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'Delighted to see so many turn up'

22 July 2013

Coventry City Ladies boss Craig Nicholls hopes his side gained 'a great experience' playing the Gunners...

Coventry City Ladies manager Craig Nicholls was delighted to see a record attendance for a Ladies match at the Bedworth Oval as the Sky Blues lost 4-0 against WSL Champions Arsenal Ladies.

In their first pre-season match of the summer, City suffered defeat despite a spirited performance with Gemma Harrison, Carla Humphrey and a brace from Caroline Weir securing the win for the Gunners.

City had several chances throughout the game to get on the score-sheet with Maz Gauntlett and Ash Neville going close in the second half for the Sky Blues.

Nicholls believes the game was a 'great experience' for City as they prepare for the 2013/14 FA Women's Premier League Southern Division.

Nicholls said: "When you are playing Arsenal, it is always going to be difficult for the side, especially when it is our first pre-season match of the year.

"They have international standard players which, for the majority of the game, we matched. At times, we switched off, which was probably due to fitness and that is where Arsenal made us pay.

"We will learn a lot more from playing Arsenal from what we would do if we played a team we could beat easily. We are better off playing a side which are going to put us under pressure and work hard for the season we have coming up.

"We are looking to challenge for the title this season so a difficult pre-season is the best way to get prepared for that."

Whilst the game was the first pre-season match for City, Arsenal are currently half-way through their Women's Super League season.

Having won the Birmingham FA County Cup last season, an attendance of 172 turned up for the match and Nicholls hopes to see more people come to Ladies games in the 2013/14 season.

He added: "It was fantastic to see so many people at the game as it gives the side a real lift playing in front of more people.

"I hope the fans who turned up for the match enjoyed the experience and hopefully they will come back for more games next season. 

"We want to get as many people down here as possible down here for our matches. If we can get more wins on the board and people start to hear how well we are doing, it might encourage others to come and watch a game."

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