A first-half penalty from Blackburn’s Georgia Walters’ secured them the win as the Lionesses failed to capitalise on the multiple chances, they created.
Pivotal Points The Games:
The Lionesses started the livelier of the two sides with Lucy Fitzgerald and Lily Agg looking very bright from the start. On 20 minutes, Rovers’ Jade Richards met Maria Edwards’ cross, but the celebrations were soon crushed as the flag was up.
Just before 30 minutes, a clumsy challenge, from Lionesses centre back Harley Bennett, saw Saffron Jordan, the Rovers captain, brought down inside the area. Georgia Walters stepped up to the spot and her forceful shot was hit past Shae Yanez and into the back of the net.
The Lionesses started the second half with two changes. Freda Ayisi and Annie Rossiter replacing Lucy Fitzgerald and Ylenia Priest. Some beautiful play from Rossiter set up a shot from Lily Agg on 55 minutes. Unfortunately, the 10 yard strike hit the post leaving the Lionesses unlucky not to score the equaliser.
Rossiter and Agg combined again a few minutes later, but Agg went wide from close range, following a quality cross from Rossiter. London City’s domination of the second half remain fruitless despite further chances being created. Juliette Kemppi hitting over the bar, a shot from Alli Murphy successfully saved and a shot over from Ayisi too.
Head Coach Reaction:
The immediate reaction from Melissa Phillips was, “The effort we played with in the second half was tremendous. That is the type of performance we have to challenge ourselves to display consistently. We created a number of quality opportunities from it and will continue to build upon these.”
Blackburn manager Gemma Donnelly said: “We were under pressure for large parts of the second half, but we were super tough to break down and it’s our first clean sheet of the season and we’re so pleased. The game wasn’t probably the prettiest, with the best flow to it, but we dug in and showed great character. It was a very tough game but we got what we needed from it.”
Lioness Alli Murphy was on hand to provide a player reaction, “
I mean obviously it's never fun to lose but you look at the game from a whole and what we can take from this game, there were some really good moments, some really good team football and we just continue to build on that. We have two weeks to prepare for our next game. So, we take the goods from here and we build on those and we look at you know, the wrongs and just keep improving.”
With chance after chance but no goal, what did she think was missing?
“The obvious one would be the final execution. We just couldn't put it away. But I think overall, we had a lot of chances. Everyone was going at it so I think overall it was good. We just need that final piece, that execution of the finish and then I think once we start to get one, the goals will start coming.”
Murphy will be on international duty with Ireland this week. What’s she looking forward to?
“It's always a great honour to go on international duty and play for Ireland. So, I just look to improve things that I can do better on, you know things that I've learned from being away at camp. Can I bring it back and help this team and help us progress throughout the season.”
The Lionesses will now use the international break to train hard and prepare for their next league game at home to Leicester City. Going full time this season and fully integrating into the men’s premier league club, Leicester have been investing heavily in their playing squad and overall club infrastructure, so will no doubt be formidable opponents. They will travel to Princes Park off the back of a 4-1 away win over Crystal Palace, and currently sit third in the table.
Blackburn Rovers (4-4-2): Alex Brooks; Ellie Fletcher, Kayleigh McDonald, Jade Richards, Chelsey Jukes; Elise Hughes, Natasha Fenton, Emma Doyle, Maria Edwards; Georgia Walters, Saffron Jordan
Substitutes: Ria Montgomery for Walters 55, Isobel Dean for Edwards 62
Substitutes not used: Emma Bradley, Meg Dykes, Leah Embley, Meg Boydell, Ellie Stewart
Goals: Georgia Walters 30
Bookings: Maria Edwards 45
London City Lionesses (4-4-2): Shae Yanez; Chantelle Mackie, Harley Bennett, Ylenia Priest, Grace Neville; Atlanta Primus, Hayley Nolan, Poppy Wilson, Lucy Fitzgerald; Lily Agg, Juliette Kemppi
Substitutes: Alli Murphy for Wilson 41, Freda Ayisi for Priest 46, Annie Rossiter for Fitzgerald 46, Kallie Balfour for Mackie 78
Substitutes not used: Hope Smith, Leanne Cowan, Hannah Short, Ellie Mason, Lilly Pursey
Referee: Jack Nield