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Lionesses drop three points with 3-2 home defeat to Bristol City

By Football Reporter

Second half strikes by Aggie Beever-Jones and Aimee Palmer lifted Bristol City to a 3-2 away victory over London City Lionesses.

Abigail Harrison scored from the spot before Lily Agg equalised before half time.

Allison Palisch pulled the Lionesses the within one after the break, but they couldn’t find a breakthrough.

With the victory, Bristol City leapfrogged the hosts into second place on the FA Women’s Championship table.

London City came close to opening the scoring early, when Karin Muya struck a low driving effort that forced Bristol goalkeeper Fran Bentley into a smart save.

Beever-Jones then delivered a defence-splitting pass that sent Harrison down the left and fired her shot across goal, but Harrison’s effort took a nick off Lionesses’ shot-stopper Shae Yanez’s boot, sending it wide of the post.

The Robins were awarded a 29th minute penalty after Beever-Jones was brought down, and Harrison took full advantage of the opportunity, smashing her spot-kick into the top corner.

The Lionesses responded quickly, Shanade Hopcroft executing a dangerous cross which met Hayley Nolan at the centre of the box, only to see her effort brilliantly blocked by Bentley.

But the damage was soon done, Agg converting the rebound to slot the ball into the empty net at the far post.

Bristol started the second half in emphatic fashion after some great movement on the right flank saw Ella Powell’s resulting cross set up Beever-Jones who volleyed her effort into the bottom corner.

The Robins doubled their lead just before the hour mark when Palmer notched a brilliant free kick from the edge of the box.

Palisch, who came off the bench in the 61rd minute, made a near instant impact, her left-footed effort setting up a dramatic end to the match—but the Robins ultimately claimed the three points.

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Bristol City manager Lauren Smith said: “I think it was a really transitional game. I think we knew that coming into it because both teams like to get the ball down, play through the thirds and break teams up between the lines so I think when we both tried to do that, we cancelled each other out in midfield quite a lot.

“That was obviously in the first half and in the second half, I think we just sorted ourselves out in terms of being more aggressive going into the one-touch movements a little bit more and really matching them which changed it for us. The momentum flew our way in the second half so that was a big change overall.

“We scored the second goal under two and a half minutes into the second half so that changed the game. We knew we had a foothold in the game and there were chances that might come for us but ultimately, the second goal changed it and swing it our way for a long period in the second half – probably till the last 15 minutes. That was us being scrappy and making sure we found our way to get the three points.”

London City Lionesses head coach Melissa Philips said: “We are obviously disappointed with the result. I think there were small moments in the first half where we could have a bit more discipline in our decision making and could have put the game away because we had some clear-cut opportunities that should have been goals.

“Bristol are a good team but we knew they can score goals. It’s disappointing to give them set piece goals and ultimately, that’s why we started the second half slowly so we had to find ways where we come out of half-time a little bit sharper.

“We’ve got a lot of depth in the group and a lot of different tools that come off the bench and change the game. I think that players coming off the bench have done that all year so we have full confidence in players like Alli Palisch who can come to put things on target. Ultimately, it has been score back committee for us as we have a lot of different goal-scorers within the group which poses its own challenges for opposition as well so I think the girls coming in did all they could to put us back on the front foot.”

London City Lionesses: (4-1-4-1): Shae Yanez; Lucy Fitzgerald, Harley Bennett, Hayley Nolan, Jamie-Lee Napier; Charlotte Fleming; Karin Muya, Amy Rodgers, Lily Agg, Shanade Hopcroft; Mollie Rouse

Substitutes: Brooke Nunn for Hopcroft 61, Alli Palisch for Fitzgerald 61, Kenni Thompson for Muya 80, Annie Rossiter for Rodgers 86

Substitutes not used: Anna Pederson, Grace Neville, Carly Girasoli, Jess Gray, Katie Kitching

Goals: Agg 33, Palisch 63

Bookings: Hopcroft 36, Bennett 60, Napier 90+1

Red Cards: N/A

Bristol City: (4-1-4-1): Francesca Bentley; Ella Powell, Brooke Aspin, Naomi Layzell, Lia Cataldo; Aimee Palmer; Ffion Morgan, Gwennan Davies, Chloe Bull, Agnes Beever-Jones; Abigail Harrison

Substitutes: Ava Kuyken for Bull 70, Izzy Cook for Powell 77, Simran Jhamat for Harrison 90+1

Substitutes not used: Maisy Collis, Sophie Whitehouse, Maddi Wilde, Jasmine Bull, Jessica Woolley

Goals: Harrison 29 (pen), Beever-Jones 48, Palmer 59

Bookings: Aspin 21

Red cards: N/A

Referee: Steven Hughes

Attendance: 220


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