Marieanne Spacey-Cale was left expressing her pride in her Southampton FC Women squad for the second time in the space of a month as they secured a domestic double on Sunday at AFC Totton.
Superbly-taken goals from Phoebe Williams and Ella Pusey set up a 2-0 win over Oxford City to clinch the League Cup to leave Spacey-Cale to reflect on a richly successful debut season.
“They make it easy to feel good about being their coach,” she said as the celebrations began at the Testwood Community Stadium.
“They’re such a good group to work with, both the players and the staff.
“They’ve worked so hard this season and kept up standards. We set new ones for them and they keep breaking them and moving on.
“I’m very proud of what they’ve achieved; there’s work to do but enjoying today and enjoying this moment with this fantastic group of players is really important.”
A perfect league record of 18 wins made Saints firm favourites to lift the trophy but were made to work hard by their Oxford counterparts before the breakthroughs late in the second-half.
“Oxford City gave us a problem in the first half but once we started to play the way we can with a bit more pace and intent, I thought we looked far better.
“You’ve got to find different ways to win but you’ve also got to trust the players on the pitch to make good decisions.
“These girls know how to win, however long it takes they’ve managed to score the important goal and build on it here.
“We had a word at half-time about playing with more intent but that wasn’t just coming from the staff, the girls knew that themselves. You could hear the conversations in the dressing room and they went and did what they needed to in the second half and they’ve won the League Cup because of it.”
Winners don’t stop. A short break is in order for a squad that have swept aside all in front them this season before attentions can turn to a new campaign in the FA Women’s National League.
Saints will be “ready and there to compete,” when that time comes again in the autumn.
“Next is a bit of a rest for them; they’ve had a tough season. We’re looking forward to the next one already and what we can achieve."