A first-half penalty from Ellie Leek, and some resilient defending in the second half, gave Lewes the points, leaving the London City Lionesses squad bitterly disappointed that the hard work on the training pitch isn’t yet producing a winning formula.
In what was to be the only goal, Ellie Leek’s first-half penalty, was the decisive moment of the match, secure back-to-back FA Women’s Championship wins for Lewes.
Pivotal Points In The Match:
Freda Ayisi’s excellent long-range shot in 8 minutes, was the first real strike on goal but Lewes goalkeeper Saunders was able to turn it around the post. The first half continued with both sides making shrewd moves that were easily dealt with.
On 27 minutes, Lionesses goalkeeper Shae Yanez, was forced to make the first of two quick saves but Leek’s shot was straight at the keeper. Then Georgia Timms’ decent effort was comfortably saved.
At 32 minutes a hand ball in the box saw Lewes awarded a penalty. Leek slotted the ball to the right, as Yanez went the other way.
The Lionesses had the chance to level just before half time but Ayisi’s 43rd-minute shot was just wide. Lewes seemed to start bright after the break but Katie Rood’s header and then Timms’ fierce strike both went over the bar.
In the 54th minute, Poppy Wilson’s attempt for the Lionesses forced a good smother save from Saunders to keep the visitors ahead, as the Lionesses piled on the pressure seeking the equaliser. Ayisi’s shot at 70 minutes also went over the bar as the Lewes defence remained resolute. A free kick from Alli Murphy with five minutes remaining, forced Saunders to make another good save.
Head Coach Reaction
Lionesses Head Coach Lisa Fallon said, “We're so disappointed with the result. And you know, I think everyone who's here could see the level of effort and the performance and in fairness to Lewes, they got their goal and they sat in and they defended and made it really difficult for us."
“We've created so many chances. I’ve just told the players we keep going, we keep working, we keep at it and the results are going to come. We see the work that we're putting in on the training pitch. You see the work that the players are putting in every day and I have absolutely no doubt in my mind that the results are going to come.”
Lewes match-winner Ellie Leek:
“It feels great. We all fought together again. We have such resilience as a team. It feels great to get another three points in this league. They don’t come easy. We really appreciate it. It was an aggressive game. London City are a great team with great players and they didn’t make it easy for us.”
Ylenia Priest, Lionesses co-captain:
“We’re obviously disappointed. The girls gave it their all. It was one of those days that didn’t go our way. I’m speechless how we didn’t score but we’ll have to watch it back. There’s a lot of positives to take into Tottenham. At the moment, disappointed, but I think we can build."
“We’re very close, just small margins that just have not gone our way. We’re working very hard in training. Fair play to Lewes, they put bodies on the line and closed us down quickly. It was either the wrong pass or the wrong delivery or just not hitting the target. It was small things, and on another day, we would have got three or four."
“Tottenham is going to be a big challenge, but those are the games to get excited about. We’re looking forward to that and hopefully we’ll put a good performance in.”
London City sponsor SETL chose #37 Liz Ejupi as their player of the match.
Next up for the Lionesses is Tottenham Hotspur in their first group game of The FA Women’s Continental League Cup. The Lionesses travel to The Hive for a 3.30pm kick-off. Follow their progress on twitter.
London City Lionesses (3-4-3): Shae Yanez; Harley Bennett, Ylenia Priest, Grace Neville; Alli Murphy, Hayley Nolan, Freda Ayisi, Poppy Wilson; Kallie Balfour, Juliette Kemppi, Liz Ejupi
Substitutes: Lily Agg for Balfour 46, Atlanta Primus for Ejupi 74, Annie Rossiter for Wilson 81