WAGGA City Wanderers coach Sam Gray could not be prouder of his women's team despite narrowly missing taking a point away from their season opener.
The Wanderers women opened their season with a 4-3 loss to Canberra Croatia at Gissing Oval on Sunday.
It was a dramatic improvement from Wagga City, who conceded a combined total of 23 goals against Canberra Croatia in their two meetings last season.
Lisa Cary scored twice for the home team, while Tess Vaccari also found the back of the net for Wanderers.
Canberra Croatia's Sharon Chao was the difference, enjoying a day out in Wagga by scoring all four of her team's goals.
Gray, in his first game in charge of the Wanderers' women, was proud in defeat.
"It was an outstanding performance from every player involved," Gray said.
"We've trained very hard to reinvigorate the structure we have in the club and reinvigorate the way that we play so that we actually want to be far more competitive than we were last season.
"We want to give the club something to be proud of and on Sunday I think that was displayed in the fighting spirit that came through."
Gray believes with a bit more time, his team could have snared a draw.
"If we had an extra four or five minutes at the end, the way the game was going, it was one-way traffic, it was looking like we would get an opportunity to get an equaliser," he said.
"A lot of the credit goes to the way our experienced players played. Our younger players were guided through by them."
Gray sang the praises of captain Suze Waia, Brandy Nicholson, Miranda Walker and Olivia Moore for setting the standard.
The team's performance even drew praise from the opposition.
"At the end, the Canberra Croatia coaching staff came over and spoke to our girls. We played them last year and they put 10 goals past us at home, in the away game last year they put 13 goals past us and they were pretty happy to get out of here with the points," he said.
In further positives for the Wanderers, the club's junior girls team all won on Sunday.