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London City Lionesses prepare for tense London derby against Crystal Palace F.C Women

The London City Lionesses will this weekend take on Crystal Palace, as they look for a repeat of Septembers 2-1 victory over them at Princes Park.

For London City, last weekend was a disappointing result, as Durham came from behind to get a 2-1 win over the Lionesses.

“We’re disappointed of course,” said manager Melissa Phillips, “but it’s not the end of our run and this result certainty does not define us or how the game went.

“Unfortunately, five minutes dictated a lot of how the rest of the game went, but there’s a lot of things we can be pleased with and take away from our first half performance, and then have a look at what led to the opportunities for Durham and being a bit sharper in those areas.”

For Charlotte Fleming, it was a game that she and the rest of the team knew was going to be a battle.

“We know what Durham are like,” said Fleming, “and in the first half we did everything we could to shut them down, and they weren’t in the game.

“The second half didn’t go our way unfortunately and there were individual errors, but it’s a team sport, we build and learn together, and we’ll be ready to go again and get the three points this weekend.”

Experiences like the Durham game are indeed learning opportunities, especially considering that not only are the Lionesses a young team, they’re also a team consisting mostly of players recruited in the summer, Fleming being one.

“If you look at Durham, they’re the second oldest team in the league and they've got players who have been together for close to ten years now,” said Phillips. “We're a newly formed team that's very youthful and ambitious so there's tons of lessons to learn throughout this season.

“So, we just continue to bank those experiences and continue to grow and stretch ourselves and push on towards our ambition.”

Yet this growth comes, not just from playing 90 minutes on the weekend, but also through the hours of work on the training pitch.

“Since joining the club I've definitely grown as a player, both in my confidence and in my abilities, and that’s definitely down to working with the coaching staff and my teammates week in week out,” said Fleming.

“I’m also more composed on the ball than I was, and I'm happy to be able to bring different assets to my game to help London City achieve its goals.”

But of course, for Fleming, her role in the team, playing just in front of the backline, has meant that building a strong relationship with the four behind her has been one of the most important parts of her time at the club.

“We all have our individual roles in the club and, at the end of the day, it’s all about having trust in your teammates. I know that every game, Harley [Bennett] has my back, and so I only need to focus on myself, because of the level of trust I have in her,” said Fleming.

“Joining in the summer, there was always going to be that worry about how long it’s going to take to build relationships in a team, but it all fell into place very quickly and has gone from strength to strength throughout the season.”

Next up in the Championship for the Lionesses is Crystal Palace, a side they’ve already taken three points off when they came to Princes Park at the start of the season.

“Palace are a very unique side in their style of play and the way they set up, and they've challenged a lot of teams, during the first half of the season especially. They’re very good in transition too, so we know it’ll be a test for us and our identity,” said Phillips.

“That first game against them was a long time ago, and a lot has changed for both teams, with new faces joining us and coming back from injury. So, we’re going to be looking to put in a really competitive performance.”

For Fleming, she knows just what challenges Palace will bring on Sunday.

“It’s going to be a tough game,” remarked Fleming, “they’ll be hard to break down and quick in transition, but we beat them last time and I’m sure we can go there on Sunday and get the win.”

The London City Lionesses take on Crystal Palace on Sunday the 13th of February at Bromley Football Club! Get your tickets now to follow the Pride!



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