The Lionesses made it two wins out of two on Sunday, as they ran out 2-1 winners over Crystal Palace F.C. Women
It was hardly the dream start for London City however, as a free kick in the third minute saw Lizzie Waldie control the ball to slot it past Shae Yanez.
Yet whilst some teams might crumble in the face of such an early blow, manager Melissa Phillips knew it would take more than that.
“It was a moment we always knew we would respond to and not let it define our game plan. We're a very together, tight-knit team and it's about having belief in our ability to get one back and control the tempo of the game from there.”
Indeed, it didn’t take long for the Lionesses to find their groove, and just six minutes later they had their reward.
A handball in the box saw the referee blow her whistle and who else but number nine, Rianna Jarrett, to step up and place it home to bring City level.
When asked about what qualities that Phillips and her coaching staff focused on to bring in a new signing like Jarrett, Phillips said,
“She's got an unbelievable football mind the way she thinks about the game, reads the game, understands it and plays within her strengths.
“She's obviously a proven goal scorer at every level, but I think she’s so much more than that to the team, because she's a leader on and off the pitch as well and has come up big in key moments as she has in the last two matches.”
The goal helped to drive the Lionesses, forward, with Palace seemingly unable to cope with the high press of City.
Just after half an hour it seemed that Jarrett would have another chance from the spot when Lily Agg was brought down in the box.
“It looked like a penalty,” remarked Phillips, “But ultimately the referee didn't decide to give it and I respect that decision and the girls played on. Again, just another moment in the game that we needed to respond to.”
But with half time fast approaching, the Lionesses’ attacking endeavour was again rewarded when Jamie-Lee Napier’s shot was deflected in off Palace’s Leanne Cowan. But for Phillips it was the movement of her players leading up to the goal that she took most pride in.
“It's an unbelievable string of passes that gets us in behind and rewarded with a goal. Really a credit to the girls ability to break down different scenarios that we’ve faced so far this season.
“They played in a 5-4-1 low block in the first half and credit to our attacking style they had to change their game plan to match up in a 4-3-3 in the second half. Our team's ability to read and respond to those moments of the game have been very good.”
The second half saw Palace start to try and assert themselves back into the game, but time and again the City back line kept them at arm’s length for the most part.
Yet the south London club kept coming, with one effort just hitting the side netting showing that they remained a danger.
There were chances also for London City to extend their lead, with Agg having a great chance, cutting inside to leave the Palace defenders in her wake, yet her shot was dealt with comfortably by Palace keeper Emily Orman.
However, the best chance of the game fell for Crystal Palace’s Millie Farrow, facing a seemingly gaping goal, but she was unable to keep her shot down, and consequently handing London City all three points.
Speaking after the game, the tireless midfield engine, SETL Player of the Match Mollie Rouse was clearly delighted with the team’s result.
“We’re all absolutely buzzing, just won 2-1, 3 points in the bag and it was such a team effort. So, everyone played their part, and you know, and when it all comes together like that it's a great feeling.”
For Phillips though, two wins out of two is no reason to start popping the champagne.
“Next up is Lewes so it’s still one game at a time. We cherish our Mondays as a team, so we can reflect, can celebrate the small victories together, but ultimately grow and learn about ourselves to get a little bit better each week.”
Whilst the team might not be getting too carried away, sitting second in the table is a sure-fire way to get fans dreaming!
London City Lionesses: Yanez (GK), Thompson, Primus (Muya 77'), Fitzgerald, Bennett (C), Rouse, Napier, Agg, Jarrett (GOAL, 10') (Rossiter 73'), Rodgers, Girasoli
Subs not used: Gray, Nunn, Fronc, Mehmet
London City Lionesses' next home game is against Coventry United on September 26th. Click here to buy your tickets now!