The Lionesses exit the Vitality Women’s FA Cup after a 5-0 defeat against Barclay’s Super League leaders Chelsea.
Chelsea Women, the two-time FA Cup winners, provided a tough challenge for the Lionesses but they kept their heads high until the final whistle.
A strong defensive start to the game from the Lionesses only allowed Chelsea the one chance in the opening 20 minutes. The Lionesses’ held off until the 22nd minute when Chelsea’s forward Niamh Charles got on the end of a through ball and calmly slotted the ball beyond Shae Yanez in the Lionesses goal. 6 minutes later Chelsea got their second. Charles turned provider when her corner was headed in by Jess Carter.
The Lionesses continued to try and open up Chelsea in the first half, with Lily Agg almost getting onto the end of a through ball in the 34th minute. The Lionesses then conceded in the same minute through an unstoppable strike 35-yards out from Chelsea’s Melanie Leupolz.
In the 56th minute, Chelsea added their fourth after a well-worked team goal finished off by Drew Spence. A world-class stop from Yanez in the 66th minute prevented Chelsea from extending their lead. The Lionesses nearly got on the scoresheet with a well-worked corner with 15 minutes to go.
A great delivery from the corner by Atlanta Primus was headed inches over the bar by Lionesses captain Harley Bennett. Chelsea added their fifth and final goal in the 79th minute with Spence getting her second of the night.
Another great save from Lionesses keeper Yanez prevented a sixth Chelsea goal. The Lionesses didn’t give up with Annie Rossiter’s attempt in the 85th minute going narrowly wide.
MOMENT OF THE MATCH:
In a testing game for the Lionesses’ defence, Yanez produced a world-class save in the 66th minute to prevent Chelsea from adding another goal to the scoresheet.
HEAD COACH’S REACTION:
London City Lionesses Head Coach Melissa Phillips said, “I’m incredibly proud of my group. I think we made some really good adjustments in the game and figured out some small number scenarios in wide areas and started to win the ball back in better spaces and we competed throughout."
“There was good organization from everyone in the lines and ultimately we didn't give in sloppy goals. Those were five very, very, good goals, maybe barring a corner matchup but brilliant goals to give in, it wasn't off of any mistakes of our own or any sloppy player disorganisation."
“As much as you scout some of their movements and some of the common trends in goals they scored, it’s difficult to defend some world-class players that we were playing against."
“I don't think anybody expected us to come in here and get a result, even though that's the fun about the FA Cup. I think that it's exciting for our players to play against that quality and calibre of competition. They're up for the challenge, made it incredibly difficult on them, showed a physical presence with them and really proud of the way that we defended them, especially with those second-half adjustments."
“I think any time we play competition of this calibre that we can learn from them. Their quality is the difference when they get in line and the type of ball that's being cut back and opportunities on goal. Then it comes back across in the six-yard box or towards the penalty spot and they have late trailing runners where some of ours may come across the six-yard box. And that's the difference in decision making and a little bit of quality. I think we always learn from the opposition of what we want to take away from it”.
Speaking to Lionesses’ goalkeeper Shae Yanez after the match, she said “They're probably one of the best in the world and they have a lot of depth. We just had to adapt and play our game plan and stick to it. I think we did well defensively with shifting and doing what we practiced all week. Obviously like five good goals scored honestly."
“I'm proud of the way we performed, and we played hard so I can't really complain about that."
“I love a good challenge. I knew it was going to be a big game so that really hyped me up. I hate getting scored on so that just pushes me and obviously five goals is a little tough to take to the heart. I did what I could, and I played the full 90 and did the best of my abilities."
“We played hard for 90 minutes and we kept going, kept trying, we kept pushing and I’m proud of that from the team, from each person, each individual. We have one more game and we're excited for the opportunity. It's against a good team. So, it’ll be a good challenge for us to get three points”.
SETL PLAYERS OF THE MATCH: Annie Rossiter and Lucy Fitzgerald.
Next up for the Lionesses is their final league game of the 2020/21 campaign, away against Liverpool on Sunday May 2nd.
Chelsea: Carly Telford, Hannah Blundell, Jess Carter, Melanie Leupolz, Magdalena Eriksson, Niamh Charles, Erin Cuthbert, Drew Spence, Jorja Fox, Agnes Beever-Jones, Charlotte Wardlaw.
Substitutes: Zecira Musovic, Sophie Ingle, Bethany England, Jessie Fleming, Jonna Andersson.
Goals: Charles 22’ Carter 28’, Leupolz 34’, Spence 56’, 79’
London City Lionesses: Shae Yanez, Grace Neville, Hannah Short, Harley Bennett, Alli Murphy, Ylenia Priest, Hayley Nolan, Lily Agg, Lucy Fitzgerald, Flo Fyfe, Atlanta Primus.
Substitutes: Hope Smith, Nina Wilson, Chantelle Mackie, Leanne Cowan, Juliette Kemppi, Annie Rossiter, Ellie Mason, Kallie Balfour.