Sampson wants the same again against Arsenal
MARK Sampson will be looking for another huge effort from his Bristol Academy side tonight when they host Arsenal in the semi-finals of the Continental Cup.
The Vixens travelled to the Gunners last Thursday in the FA Women's Super League and threatened to inflict the first defeat of the season on the reigning champions when Natasha Harding put the a visitors ahead in the first half.
Kelly Smith's second-half leveller eventually secured a point for the home side, but Sampson was full of praise for the commitment of his team – and will be hoping for even more at the Stoke Gifford Stadium this evening (7.30pm).
"The players gave absolutely everything on Thursday and I was incredibly proud of them," said Sampson.
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"It was the first point at Arsenal this club had picked up, so it was a milestone for this group of players.
"They were shattered afterwards because they had given absolutely everything.
"We rode our luck at times, but we came through it because of the pure desire we showed. Every one of our players was prepared to run through a brick wall for their team-mates.
"Our team spirit was shown by the way all the girls on the bench were screaming encouragement to the ones on the pitch over the final minutes."
This will be the Vixens' third game in eight days and the winners will face Birmingham City, who booked their place in the final with a 2-1 win at Lincoln yesterday.
"We have already played the top two teams in the country away in the space of four days, which was a ridiculous situation and has taken a lot out of the players," said Sampson.
Tonight's game will go to extra-time and penalties if the score is level after 90 minutes – and it is being preceded by a girls tournament on the Astroturf surface at the venue, with all of the youngsters taking part getting free admission to the Arsenal match.