Hills: “It feels good to get that first win of the season"

karen hills

Karen Hills hailed a “special” three points after an away win at Birmingham City encouraging her players to use their first win of the season as a springboard for the rest of the campaign. 

A second-half Kayleigh Green penalty secured the Addicks their first victory in 2022/23 at St Andrews, after an impressive all-round victory against a top side. 

“I’ve just said to the players in the huddle: ‘hold on to this winning feeling because it’s something special and it’s something that we should want to continue to bring and feel’,” Hills said after the game. 

“Now the international break has probably come at the wrong time for us because you want to see if you can continue with that. But, it gives us a chance to reset. We’ve got some players going away on international duty so we wish them all the best. 

“It feels good to get that first win of the season. We’ll regroup and be ready for London City Lionesses.” 

Charlton dominated the second half, hitting the woodwork twice through substitutes Freya Godfrey and Freda Ayisi and, while Hills was delighted for her whole squad, she reserved special praise for goalkeeper Jess Gray and the defensive line. 

Gray replaced the injured Sian Rogers in goal and pulled off four stunning saves, including a one-on-one chance, tipping a shot from Libby Smith round the post, and secured a clean sheet against one of the best attacks in the league. 

“Jess has been buzzing this week. She’s been confident and we knew that she was going to come in and show what her skills and her capabilities are and she didn’t disappoint today. I thought she had to pull off some unbelievable saves to keep us in it,” Hills said. 

“She’s one of those players that comes in, gets on and she’s such a professional. I’m really pleased for her. To keep a clean sheet against one of the top teams that have some unbelievable forward players was fantastic. 

“I thought we defended like Trojans. We put bodies on the line, we were intense in our defending. We need every single player and I’m really super pleased and proud of every one of them.” 

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