BURTON Albion joint-manager Tommy Booth was impressed with the Brewers’ performance on Wednesday night as they beat Holwell Sports 2-1 in FA Women's National League Division One Midlands.
A late goal from substitute Emmalee Hornsby gave Albion all three points, with captain Amber-Leigh Denny’s opener cancelled out by a stunning strike from Courteney Cropper in the first-half.
Winning for the first time in three games, Booth was pleased with Albion’s work ethic throughout the match, something that he felt had previously been missing.
He said: “I think it was excellent [the performance]. We didn’t stop working, we’ve been a bit lazy at picking up runners and marking, I don’t know if it’s to do with the system, but on Monday we just worked on going back to basics, marking one-versus-one, trying to pick up your player.
“We did that on the night and we won.”
As well as their work off the ball, the Brewers also set the tempo of the game through controlling possession for large parts of the game, with Burton regularly bringing the ball out from the defence.
“I think we gave ourselves a lot more time by having a lot more trust and faith in Alice [Langstone],” said Booth. “Often, we don’t like playing the ball back to her but she’s one of the best distributors with her feet and we don’t use her enough.
“I think tonight we set the tone by using her a little bit - that made them drop off, that allowed us to play out from the back, so we helped ourselves out a lot. When they [the defence] had the ball, their distribution was fantastic.”
Not only capable with her feet, Langstone also made several crucial saves when the score was level to deny Holwell the lead. Highlighting the keeper, Booth insisted that Langstone has been one of the Brewers' top performers this campaign but was also quick to stress the whole team earned the victory.
He stated: “She’s been one of the best players on the pitch. I was trying to keep her positive after the Derby game [a 7-0 defeat], she probably made about 12 goal-saving saves – some of them as well, not many keepers in our division are getting to.
“I think we all deserved it [the win] tonight.”
In both of Burton’s last two victories, with their previous triumph coming in the Vitality Women’s FA Cup against Mansfield, it was Hornsby who made the difference off the bench to find the winner in stoppage time.
Between the two fixtures, the goalscorer had started all three games, with the away fixture at Holwell Sports Club the first time she found herself outside the starting lineup since the match against the Stags.
Speaking on her impact off the bench, as well as fellow substitute Hanaiya Azhar, Booth had a clear reason for why he chose to put the pair onto the pitch.
“That’s exactly why [to add energy]. What they [Hanaiya Azhar and Hornsby] give you is just raw pace," said Booth.
“It wasn’t the game plan at the start admittedly, but we adapted to the fact that they were getting tired at the back, and we looked to bring on fresh legs.
He concluded: “Thankfully it worked.”