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Wildcats defence frustrate Lionesses: Durham 1-0 London City Lionesses

The Lionesses looked comfortable on the ball today, passing it neatly and playing it around well, but they just couldn’t break down the Durham defence.

Beth Hepple's strike just before half-time proved to be the winner for the home side.

The game was a lively and occasionally feisty affair, with the Lionesses starting of brighter in the first 15 minutes.

Hepple’s goal in the 44th minute was her fourth of the season; a left foot strike into the bottom corner to secure the Wildcats back-to-back victories at their new home at Durham University's world-class sports complex. However, London City are still looking for their first win.

Pivotal Points in the Match

Playing with real purpose London City forced two early corners before the first real chance of the game at 13 minutes in, saw Lily Agg’s sweetly struck free-kick just dip over the cross bar.

Durham’s best opportunity fell to Nicki Gears, but the 30 yards shot went over. Midfielder Mollie Lambert then saw a shot deflected wide from distance.

The 44th minute goal from Hepple was Durham’s first shot on target. Controlled the ball wonderfully down the right before cutting inside to fire a powerful left-foot shot low past Lioness keeper Shae Yanez whose dive wasn’t enough to stop it.

London City made a triple substitution, bringing on Lucy Fitzgerald, Freda Ayisi and Kallie Balfour and their best chance went to Alli Murphy. Her long-range free-kick forcing a smart save from Megan Borthwick low down to her right.

The high press from Durham frustrate the efforts of the Lionesses and they were unable to find an equaliser.

Head Coach Reaction

Lisa Fallon Head Coach said “I think you know anyone who’d have seen that came today will have known today that Durham were more than in a game and were probably lucky to get out a victory.

“There’s still things we’re working on and those little margins are going to come, and I said that to the players. I can't ask any more than what they gave out there today. Absolutely everything they gave. What we talked about in terms of the game plan they executed.

We cause Durham massive, massive problems, at the end of the game they were screaming for the game to be over and that probably says a lot about where this team is going.

“From our perspective, yes the result is really disappointing, is actually really tough to take, but what we can see the work that’s happening, we can see the commitment and the application of the players and you know, they know it's getting closer and closer now and we just keep going as we're going and I've absolutely no doubt that the results are going to come.”

London City Lionesses defender Harley Bennett said: “It’s tough not winning, but that was something we can build on for next week.

“I think we played really, really well and we deserved something from the game.

“Our plan was to start sharply and build on that. They pressed well, especially in the second half, and we struggled to get out a bit.

“But I think we gave them a great game. Their keeper made a good save from Alli Murphy’s free-kick and they managed to scramble the ball out for a corner, when I should have scored.

“We have a new manager, new coach, a lot of new players and bundles of ability. Obviously, it’s tough not to win yet, but we are building something exciting and I’m sure the results will come.

“We have London Bees next and hopefully that will be our first three points.”

London City's next game is at home on Sunday 3rd October against Lewes.

London City Lionesses (4-4-2): Shae Yanez, Alli Murphy, Harley Bennett, Hannah Short, Grace Neville, Hayley Nolan, Poppy Wilson, Lily Agg, Atlanta Primus, Liz Ejupi, Juliette Kemppi

Substitutes: Lucy Fitzgerald for Primus 60, Kallie Balfour for Kemppi 71, Freda Ayisi for Wilson 71, Annie Rossiter for Agg 87

Substitutes not used: Lucy Thomas, Chantelle Mackie, Ylenia Priest, Lilly Pursey, Leanne Cowan

Bookings: Bennett 23, Wilson 65, Agg 69

Durham (4-2-3-1): Megan Borthwick, Ellie Christon, Kathryn Hill, Becky Salicki, Sarah Wilson, Sarah Robson, Mollie Lambert, Nicki Gears, Beth Hepple, Emily Roberts, Molly Sharpe

Substitutes: Bridget Galloway for Sharpe 64, Lauren Briggs for Roberts 90

Substitutes not used: Abby Holmes, Hannah Reid

Goal: Hepple 44

Bookings: Robson 64, Salicki 87

Referee: Lucy Briggs



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