It was a comeback to remember for London City, as they showed tremendous determination to come back from 2-0 down against a strong Coventry United side, to draw 2-2.
City started the game brightly, well rested following the international break, but it was United who struck first in the 24th minute at Princes Park, with Mollie Green whipping in a corner which was met in by Nat Johnson, who headed down for a Rio Hardy tap-in.
The pressure from United continued, with Green yet again proving a danger to the backline, as she sent a free kick into the box that appeared to be dipping dangerously. Thankfully, keeper Shae Yanez was able to watch it end up in the stands.
Yet Yanez was called into minutes later, after a City mistake played in Hardy who was able to get a shot away. But Yanez was able to pull off a spectacular save to keep City in the fight.
Just before the half, the best chance of the half for the Lionesses fell to Atlanta Primus, after Rianna Jarrett’s shot ended up at her feet, but the shot was just narrowly wide, hitting the post and going out of play.
“Oh, yeah, they're always tough when they don't go,” said Primus after the game, “But, you know, that's football sometimes.
“I think we had a couple more chances that we need to be a little bit more clinical with, but that's down to us and coming out next week and working hard to finish those chances in future.”
After the break, it proved to be a tough start for City, when, on 48 minutes, another Green corner was played into the box, only for Jarrett, to unfortunately turn the ball into her own net, after attempting to clear the danger.
But just four minutes later, the Lionesses were back on the hunt. SETL Player of the Match Kenni Thompson, played in a great ball that was gleefully met by Jarrett, as she made a clever darting run to leave her marker in the dust.
“I was really pleased with the way the team responded,” remarked manager Melissa Phillips, “the fight that we showed in the second half to get to the ball first, and really put our stamp on the game.
“I think we learned a lot about ourselves in that first half and how we can't give that much of the game to the opposition to settle in. That's something that we'll definitely have to get better at moving forward.”
With just over 25 minutes left of normal time to play, City continued to pile on the pressure on the away side, with a great chance falling to Karin Muya, as she made a driving run to get her shot away, nutmegging the United defender in the process. But the shot was saved, along with the rebounded effort by Jamie-Lee Napier.
Yet just minutes later City got a reward for their continued bombardment of the Coventry box, when another great ball was sent into the box, and expertly headed in by captain Harley Bennett. The lionesses were back level, setting up a tightly fought final 20 minutes.
“I think the team showed great character,” said Primus, “but I think it's taking us a bit too long to start a game. So that's something that we're going to focus on.
“But again, great character from the girls to never give up, and we were unluckily not to get the three points.”
The Lionesses did have some chances to complete the comeback, with Napier being a constant threat, sending in a ball that Mollie Rouse was just unable to bring it under control.
Yet with five minutes left on the clock things could have been so different for London City, with Oliva Fergusson breaking through one-on-one with Yanez, who sticks her ground and makes herself big, forcing Fergusson to shoot to her left, but she can only hit the post.
“We never feel like we're out of the game,” proclaimed Phillips, “we always know that we have the capability to score goals and to be fair the goals that we're giving up, we're not really getting broken down, they've all been preventable.
“It's two set piece goals that we gave in today it's not areas that we're getting broken down, it's just areas that we have to be a little bit grittier.”
Next up for London City is a trip to the Northwest, to take on seventh placed Blackburn Rover L.F.C., who will present another strong challenge to Phillips’ side.
“Home or away, it’s all about how we play on the day and giving a performance where we can focus on ourselves, and the areas we need to grow.
“Blackburn will be tough opposition, they’re always well organised and put a lot of numbers in behind the ball. So, we’ll have to show our quality in the final third.” Said Phillips.
Without question though, the confidence that such a determined performance will bring to the side will be with them come Sunday's match.