Box Hill United’s senior women suffered an agonising 2-0 defeat against Calder United in the Nike FC Cup final on Sunday. Despite the loss, head coach Brian Roberts praised his players’ combative mindset.
In the all-NPLW affair at CB Smith Reserve in front of live Football Victoria cameras, Catherine Zimmerman and Aleksandra Sinclair netted either side of the recess to lead Calder to their third knockout Cup title.
However, Box Hill were good value for their abilities in patches throughout the contest, and refused to go down without a fight. Although several chances were created, the youthful Box Hill squad ultimately succumbed to the experienced opposition’s clinical streak.
Roberts reviewed that a ‘slow start’ cost his players and said, “Disappointed obviously, but we have spoken about it a number of times over the last few weeks that we have had slow starts to games. Unfortunately today, may be the occasion got to some of us.
“We started off slowly and copped that early goal. But then we settled down and played a little bit of football to get ourselves right back in the game.”
However, he was pleased that his players did not wilt on the big stage without throwing down the gauntlet. The boss said, “One thing we do not lack is effort. Sometimes you have got to roll your sleeves up, and we have got to play to our strengths too.
“We have some gifted players on the ball, and we also have hardworking players. Tonight, those players really did give everything. And when we did create those chances, we were looking to get ourselves back in the game. But tonight wasn’t to be.”
The summit clash was a repeat of last year’s Cup final, when Box Hill had lost 3-1 against Calder. Roberts was encouraged that his side progressed to prestigious grand finale twice in a row.
The 2018 NPLW Coach of the Year added, “Definitely [we are going in the right direction]. Our average age is somewhere around the 20-years-old. That speaks for itself.
“I have seen players this year step up when they had to, in difficult circumstances. They have never let anyone down, certainly not me or the club. So as far as the good signs and the future of the club [are concerned] for next year, there are definitely some good players.”
Box Hill ladies return to league action this weekend against South Melbourne away, and the boss urged for his players’ quick reaction.
The former Reading FC striker said, “We have got to get back up and hit the road running. We have still got that slight chance for the top-four [finish], and while there’s hope, we have got to believe that we can win the next three games. That’s our goal – to win those last three games and see where it takes us.”
Photo credit: Passion Creations