The Lionesses returned to winning ways this weekend, as they clinched a 2-1 victory over Blackburn Rovers Ladies, in the dying minutes of the game.
Going into the match off the back of last week’s 2-2 draw with Coventry, it was clear that the team were determined not to have to share the points this time.
Despite being away from home, City were the dominant side throughout the first half, and with just under half an hour gone it looked like they had already got their reward.
Amy Rodgers started the move, playing a looping ball over the top for Rianna Jarrett, who looked to pass it to the SETL Player of the Match Karin Muya, who’s shot was well saved by the Blackburn keeper Alex Brooks.
Yet when the ball fell to Atlanta Primus, and she put her shot beyond her, the referee judged it to be a foul on the keeper and chalked off the goal. Yet it showed what City were capable of against the Rovers, at times, fragile back line.
The rest of the half saw London City continue to create chances, with Blackburn happy to sit off and try and hit them on the counter.
However, Rodgers continued to be a danger, with a speculative long-range effort nearly catching the keeper out.
The second half started in similar fashion, yet with the heavens having now decided to open.
Despite this, the Lionesses were finally rewarded for their attacking play, as Rodgers won the ball back in the centre off the pitch, switched it to Myua, who was able to pick out a late arriving Primus in the box, who was never going to miss.
But with 40 minutes still left on the clock, the home side were not about to make things that easy for London City.
With just over 10 minutes left to play, Blackburn equalised. Their captain Saffron Jordan gave keeper Shae Yanez little to no chance with her free-kick, firing it in off the woodwork, and setting up an explosive conclusion.
Neither side looked willing to settle for a draw, as each counter attacked the other in quick succession.
Then, with just four minutes of normal time to play, City won the ball back and broke through their midfield.
Rodgers picked up the ball, and made yet another commanding run through the middle, switching it to Muya, who picked her out in the box to smash the ball into the roof of the Blackburn net, sending City home with all three points.
“We came into the game with a very specific game plan, and I thought we executed it very well,” said manager Melissia Phillips after the game, “we knew after the game went equal that we had plenty of time and stuck to what was working.
“It paid off and we were able to exploit them in similar ways for both goals.”
For Rodgers, she puts the nature of the victory down to the strong mentality within the dressing room.
“Obviously we don’t want to be in a position where you need a late winner, but you could feel the belief in the team that we would get another goal,” she said.
“Having that resilience to keep going for the full game is definitely something we speak about as a team so it’s really good to see it come into play.”
And as for her part in the victory, “we’ve worked on the quality of deliveries into the box a lot and Karin pretty much put it on a plate for me, so really I was just relieved it went in and secured us the three points.”
For Phillips, the quality of the day’s opposition was something that she had anticipated, and as such, knew it would take a team effort to overcome them.
“Blackburn is a tough team and it’s a tough place to come and play. Top that off with tough conditions and it’s an incredibly resilient performance and one we can build and grow from.
“I’m really pleased with the performance; it was a full team effort with different players coming in and contributing to big moments.”
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London City Lionesses: Yanez (GK), Muya, Primus (48), Fronc, Bennett, Nunn (Rossiter 75'), Napier, Jarrett, Rodgers (90), Girasoli, Fleming
Subs not used: Gray, Thompson, Fitzgerald, Rouse, Pursey, Mehmet