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London City Lionesses 2021 round-up

It’s been another year to remember for the London City Lionesses, with some big highs and a whole host of unforgettable memories.

Each City fan will likely have one particularly strong memory that stands out from the past 12 months, but if you’re still undecided on a favourite, allow us to take you back through the last year.

2021 kicked off in dramatic fashion for the Lionesses, with a 3-2 win over Lewes in the Championship.

City battled on for the rest of the league season to finish sixth in the division. But even before the whistle had been blown in the last game of the season, London City were already laying the foundations for a summer like no other.

First came the confirmation of several key players committing their futures to the Pride, followed by a stream of high-profile new arrivals through the door at Princes Park.

All the hard work during the off season quickly started paying off, with a 1-0 win away to title rivals Liverpool being the perfect start to the new season.

A penalty from Jarrett on her debut gave London City the edge, but it was the performance of the whole team that truly set it apart; showing the rest of the league that the Lionesses were ready for this fight for promotion.

Wins against Crystal Palace, Blackburn and Watford soon followed, with players old and new gelling together well to overcome some of the toughest teams in the division.

Outside of the hunt for promotion, the Continental Cup proved a tough test for City, as they found themselves in a group with three WSL sides.

Yet it was a challenge the side was more than ready for.

A narrow defeat at home to West Ham showed that City were ready to compete against WSL opponents, and victory later in the year at Brighton cemented that belief.

A first goal for the club by Karin Muya was enough to secure the first ever victory over a WSL side for City, and yet such was the dominance of the performance, that it could very well have been more.

More cup excitement followed in 2021, with the Lionesses putting six past Ashford Town on their way to the next round of the Women’s FA Cup, where Arsenal lie in wait in the new year.

Yet 2021 wasn’t done just yet, with the final Continental Cup match of the year, at home to Birmingham City, having the Princes Park faithful on the edge of their seats, as the tie went to a penalty shootout.

The WSL side pushed the Lionesses right to the end, but it was Shae Yanez who proved the difference on the night, as she scored and then saved two penalty kicks.

One final night of excitement to close out another unforgettable year at Princes Park.

Views from the club

Speaking on the year just gone, Chairwomen Diane Culligan had this to say:

"As I reflect on 2021, despite the tremendous challenges we have all faced due to the pandemic, and indeed continue to do so, I am incredibly proud of the progress and resilience shown by the whole London City Lionesses family.

Our LCL Kent Player Development Programme goes from strength to strength, as does our partnership with Shenfield High School who are delivering an inspiring girl’s' full-time football education programme.

Our Development Team is having a strong season too, with players already making the transition to being involved in the first team squad.

Our Head Coach Melissa Phillips and Sporting Director Edward Gallagher continue to drive our progress on and off the pitch, alongside their colleagues in our coaching, performance services, operations, and marketing roles.

The tremendous support of my fellow board members, volunteers, family, friends, and fans is felt with every step we take, so thank you for your continued support and the super energy you bring, and all at The Pride wish you a very safe and prosperous New Year."

Sporting Director and Academy Technical Director Edward Gallagher had these remarks on 2021:

"Despite the difficult period we find ourselves in as a world with the pandemic, 2021 has been a year of foundations and progress at London City Lionesses. We finished the 20/21 season strongly and I am extremely thankful to all the staff and players who played a key part in our development as a club last season.

We had an extremely busy summer within our first team bringing in quality in a range of positions to compliment the high level of players already here at the club. We continue to go from strength to strength both on and off the pitch and we have really set a solid foundation for the second half of the new season and for 2022.

Away from our first team, we have created a full academy pathway from our under 12s all the way through to our development team, giving us a steady stream of future lionesses!

We've already seen the benefits of such a pathway with first team debuts this year. Plans are already well in place to create a 'best in class' academy programme that develops our young players into well rounded individuals.

To all our fans, families, education partners and sponsors, I thank them for their continued support through these tough times. I'm excited with what the future holds at London City Lionesses and glad that you are all part of it.

Finally, my personal highlight was having over 120 players and parents from our academy in attendance to watch our first team pick up their second win in the Continental Cup against FA WSL opposition."

The first game back at Princes Park of 2022 sees London City take on Sunderland AFC Ladies! Click the link to get your tickets now!

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