Bristol Academy: Barcelona win delights coach Dave Edmondson

By Caroline ChapmanBBC Sport
Edmondson on Bristol Academy v Barcelona

Bristol Academy's Women's Champions League win over Barcelona has made a year's hard work worthwhile, says head coach Dave Edmondson.

The Super League side drew 1-1 with the three-time Spanish champions on Thursday to progress to the quarter-finals 2-1 on aggregate.

"My biggest emotion is pride," Edmondson told BBC Radio Bristol.

"The joy on their faces at the end is worth all the hard work we've put in during the year."

Edmondson, who was appointed in January, continued: "We train four times a week and they all work full-time or are full-time students.

"Games like this are payback that we can give them. Hopefully they see it's worth all that effort they put in."

Women's Champions League quarter-finalists
Wolfsburg (Germany, holders)Bristol Academy (England)
Brondby (Denmark)FC Rosengard (Sweden)
Glasgow City (Scotland)Linkopings (Sweden)
Paris Saint-Germain (France)Frankfurt (Germany)
Draw to be made on 19 November

Bristol, the only English team left in the competition, took a 1-0 lead into the second leg at Ashton Gate but Barcelona drew level on aggregate through Vicky Losada.

However, Nikki Watts slotted home a penalty with seven minutes to go to send Bristol through.

"I saw Tash [Harding, striker] go down and I thought 'yes' but then I thought 'Oh God. That's me'," said Watts.

"Just before I hit it the ball rolled a little bit, so I wondered whether I should re-place it or not.

"I thought I'd just hit it. It went in and it was just pure elation. Everyone jumped on me, but then it was about switching on again. It was the longest 10 minutes of my life.

"It's an unbelievable feeling. With the commitment we put over the two legs we deserved the win in the end."

Nikki Watts (right)
Nikki Watts (right) scored the penalty which sent Bristol through to the quarter-finals.

Bristol are the only side in the Women's Super League without a direct affiliation to a men's team.

They are set to earn £39,000 from their progression in the Champions League and Edmondson is hoping the financial benefits have a positive effect on his squad.

"It's important in terms of player recruitment and retention," he added.

"There's a few clubs sniffing around some of the players, so having a Champions League quarter-final will hopefully let us keep one or two and may even attract one or two players as well.

"And having a crowd of 2,500 here tonight is almost as big as being in the next round. There won't be many who have left tonight not thinking 'I wouldn't mind seeing that again.'"

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