Sunday saw the London City Lionesses fall to a narrow defeat at home to Bristol City, as the visitors snatched a 2-3 victory.
Going into the game, this was always going to be one of the toughest tests the Lionesses would face, with the two sides neck and neck in the Championship table.
London City started brightly, with Lily Agg, back in the starting 11, driving the side forward and putting pressure on the Robins back line.
Indeed, the Lionesses didn’t have to wait long for their first big chance of the game, with Karin Muya breaking down the flank to square it to Amy Rodgers, who was able to get her shot away, but could only find the post.
However, against the run of play, Bristol got themselves ahead. A penalty kick by Abi Harrison was struck well enough to just get the better of Shae Yanez in goal.
London City didn’t have to wait long for an equaliser though, with Shanade Hopcroft sending in a corner that was nearly put away by Haley Nolan, who was able to get a shot away through the many Bristol bodies. Bristol were able to clear the ball away, but only as far as Hopcroft, who once again sent a looping ball into the box, which, following a header from Nolan that was well saved, was tucked home by Agg.
The second half saw both sides come out of the blocks determined to take the lead.
Bristol struck first though, with Aggie Beever-Jones’ first time shot, just edging past Yanez.
The visitors then struck again soon after, with Amiee Palmer’s edge of the box free kick, finding the back of the net.
Their two-goal cushion didn’t last long though, with Alli Palisch coming off the bench to grab her first goal of the season. Coming in off wing, Palisch was able to cut back and curl her effort over the Bristol keeper.
The Lionesses continued to push for the remainder of the match, but the visitors held firm and in the end, took home all three points.
Speaking after the game, manager Melissa Phillips had this to say on the result:
“We're obviously disappointed with the result,” she said, “there's small moments in the first half where we could put the game away as we had some clear-cut opportunities that should have been goals.
“We knew going into the game that Bristol are a good team, and we knew that they can score goals, it’s just disappointing to concede off set-pieces.
“If you look at the game overall, we were the better side for big portions of it, we just didn’t convert our chances, and when they started protecting that one goal lead, it was always going to turn into a scrappy game.”
Despite the result, there were still positives that can be taken from the game, with the side continuing on a fine goal scoring run.
“We scored another two goals today, but were beaten by three, yet we’re far from a goal drought. And as we say, it’s goals by the committee at this club, and I have faith in all our players to make an impact.”
Impact is certainly the right word, with Ali Palisch coming on to make her mark.
“I can't commend the bench enough,” said Phillips, “we've got a lot of depth in the group and a lot of different tools that can come off the bench and change the game, and we’ve had players coming off the bench and doing that all season.
“We’ve full confidence in players, like Ali [Palisch], who can come on and put things on target. We don't have an out-and-out, 15 goals a season player, but we have a lot of different players who can score goals, which poses its own challenges for opposition as well.”
With Liverpool up next though, all eyes will be on the week ahead.
“Bristol is now in the past and all we can do is reflect on it and find opportunities where we can be better, and that's always the goal. We want to win the league and we want to continue to push, to be as competitive as possible and Liverpool is the next test for us.”
London City Lionesses face Liverpool at Princes Park on Sunday the 6th of March. Click the link to get your tickets now!