This weekend the London City Lionesses are back in action and back on the road for the final time, as they get set to take on Bristol City.
The Lionesses will be going into the game in good form, following the teams impressive 1-0 win over Lewes last week at Princes Park.
“Going into the game, we knew some of the threats that Lewes posed in transition and going forward, as they have a very potent front line and a couple of very clear ways that they want to attack,” said manager Melissa Phillips.
“The game was very fast from the start, I think we managed moments well, grabbed a goal against the run of play, and then you saw chances come on both ends, with Shae making that fantastic save late on.
“At the end of the game, we said if we’re only going to be one thing for the remainder of the year, we want to be difficult to break down, so we’ll take confidence from that going into Bristol”
The hard-to-beat mentality that Philips alludes to, was clearly visible on Thursday night, with defensive midfielder Charlotte Fleming, and the rest of the side, digging deep to keep the clean sheet.
“It definitely was a tough battle,” said Fleming, “Lewes have a lot of good players, so it was always going to be a challenge.
“It was a really physical game, but at the end of the day, we came out with the win and showed real grit and determination to get the three points.”
That strong mentality is going to be needed come Sunday, as the Lionesses come up against a Bristol City side that came away with a narrow 3-2 when they came to Princes Park two months ago.
Looking back to that game, we feel they got away with one at our place,” said Phillips, “because they struggled to get out of their half at times, but unfortunately, we conceded against the run of play, and then had to battle back through it in the second half.”
“That game very easily could have been a 3-3 or 4-3 match, with the chances that were presented on either side. It was an absolute battle, and we expect it to be the same, with both sides hungry for that second-place spot.”
Indeed, for Fleming, that hunger is something that is clear for all to see in the London City dressing room.
“We still have our goals, and we want to finish second in the league,” said Fleming, “and I think we, as a collective, know that we need to remain focused, and we just need to believe in ourselves.
“We all back each other, but at the end of the day we’ve got to take it game by game and remain focused on the outcome that we all want.”
Heading into a game as competitive and tight as Sunday’s undoubtedly will be, for Phillips, it’s a clear strength that she knows that, when called upon, any player can step up and make an impact.
“Only 11 start the game on Sunday, and maybe a handful others who come in to contribute, but everyone impacts the team throughout the week's preparation and training,” said Phillips.
“We've had a lot of different players in the starting line-up throughout the season, and they're always ready when they’re called upon, which is a credit to the group and how competitive we are.
“It’s at these points in the season that our togetherness really becomes a separating factor, and it’s a big part in what’s made us such a successful group.”
London City Lionesses take on Bristol City on Sunday the 24th of April! Make sure to tune into our socials to follow along on the day!