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This summer has been an extremely difficult one for Birmingham City but a spirited performance earned them their first point of the season in midweek, a 1-1 draw with Bristol Academy despite playing the second half with ten players following the controversial sending off of captain Laura Bassett.
Karen Carney will have a big part to play as the Blues attempt to reach mid-table following their late start, and the England star was full of praise for her team after the game. "Maybe in the first half they had the better of us but in the second half we battled away and deserved a point," she told Women's Soccer Scene. "The team spirit was great, to help us get back into the game and get a draw - we've got kids in the team who are 15 and 17 and they've done the job. Sally (Lacey) was amazing, the players all pulled together and it was quality.
"At half time we just said 'we can do it,' we weren't four or five down, it was only 1-0. Playing down the hill was a factor as well and we put them under enormous pressure, and I think we just wanted it more than them in the second half. We were all over them and I don't think they caused us any problems."
Karen herself contributed a fine display in an unaccustomed position in the centre of midfield. "I've played there for the last couple of games, to get me more on the ball and give me a free role," she says, "but I have got to learn a lot of things defensively yet. I won a few tackles tonight and hopefully it will make me stronger."
The late equaliser was scored by Maria Ballard and Karen was quick to pay tribute to the striker, as well as having sympathy for Academy goalkeeper Siobhan Chamberlain whose rare error let her in. "Maria's work ethic was amazing and it just shows when pushing the keeper anything could happen. It's unfortunate for Shiv (Chamberlain) as it was a costly error but she'll be big enough to step in goal next game and continue to make good stops, but Maz was quality tonight and ran her socks off as well as the rest of the team and deservedly got her reward.
"We've got the players, such as Laura Bassett, Sally Lacey and Ellen Maggs and some great kids coming through. We deserve to be in the Premiership and giving the other clubs a run for their money."
One of the youngsters coming through is goalkeeper Susan Wood, an England under-17 squad member and tipped for great things in the game. "It was a great response (from Sue) after Sunday's result," says Karen. "She's only 15 and I have got to applaud her because she was amazing tonight, her handling was great. She's definitely one for the future, I hope so as well!"
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