't a foul and then there was no communication from the referee whether she could take it quickly or whether it was [on the] whistle. I think she let herself down there - I've seen the replays but it happened and we've just got to deal with it as a group.
 
"They scored from it - fair play to them - and we've held out because we were struggling. It all becomes a lottery when it comes down to penalties and we were just unfortunate it wasn't our day.
 
"In training we worked hard on getting tight on Jo [Potter] and Jade [Moore] because they drop deep anyway and that was the game plan. Once we got it going late in the first half we had the two chances and went on from there.
 
"We've achieved great things here today and we'll build on this. The disappointment of not winning it will make us stronger as a group. I feel that we deserved to win the game today over the course of the 90 minutes and even in extra time."
 
Matt was full of praise for young defensive duo Gemma Bonner and Sophie Ingle, who impressed greatly during the match. "Gemma's been different class ever since she's been at the club. Sophie was signed as a left back but she's stepped into the centre, the quality she gives us on the ball and her distribution is good as well."
 
Carly Telford was left with the task of trying to prevent Birmingham from scoring their penalties but, despite saving the first one from Rachel Williams, was left helpless with the others.
 
"I practiced facing penalties in training and I've been up against a lot of their girls in training with England but trying to remember all their techniques was tough," she admitted. "Hats off to the girls who stood up to take one but well done to Birmingham, I couldn't do anything about it.
 
"When I was in the dressing room everyone had their head in their hands and I said that I didn't know whether it would have been worse to have lost three or four nil. But we'll learn from that experience and it comes again next year, we'll be well prepared."

 
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