This Sunday will see the London City Lionesses take to the pitch for the final time this season, as they get set to take on Blackburn Rovers.
Going into the game, the Lionesses will be looking to continue their strong end of season form, which saw the side come away with a 3-1 win over Bristol City.
Speaking on the result, manager Melissa Phillips had this to say.
“Firstly, credit to Bristol,” said Phillips, “they've had a fantastic season as well, and every team in that gap below Liverpool has taken points off each other and it’s been so competitive.
“So, we knew it was going to be a tight game, but what we saw in training was just another level of hunger from the group because they were so up for the task and the challenge with Bristol.
“This season we dropped points to Bristol, Charlton and Lewes and we all felt that those games just slipped away from us, so we've turned those three results around on this run, and that’s put us in good form going into the final game of the season.”
Indeed, for captain Harley Bennett, playing against teams like Bristol always brings with them that added motivation.
“As a player, you want to play quality opposition, like Bristol, and I think we always raise our game a little bit,” said Bennett.
“And for me, Sunday was a brilliant all-around, great team performance, and one where everyone knew their roles and were switched on from the first minute till the end.
“As a back line, we knew how difficult it would be to play against the likes of Abbie Harrison and Ffion Morgan, but the fact that we scored two early goals allowed us to settle into the game quickly.
“Coming off the back of the defensive performance against Lewes, that equipped us really well for the pressure that we faced, especially near the end.”
At the other end of the pitch, the game against Bristol showed, once again, the importance of the breadth of attacking talent that the Lionesses have at their disposal.
“We’ve had 15 different goal scorers, including our goalkeeper,” said Phillips, “it's a win by committee and it's goals by committee kind of team and that's what we've been about all year.
“We've been a very humble and hard-working group, and I’ve said it all along that we know we can compete with the best of them, and I think we've showed that with the results that we've gotten against WSL teams, and those teams, like Bristol and Liverpool, who are of WSL quality.”
Those qualities are going to be needed on Sunday too, as the Lionesses look ahead to another tough battle at Princes Park, this time against Blackburn Rovers.
“In the Championship, every game brings a different challenge,” said Bennett, “compared with last week, Blackburn are certainly more of a physical team.
“So, we know we need to be competitive in that game, and hopefully we have moments where we can show our quality and we can play the style of play that we want to play.
“But ultimately, we know we need to go out and compete, and I think if we do that, we'll have our moments where we're able to put the game away.
“The next game is always going to be the biggest game for us,” said Phillips, “and we will have to put in a competitive performance to earn yourself that top spot, so it'll be a real test for us.
“They’re going to be looking to bounce back from a difficult result against Charlton last weekend, so they’re going to pose some challenges, but we have to go out with focus and execute.”
For the Lionesses though, a win would see the team finish in second place in the Championship, a record high finish for the club.
“Going into this season the goal was promotion,” said Phillips, “and although we've fallen short from that certainly doesn't tell the story of the season.
“We’ve developed a core group of leaders, a style, and identity that will see us have success for years to come in the future.
“We looked at this year and knew that we could really be competitive in the league, and we did just that. But that next jump is even harder, to go from where we are as a second-place contender, to a title winning side.”
Indeed, for Bennett, one of the six of the original contingent of Lionesses, she’s been able to see first-hand the growth taking place at the club.
“From the first year to this year the club has come on leaps and bounds,” said Bennett, “we went through another little transformation this year, where we brought in some stronger players to try and compete and that's made me grow as a player and up my standards.
“So, just being part of such a great team and having great players, it just upped the level for everyone around here and really helped us push forward.”
The London City Lionesses take on Blackburn Rovers at 14:00 on Sunday the 1st of May! Click the link to get your tickets now!