In a frustrating game where the Lionesses dominated and continued to test the Coventry defence, it was unstoppable 30-yard effort from Coventry United’s Hayley Crackle that meant the three points stayed with the home side.
The Lionesses’ started the game the quickest when in the 3rd minute Atlanta Primus set up Kallie Balfour for an early chance with her shot going fractionally wide. The Lionesses continued to cause Coventry issues with both Primus’ and Poppy Wilson’s attempts going wide in the 12th and 13th minute respectively.
Shae Yanez prevented Coventry’s best chance in the first 20 minutes, with a superb save in the 18th minute. Destiny Toussaint was causing problems for the Lionesses and it was her driving run down the left that saw the ball reach Crackle, who cracked it first time to leave Yanez with no chance as it nestled in the top right-hand corner.
Primus continued to test the home side’s defence and shot narrowly wide after Lily Agg’s deflected shot found her in space. 2 minutes before the break, a bullet of a shot from Balfour was only denied from going in by an outstanding save from Coventry’s goalkeeper.
The Lionesses continued to test and apply pressure to Coventry as they searched for a route back into the game but were left frustrated with half-chances. A defence-splitting pass on the hour mark from Agg allowed Balfour to test Coventry’s keeper, but her effort flew past the post.
More chances came for London City as Lily Agg’s goal-bound header was saved by Wood, before a mix-up in the Coventry box nearly led to an equaliser. But the hosts held on for a 1-0 win in an exasperating fixture for the Lionesses.
MOMENT OF THE MATCH:
The Lionesses looked to have got the equaliser they deserved through a powerful shot from Balfour only to be denied by a great save from the Coventry goalkeeper.
HEAD COACH’S REACTION:
London City Lionesses’ Head Coach Mel Phillips said “I think you could tell our desire and our sense of urgency in the second half to compete. I just don't think that we had that in the first half."
“We created 3 or 4 opportunities that we probably should have put away but it's that real competitive mentality to be able to do that."
“They scored a fantastic goal, a bit of a worldie and then they just battled to keep us out of the back of the net from there. But it's not for a lack of opportunities, it's just being able to put a complete 90 together for the group. I take full responsibility for that; I think that's something that we have to continue establishing within our mentality."
“You could tell the girls were playing with a sense of urgency, they wanted it and there was a desire and the fight that was probably lacking in the first half. Something we have to do a bit better is start games with that sense of urgency, it's easy when you're 1 nil down to chase the game and showcase that but it's having that same mentality from the start."
“We’ll reflect, we’ll grow, we’ll learn and move forward as we always do as a group and figure out where we really need to continue stretching ourselves”.
Lionesses’ midfielder Lily Agg said “We’re gutted, disappointed and we were just not good enough."
“It’s easy to compete when you’re 1 nil down but we need to start games like that. We need to compete from minute one, we need to take our chances."
“We train all week for Sunday and it's just not good enough to miss our chances. Credit to them I thought they were brilliant today, they put bodies on the line, and they deserved the win."
“If this doesn't drive us on and spur us on to come out all guns blazing against Charlton then I don't know what will. We need to turn up, we need to put a statement out against Charlton. We need to put bodies on the line and we need to compete from minute one and we need to put some goals in the back of the net”.
SETL PLAYER OF THE MATCH: Hannah Short
Coventry United (4-4-2): Sue Wood; Ashlee Brown, Becky Anderson, Nikki Miles, Hayley Crackle; Helen Demodey, Fran Orthodoxou, Katy Morris, Destiny Toussaint; Amy Wathan, Amber Hughes
Substitutes: Alice Hassall for Demodey 48', Georgia Stevens for Wathan 56'
Substitutes not used: Holly Chandler, Phoebe Warner, Liv Clark, Beth Merrick, Jenna Roberts
Goals: Crackle 25'
Bookings: Toussaint 90'
London City Lionesses (4-4-2): Shae Yanez, Hannah Short, Harley Bennett, Grace Neville, Alli Murphy, Hayley Nolan, Poppy Wilson, Lily Agg, Kallie Balfour, Lucy Fitzgerald, Atlanta Primus
Substitutes: Flo Fyfe for Wilson 33', Juliette Kemppi for Neville 77'
Substitutes not used: Nina Wilson, Chantelle Mackie, Ylenia Priest, Freda Ayisi, Annie Rossiter, Lilly Pursey