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Bristol City defender Rachael Allen was looking on the positive side despite her team's narrow 1-0 defeat to Birmingham City on Sunday. The 18-year-old had an impressive game in the centre of defence and told Women's Soccer Scene afterwards that the step up to the highest level wasn't quite as daunting as feared. "It was alright, it wasn't as hard as I thought it was going to be," said Rachael. "It was tough but we imagined it was going to be a lot harder so it was a good surprise.
"I thought we did well in the first half but the second felt a bit less organised, but to come up and only lose 1-0 right at the end - I thought we did really well."
Rachael admitted that she was not fazed by playing against opponents with big reputations. "It's just another game of football against another team," she smiles, "some of their team were big names but I'm not a great follower and didn't know who they were! But at the end of the day you've just got to go out and play - if you are going to think about who you are playing and what they've achieved, then you're not concentrating on what you should be doing."
Rachael, who is a member of the Bristol City Academy, had nothing but praise for defensive partner and captain Carly Bryant who had an outstanding game. "Carly is one of the most consistent players I've ever played with, she always plays well and I feel comfortable playing alongside her. I always know that if I get beaten she'll be there, and if she ever gets beaten then hopefully I'll be there covering too!"
City came out of their 1-0 defeat with credit, and Rachael was keen to reflect this fact. "It was a great disappointment because everyone worked so hard but you must look at the positives as well - we stood up to them. We've still got a lot to work on but for our first game in the top league I thought we did well. I think a lot of people expected us to get beaten by a lot more so I don't think you can look at it in a bad way at all. We lost but we've shown we can compete and we are going to get stronger.
"I still feel I've got a lot to learn and so has everyone else but I think we can make the step up. With more hard work, we'll be able to start winning 1-0 instead of losing 1-0."
City face another very tough match this week at Everton, who will be fresh from their 8-0 win over Leeds United, but again Rachael will be focusing on her own game. "It will be hard but you just have to go into it the same way as today and look at it from your team's point of view, not who you're playing against. As long as you are up for it and want to compete, you have to look at yourselves and not what they are doing."
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