Shaun Howes pleased with improvements as Norwich City Women fall to late Billericay defeat

Norwich City Women’s head coach Shaun Howes praised the progress of his team following a 2-1 away defeat to Billericay Town on Sunday.

Norwich City Women’s head coach Shaun Howes praised the progress of his team following a 2-1 away defeat to Billericay Town on Sunday.

Billericay, who sit second in the Women’s National League Division One South East, thrashed Norwich City Women 8-0 on the opening day of the season but on Sunday they needed a controversial late penalty to see off a resilient Canaries side.

“I was over the moon with the performance, if I am honest with you,” said Howes. “The girls were nervous going into it. We knew their strengths and we knew how they played. We had a gameplan and they stuck to it brilliantly it was just unfortunate that we were two minutes away from what would have been an unbelievable result.

“We were harder to beat. We knew in the first game that we made some silly mistakes and that we were too open. We knew that we had to be harder to play against and that we had to stay in the game for longer. We knew we had to be more defensively minded when we didn’t have the ball and they (Billericay) got frustrated because we stuck to that game plan.”

Billericay went ahead on the half hour mark when a cross shot before Norwich equalised six minutes later when a good attacking move was finished off by Natasha Snelling.

However, the Canaries then conceded a penalty with two minutes to go to lose the game, which Howes felt was a harsh decision.

“The ball was going out behind the goal and one of our players stepped across one of their players to see the ball out and it was just a bit of a clash into each other, but the referee deemed that it was a penalty,” explained Howes.

“The problem was that our player gave the referee a decision to make and whether he got that right or wrong there was a decision there to be made. It was a little bit harsh and the player who gave away the penalty had such a great game that she was really disappointed with herself, but she hasn’t put a foot wrong since she has played for us.”

The defeat ends Norwich City’s run of three games without defeat in the league but Howes took the positives from what has been an improving set of performances throughout this season.

“We had three defeats in the first three, but we knew we were going to be okay because we knew that we had quality,” he said. “We just had to bed in the new players and get the other players back from injury and from unavailability.

“We knew it was going to be a difficult start, it was just the manner in how we started that was more disappointing than the results, but the girls have been brilliant to turn that around and they deserve all the credit because they were magnificent on Sunday.”

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