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Women's Football News
Cardiff City Ladies produced the result of the round in the SSE Women's FA Cup when they defeated FA WSL side Oxford Utd on a penalty shootout, after the sides had battled out a goalless draw.
We talked to Cardiff defender Hannah Mills, who reflected on the size of their achievement of being the only Premier League team to knock out WSL opponents, as well as looking forward to their Fifth Round tie against Charlton Athletic and the challenge of improving their league position in the Southern Division:
WSS: Congratulations on a superb result on Sunday, how does it feel to have knocked a WSL side out of the cup?
HM: It did feel really good. I think everyone could tell that with our reaction at the end of the game, it was great for the club and for the players. Oxford are a good team and they also play in the Super League, so I think it was quite an emotional game because we were never expected to win.
WSS: Did you feel that the team's performance merited the result on the day?
HM: Yes I do. I think a lot has been said about the way we set up and how we played the game, but when you actually analyse and look at the game, Oxford had two clear cut chances to win the game and we had two clear cut chances to win the game. Just because a team has most of the possession, it doesn't mean they deserved to win the game, I thought the girls played really well and dug deep when they needed to.
WSS: What was the feeling like when Emily Poole scored the winning penalty for you?
HM: I was chuffed for Emily, she's a young player like Ella Powell and Ffion Llewellyn and all three of them stepped up and took a very good penalty. Emily has had a bit of a tough season with niggling injuries and I think she deserved that moment. I don't think it is a moment any of us will forget who were a part of the squad that day, because those are the moments that you play football for.
WSS: The draw has handed you another home tie in the Fifth Round against Charlton Athletic, how confident are you that you can repeat your success against them?
HM: Charlton are a very good team. I have no doubt that Charlton could comfortably fit into WSL2 and do very well in it, so the game will be just as tough as Oxford. However, we will prepare in the same way and see what happens on the day, that's the beauty of a cup game - you never know what will happen.
WSS: It has been a tough few months for Cardiff having lost a lot of key players to the WSL, how big a tonic for the team has the cup run been?
HM: It has been a difficult season this year, like most teams in our league I think most of us have lost players to the WSL. Usually we would be fighting at the top of the league, but we have had to essentially rebuild a squad and that takes time. We have a lot of younger players that needed time to adapt to the league and I think now they are really starting to develop and we are as a team. I think we will finish strongly and the success in the FA Cup has helped us build our confidence because there are no expectations on us and no pressure the girls can play with a bit of freedom.
WSS: This week you make the long trip to Gillingham in the league, what sort of game are you anticipating there?
HM: It is difficult to say really, we haven't played Gillingham yet, historically they have always had a tough physical side. We will go into the game like we do any game to get a result.
WSS: After the Gillingham match, you then have a run of five home games in six weeks (cup result permitting!), do you see this as being important in helping lift your side up the table?
HM: I do, I think the FA Cup result has given us a foundation to hopefully start building some results on. Hopefully we can take Sunday's win forward and start going up the table.
WSS: You have used a lot of younger players this season and with the reserves doing well in their division, is it fair to say that the future still looks good for the club?
HM: This club has always developed great young players, usually they have a bit more time to imbed themselves in the first team but this year due to players leaving, they had to adapt more quickly and I think they have done really well. I would say that we have more one complete squad this year than a distinctive first and reserves and this has been key in certain games, having the fluidity between the squads. I do think the future can be bright and hopefully next year Cardiff will be challenging for the league again.
Our thanks to Hannah!
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