Melissa Phillip’s side came from behind to secure their second win of the season in The FA Women's Championship.
Atlanta Primus was at the double as London City Lionesses beat Leicester City 4-1, ending the visitors’ unbeaten start to the season. An even first half saw the Foxes hit the front through Paige Bailey-Gayle’s 23rd minute strike, however Primus equalised just four minutes later.
All square going into the break, Primus’s second, five minutes into the second half gave the Lionesses a lead we were never to relinquish, Lily Agg and Ellie Mason putting the match out of Leicester’s reach. The Lionesses climbed to sixth with a second win in three games, while the Foxes sit fourth having been unable to capitalise on back-to-back wins.
PIVOTAL POINTS IN THE MATCH Both sides had early chances blocked. Leicester’s Bailey-Gayle saw her shot charged down in the eighth minute, and then Annie Rossiter for the Lionesses after 12 minutes. Midway through the first half, Leicester found the opener as the ball fell kindly to Bailey-Gayle in the box and she struck it home with some help from the post.
The Pride quickly countered, a well-delivered ball crossed into the box by Kemppi calmly tucked away by Primus in the simplest of finishes. Less than five minutes after the restart, Primus got her second, comfortably weaving through the Foxes defence to put the Lionesses ahead.
In the 68th minute, substitute Liz Ejupi pulled her shot just wide but it mattered not as moments later the Lionesses managed to extend their lead. Agg broke through the Foxes defence and calmly dispatched it while one-on-one with the keeper. Ten minutes from time, Ejupi had a shot headed clear off the line.
Before Leicester could even regroup after coming so close to conceding, the Lionesses co-captain Mason struck home on return from injury. In stoppage time, Natasha Flint forced a good save from Yanez with a long range shot, but was unable to find a consolation for Leicester, whose unbeaten start was stopped at five matches.
MOMENT OF THE MATCH
Former England youth international Primus looks an inspired signing for Lionesses, joining in September after a spell playing college football stateside. The striker showed all of her clinical instincts against Leicester and her individual effort for her side’s second was crucial to puncture the confidence of the then-unbeaten visitors.
HEAD COACH REACTION
Lionesses’ Head Coach Phillips said: “I am incredibly proud of the team. Different players stepping up at different times but what they’ve continued to show over the past month, and even the players who’ve been a part of this team even longer. There is a true sense of commitment and resilience to what we’re trying to build. So, I just couldn’t be more proud of the performance today”.
When asked what the difference was between the two teams, Phillips responded “We just had so much belief in who we are and who we’re becoming as a team."
When questioned on goal scorer Primus, Phillips said: “She was due a few goals, she works incredibly hard in training, she works on her touch, she works on her finishing outside of training. So incredibly proud of her, she deserves it”.
Scorer of goal number 3 midfielder Lilly Agg said: “Its massive, we’ve been working really hard for the last two weeks, Mel has done a great job. We’ve worked hard in training, we’ve been driving each other on, I think we played today very unselfishly as individuals.
“We thoroughly deserved the win and the three points. It feels great to finally win. I think it’s been a long time coming, we’ve been playing well, we’ve been unlucky and not been scoring. Today we pop up with four goals so thoroughly deserved. Today we were massive underdogs."
“Leicester are a great team; they are full time and going into today I don’t think anyone would’ve fancied us for a win. So, to turn up, play how we played as well, and deserve the three points, shows what a good team we are and hopefully it can kick us forward.”
Adding to the positivity brace scorer Primus said: “We’re obviously delighted with the win. We’ve been working hard all season for a performance like that. To come out and play against tough opposition, every single person, whether they came off the bench or started, gave a great performance. That’s been coming for us. It gives us confidence going into the next few games."
“I’m delighted to get off the mark for the season there’s pressure when you come into a new club to get on the scoresheet. To score twice, I’m delighted with that, but ultimately, I’m all about the team and want the three points. We were able to do that, and I’m so happy."
Leicester’s Sophie Barker was clearly disappointed with their performance saying: “I’m a little bit embarrassed, a little bit disappointed. We didn’t turn up, they were a much better side, they ran a lot more. We thought we had won it before we even started the game. I’m a little bit embarrassed about that. They wanted it more, they were fighting for each other. The desire was a big difference. We didn’t even turn up from the off.”
On her first game back this season, Co-Captain Ellie Mason was named the SETL Player of the match. Next up for the Lionesses is Arsenal in the second group game of the FA Women’s Continental League Cup. Kicking off at 7.30 on Wednesday, follow the build and match progress via twitter
Head to London City Lionesses Match Day Gallery to see all the snap shots from yesterdays game taken by Edward Payne photography.
London City Lionesses (3-4-3): Shae Yanez, Chantelle Mackie, Harley Bennett, Ellie Mason, Grace Neville, Hayley Nolan, Lily Agg, Alli Murphy, Annie Rossiter, Atlanta Primus, Juliette Kemppi Substitutes: Leanne Cowan for Neville 46, Liz Ejupi for Kemppi 61, Lucy Fitzgerald for Rossiter 61, Freda Ayisi for Agg 80 Substitutes not used: Poppy Wilson, Hannah Short, Ylenia Priest, Hope Smith, Flo Fyfe Goals: Primus 27, 50, Agg 69, Mason 81
Leicester City (4-3-3): Kirstie Levell, Sophie Barker, Sophie Howard, Ashleigh Plumptre, Esmee de Graaf, Aimee Everett, Remi Allen, Charlie Devlin, Paige Bailey-Gayle, Lachante Paul, Millie Farrow Substitutes: Ruesha Littlejohn for Devlin 61, Sam Tierney for Everett 61, Natasha Flint for Farrow 67 Substitutes not used: Demi Lambourne, Freya Thomas, Lia Cataldo, Annabel Blanchard, Olivia Fergusson, Libby Smith. Goals: Bailey-Gayle 23 Referee: Aaron Farmer
Written by Will Oxenham Babb