London City Lionesses were left to rue missed chances as they were defeated 1-0 by Southampton in the Barclays Women’s Championship.
Katie Wilkinson provided the only goal of the afternoon, scoring on the second phase of a quickly-taken corner kick with seven minutes left to play.
The Lionesses produced a handful of chances earlier in the match, with Harley Bennett rattling the crossbar with a header shortly after the restart.
There were also close calls for Carly Girasoli and Grace Neville, who made Kayla Rendell work for her clean sheet.
“Southampton made it really difficult for us in the final third,” explained interim head coach Nikita Runnacles, “they made important blocks and moved into areas where we wanted to play. We had numerous chances from set-pieces and open play, so it’s disappointing to come away without putting the ball in the back of the net.”
Added Runnacles, when asked about the game-winning strike: “It’s so disappointing for us to come away with a loss and for that to be the kind of goal that we concede. We’ve challenged ourselves to be better at set-pieces in both areas this season, so it’s out of character to concede like that. That’s probably what’s most disappointing.”
The Lionesses fall six points behind Bristol City after their loss on the South Coast, with time running out for them to turn the tide in the title race.
“Until somebody says that we can’t finish first, we’ll keep pushing,” said Runnacles.
“Ultimately, we can’t keep dropping points because that’s what costs you in the end… we don’t want to be in a position where we have to keep bouncing back – we want to be in positions where we can build momentum.”
The Lionesses travel to Blackburn Rovers on Sunday, 23 April for their next fixture, with the season finale versus Coventry United scheduled seven days later at Princes Park.