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Brighton Women 0-1 London City Lionesses: A Wednesday night to remember for the Lionesses

It was a Continental Cup game to remember for the London City Lionesses, as they put in a dominant performance away from home to beat WSL side Brighton.

There was only one change from the 1-0 win at home to Sheffield, with Annie Rossiter coming in for Rianna Jarrett, who proved to be a constant thorn in the side of the Brighton backline.

The first big chance of the match fell to Rossiter, after Karin Muya and Amy Rodgers linked up well to put her through on goal. But Brighton keeper Megan Walsh was able to get a hand to the shot and keep it out.

Heartened by the save, Brighton came again, putting more and more pressure on the City backline, with Kayleigh Green almost giving the home side the lead, yet only finding the crossbar with her shot.

For City, Rodgers and Rossiter continued to be a lethal pairing going forward, linking up again just a few minutes later to force yet another save out of Walsh.

Indeed, the constant intensity from City’s forward line meant that she was called into action several more times, being forced to concede five corners in the first half alone.

Yet in the City goal, Shae Yanez was in just as fine form, with a really impressive double save 30 minutes in ensuring the score stayed level going into half time.

After the break the pressure continued form London City, as they kept pressing high up the pitch and forcing a succession of mistakes by a somewhat shaky Brighton backline.

Indeed, it was from capitalising on one of these very mistakes that City got their goal.

It was Rossiter who was alive to the error, picking up a loose pass from the home side's defence, and then carrying it in forward into the final third, before switching it to Muya, who weaved her way through the last of the Brighton backline, before coolly slotting it past Walsh.

But Brighton weren’t going to simply let City walk away with a win. A well worked corner nearly brought the score’s level, as Victoria Williams got on the end of it to send a powerful header towards goal. But once again Yanez pulled out another fingertip save to send it onto the bar.

Yet the award for the jaw dropping moment of the match has to go to Carly Girasoli. After intercepting a City back pass, Brighton’s Ellie Brazil sent a chipped shot goalward that seemed destined to bring the score level.

However, Girasoli was able to get back in time to get a foot to it to clear it off the line just in time, and with that, seal the win for the Lionesses.

“It's great for the club,” said manager Melissa Phillips after the game, “it's our first win against the WSL side and a top three one at the moment, so it's a real credit to the team performance and how far we’ve come.

“We were able to get a lot of players on and the energy just continued to increase, everyone made a massive contribution. There was good execution of the game plan throughout and feel we were really able to maintain our identity, so we couldn't be proud of the group, it's very well-deserved.”

The win also marks the Lionesses first in the Continental Cup this season. But for Phillips, the cup is never just about results.

“We look at it from a performance standpoint and the ability to stretch ourselves as a team,” remarked Phillips, “that was our objective coming into the match tonight, and I think we're able to achieve that.

“We’ll take a lot of confidence and momentum from the performance, but all it does is help us learn about ourselves to add things to our locker for the next opportunity, and ultimately Sunday is the next biggest focus.”

For Rossiter though, her own performance will definitely be one she won’t be forgetting in a hurry. But what were her expectations going into the game?

“I just wanted to enjoy it,” she said, “Mel gave me the heads-up I was starting, and I just wanted to go out and enjoy it and play my game.

“Tonight's result showed that we as a team, we all believe in each other, and it takes everyone to get a win and it takes everyone to get through the season.

“I'm just really glad for every one that got on, like Hannah [Short] coming back from injury Grace [Neville] coming back from injury. Lilly [Pursey] getting in, I'm just really proud of everyone tonight.”

However, there’s little time for the Lionesses to savour the result, with all eyes soon turning to Sunday’s league clash against Charlton. Yet for Phillips and Rossiter, there is definitely a desire to enjoy the result as much as possible.

“We're going to enjoy this one first,” said Phillips, “and we'll take some time to rest, regroup, reflect and prepare ourselves accordingly over the next few days to make sure that we're fresh and sharp mentally and physically and prepared going into the match.”

“I think we're definitely on a high right now,” remarked Rossiter, “but all focus turns to the league on Sunday. We know we want to achieve promotion, so we'll be back in on Friday and straight down to it again.”

London City Lionesses: Yanez (GK), Fleming, Primus, Muya (GOAl 50'), Fitzgerald, Bennett (C), Napier, Fronc, Rossiter, Rodgers, Girasoli

Subs: Neville, Thompson, Nunn, Pedersen, Short, Pursey, Jarrett, Rouse

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