The London City Lionesses secured their first win and three important points in a 2-1 victory over London Bees. Harley Bennett’s second-half header to win the game moves the Lionesses up eighth in the table.
Pivotal Points In The Match:
Melissa Phillips took over as interim head coach on Friday after Lisa Fallon stepped down from her role for family reasons. After just 3 minutes, Alli Murphy converted from the spot after a penalty was awarded for a tackle from Sophie McLean. Irish international Murphy made no mistake and with her confident strike put the Lionesses ahead.
The Lionesses continued to dominate pushing for a second, carving out space for Atlanta Primus to break through on goal but her shot was saved. As the half progressed both teams created chances. Melisa Filis and Merrick Will came close for Bees. Juliette Kemppi’s effort was stopped by Bees keeper Sarah Quantrill, whilst a brilliant save from her also denied Poppy Wilson on 35 minutes. Another great move from Wilson, as Primus brought a shot that was to slide just past the post leaving London City one goal up at the break.
The Lionesses came out positive again after the restart. Lily Agg twice leading the charge as she struck just over in the 54th minute before her 60th minute strike was deflected wide. Three minutes later Georgia Robert’s sent a 35-yard strike, lobbing Lionesses goalkeeper Shae Yanez, catching her off guard and levelling the score at one a piece.
Delight for London Bees was quickly shattered as, London City’s player of the match, Bennett scored from a bullet of a header on 67 minutes to put the Lionesses back in front and they continued to test the Bees defence until the final whistle.
Interim Head Coach Reaction:
Reacting to the result after her first league game in charge Mel Phillips said, “I’m incredibly pleased with the players performance. I think they worked so hard and responded really well. We’re just taking things one day at a time and putting the team in the best position for success, preparing them as best I can from a mentality standpoint but also from a tactical standpoint."
“We still have a lot of work to do as a team still but we’re going to keep challenging ourselves to climb the table and put in performance like today, day in and day out.”
London City Lionesses forward Lily Agg said, “It’s been a tough week for us, a few changes, but we pulled together as a team. We know how much three points means to us. There were bodies on the line, everyone left everything on the pitch today. The three points were well deserved."
“[In previous games] We’ve been unlucky and we’ve still battled. We’ve struggled to create and score in the final third. Mel’s done a great job today. She’s given us direction and lots of belief. Today something felt good and as a team we clicked."
Looking ahead to Blackburn next weekend Agg added, “It’s an away trip and on the back of this we’ll be really positive. We want three points, we’ll work hard, recover and train hard, set ourselves up like we’ve been doing. We’re going there confident and buzzing from the win, hopefully we’ll get another three points.” London Bees manager Lee Burch said, “I think we got what we deserved, which was nothing. We didn’t turn up, we didn’t have the fight and quality that we needed in certain areas. It seemed like they wanted it more than us, which is heart-breaking to say.”
London City Lionesses (4-4-2): Shae Yanez, Chantelle Mackie, Poppy Wilson, Ylenia Priest, Alli Murphy, Juliette Kemppi, Grace Neville, Hayley Nolan, Harley Bennett, Lucy Fitzgerald, Atlanta Primus Substitutes: Kallie Balfour for Primus 59, Annie Rossiter for Fitzgerald 82 Substitutes not used: Hope Smith, Leanne Cowan, Freda Ayisi, Lily Agg, Ellie Mason, Lilly Pursey Goals: Murphy 4, Bennett 67 Bookings: Balfour 72, Priest 90 London Bees (3-5-2): Sarah Quantrill, Georgia Robert, Billie Brooks, Marianne Taho, Melisa Filis, Sophie McLean, Georgina Giddings, Charlie Estcourt, Flo Gamby, Amelia Hazard, Merrick Will Substitutes: Lauren Pickett for Taho 59, Hayley West for Gamby 59, Evie Gane for Brooks 66, Brooke Nunn for Filis 84, Millie Constantine for Giddings 84 Substitutes not used: Faye Hazleton, Nicola Gibson Goals: Robert 63 Referee: Daniel Doyle
SETL Player of the Match: Harley Bennett