Spurs Ladies star Wendy Martin: We’ve learned to win when we’re not at our best

Spurs Ladies' Wendy Martin (centre) scored the winning goal against Leyton Orient on Sunday. Picture

Spurs Ladies' Wendy Martin (centre) scored the winning goal against Leyton Orient on Sunday. Picture: wusphotography.com - Credit: Archant

Wendy Martin says Spurs Ladies’ ability to win games while not performing at their best shows how much the squad has matured since last season.

Martin’s 76th-minute header secured a 1-0 home win over Leyton Orient on Sunday and took the Lilywhites through to the second round of the Women’s FA Cup.

Karen Hills’ side had been rather more prolific in previous games - they scored four times in their previous outing against Swindon Town - but they nonetheless recorded their 11th successive victory in all competitions.

“It was a real mental test for us, when things weren’t quite going our way and we weren’t maybe as good on the ball as we normally are,” said Martin.

“It was a real test to keep going and not give up when we come up against these type of challenges. You can’t be complacent – Leyton Orient came here to our home ground and made it really tough – but I think ultimately we showed our character again.

“To not play at the standard that we know we can play at and still win is a sign of how far we’ve come from last season.

“We’ve come out and tried to move the ball to try and create things, but credit to Leyton Orient, they worked hard, had really good shape and it was really difficult to break them down.

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“We kept persisting, although we didn’t take some of our chances, and it didn’t seem to all come together for us. We know we can do much better, we know we need to step it up for the next one, and hopefully we’ll come away with the win.

“There’s real belief in the team at the moment, a real desire to keep winning. We want to achieve big things this season and I think that’s being shown week in week out.

“We never give up, we keep trying to get better each week. We go away from Sunday and we work hard on the training pitch with the coaches, and all the staff around the team work really hard to make us better and improve us each week. I think that’s showing and we just want to keep up this winning momentum.”

Captain Jenna Schillaci came off the bench and provided the pivotal moment of quality that helped to produce the all-important breakthrough, and Martin waxed lyrical about the game-changing players in the squad.

“They made it really hard for us but we kept going and we never gave up - I think we always had the belief that we would get a goal,” she said.

“We kept pushing and pushing, there was a lot more urgency in the second half and a lot more desire to get that goal – and it paid off in the end.

“Jenna came on and I think she brought a little bit more calmness and patience to our play. It was a great delivery from her as well and luckily I was able to get onto the end of it.

“It really does show the depth of the squad at the moment and the talent we’ve got throughout the team, and the reserves.

“We’ve got a fantastic squad, there’s real talent. We’ve probably got 21 or 22 players that can play on that pitch and do a job for us.

“It’s great to have that level of competitiveness and people wanting to play and putting in performances to make sure they’re in the starting 11. It’s good that we can rest players and not lose that quality.”

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