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London City Lionesses demonstrate 'fluid connections' in emphatic win over Crystal Palace

Sarah Ewens, London City Lionesses
Sarah Ewens, London City Lionesses

London City Lionesses travelled to Hayes Lane with a clear tactical blueprint and executed it perfectly, with four players firing their way onto the scoresheet.

Sarah Ewens fired the Lionesses into an early lead, converting a dangerous cross from Shanade Hopcroft into an unmissable chance, and the team never looked back.

Hopcroft also provided the assist for London City’s second of the afternoon, feathering a through ball into the path of Jamie-Lee Napier – who beat Natalia Negri at the second time of asking from close range.

The Lionesses added a third to their tally on the stroke of the interval, with Lois Heuchan’s devilish delivery landing perfectly on the head of Karin Muya – who jumped for joy in celebration of her first of the evening.

Karin Muya, London City Lionesses
Karin Muya, London City Lionesses

London City continued to press their hosts after the break and reaped the rewards just before the hour mark thanks to smart combination play from Napier and Muya.

If you thought the pass was excellent, watch the finish:

Finally, with four minutes of additional time left to play, Lucy Shepherd raced onto a line-breaking pass from Atlanta Primus and riffled a shot into the bottom corner.

Crystal Palace, nil. London City, five.

“It’s all about what the match calls for,” Phillips said when asked about the Lionesses’ approach at Hayes Lane.

“Crystal Palace like to have a lot of possession but we knew that they can be suspectable to attacking transitions, so that’s what we went after and it certainly paid off with the fifth goal.

“The other goals came from fluid combination play, which is an area we excel in. We’ve been incredibly efficient from wide areas throughout the season and it’s going from strength to strength.

“It’s a credit to how hard the group works week in week out and how much depth we have. It makes our sessions so competitive because everyone is vying for a spot.”

Muya, who was named SETL Player of the Match, spoke candidly about the team’s offensive fluidity shortly after the final whistle was blown.

“We’ve been doing a lot of fun attacking work in training over the last couple of weeks and I felt like the connections worked really well today,” the 27-year-old explained. “It was very organic with our movement, it flowed naturally, and it was a really enjoyable performance.”

Jamie-Lee Napier, London City Lionesses
Jamie-Lee Napier, London City Lionesses

Muya was a constant thorn in the side of the Crystal Palace defence throughout the contest, combining with Napier on several occasions to switch the point of attack from left to right.

When asked about her relationship with the Scot, Muya added: “Jamie is known for her drives and relentless running, which means I can play blind passes and I still know that she’ll be there. She’s always the highest of the high-speed runners and it’s great to play with her.”

With a trip to Bristol City next on the schedule for London City, there couldn’t be a better time for Phillips’ forwards to fire on all cylinders. For the Lionesses, it’s full steam ahead.

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