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Durham 1-0 London City Lionesses: A hard fought defeat on the road

It was a tough trip up north for the Lionesses, as they were defeated 1-0 by a steadfast Durham side.

Things got off to a difficult start for London City, as, with just three minutes on the clock, a corner was whipped into the back post and headed in by Dee Bradley.

Yet from that point on, the first half belonged to the Lionesses.

The first big chance of the half for the away side fell to Rianna Jarrett, after Brooke Nunn out wide was able to weave her way through the Durham defence to square the ball to her.

However, the keeper was able to get down low and keep the shot out.

Nunn continued to be a threat down the flanks though, with her best effort coming after picking up a loose pass from the Durham backline, looking up, and then curling an effort goalward, that required the fingertips of the keeper and the crossbar to keep it out.

Durham continued to be a threat in transition, sending in dangerous balls into the box from all angles, yet keeper Shea Yanez was happy to watch them go out of harm’s way.

For City, the second half saw them facing a changed Durham, as the home side switched to a back four to help deal with the pressure from the Lionesses.

Set plays continued to be a useful tool in City’s arsenal, with a good chance coming from a well struck corner that was met by Carly Girasoli, but it was just wide of the post.

The best chance of the second half however came to Charlotte Fleming, after Karin Muya was able to dart around the full-back to get into box to find Mollie Rouse, who was able to pick her out, but the shot was well blocked.

It's a tough one to take,” said Lionesses manager Melissa Phillips after the game, “a set piece goal to seal the win is what Durham are known for. We dominated the rest of that first half and ultimately just didn't knock on the frame of the goal enough.

“When they dropped into a back four in the second half, it did change the game and we didn't have as many clear-cut opportunities and just had to kind of battle through conditions and the way that Durham play.”

Yet the score line shows just how tight a contest it was, especially considering the two contrasting styles of play.

“We always knew it was going to be a battle of two different identities, them out of possession and us in possession,” remarked Philips.

But ultimately we do have to be a little bit more clinical in the final third and around the goal.”

But for Phillips, she is still able to take a lot of positives from what was a really determined performance from the team.

“The way we competed and rattled Durham was incredible. We executed in a lot of that we wanted to within our game plan and to credit to the team, we made them change their formation against us.”

“So, there's loads of positives to take away from it. It's all about going and digging in next week, continuing to improve and putting ourselves in the position that we want to be in.”

Speaking of next week, another long trip on the road awaits the Lionesses as they travel up to face another tough opponent in Sunderland.

“We're prepared for it,” said Phillips, “we've spent a lot of time talking about the games ahead and knew that Durham would be a tough test.

“But we take it one game at a time. And once we get home, we’ll reflect, refocus and turn our attention towards Sunderland.”

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