Lionesses’ Nunn nabs goal in 1-1 draw against Liverpool
Liverpool were held to a 1-1 draw at London City Lionesses in their quest to seal top spot of the FA Women’s Championship.
Katie Stengel’s first half goal for the visitors was cancelled out by Brooke Nunn’s close poke home shortly after the restart.
The teams were slow to settle at a cold Princes Park, with early half-chances for the Reds through Ceri Holland’s header, and the Pride’s Shanade Hopcroft, whose shot was saved.
The visitors seized on a defensive calamity for the opener in the 27th minute. The ball fell kindly to Stengel, who made no mistake to shoot low past fellow American Shae Yanez.
Lionesses nearly responded in the 35th minute. Clever build up from Hopcroft and Jamie-Lee Napier resulted in the latter’s cross-turned-shot being well saved by Rachael Laws. The Liverpool keeper then made a critical reflex save to stop a follow-up on the line.
Liverpool defender Charlotte Wardlaw hobbled off with an injury just before half-time, causing a 10-minute delay.
The equaliser came in the 53rd minute. Hopcroft’s corner made for a scrappy six-yard box, and the ball deflected into the path of Nunn who was clinical from close range.
Lionesses tried to seek out a winner, with Nunn’s 83rd minute cross almost turned in by sub Karin Muya, but it was cleared away by Reds captain Niamh Fahey.
Liverpool had a couple of shots from range to try and regain the lead, but they all sailed over Yanez’s bar, while a late Reds corner was scrappily cleared away.
With six games remaining for the league leaders, they next face another trip south, visiting Charlton on Sunday.
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London City Lionesses (3-5-2): Shae Yanez, Alli Palisch, Amy Rodgers, Lily Agg, Jamie-Lee Napier, Molly Rouse, Harley Bennett, Hayley Nolan, Atlanta Primus, Shanade Hopcroft, Brooke Nunn
Substitutes: Karin Muya for Rouse 72, Charlotte Fleming for Hopcroft 72
Substitutes not used: Carly Girasoli, Lucy Fitzgerald, Anna Pedersen, Wiktoria Fronc, Annie Rossiter, Kenni Thompson, Katie Kitching
Goals: Nunn 53
Liverpool (4-3-3): Rachael Laws, Charlotte Wardlaw, Niamh Fahey, Jasmine Matthews, Leanne Kiernan, Rachel Furness, Melissa Lawley, Taylor Hinds, Ceri Holland, Yana Daniels, Katie Stengel
Substitutes: Rhiannon Roberts for Wardlaw 45, Megan Campbell for Matthews 60, Jade Bailey for Holland 60, Meikayla Moore for Stengel 88, Ashley Hodson for Lawley 90
Substitutes not used: Charlotte Clarke, Carly Humphrey, Hannah Silcock, Lucy Parry
Goals: Stengel 27
Referee: Georgia Ball
Melissa Phillips, London City Lionesses manager: “I think we gave them a really good game. We were the better team in large spells, and certainly more dangerous than they were. We had an opportunity at the end, which unfortunately we didn’t put away.
"I think we probably deserved to come out with even more than a draw from today.
“There’s never a question of us being capable to fight. If you look at our last two performances that we dropped, we’re actually the dominant team in both of those. Just unfortunately we had little errors such as the goal today which are the difference between a draw and walking away with a 1-0 win.
"I’m pleased to take four points off the league leaders. It’s another point on the board for us, and we keep challenging ourselves to climb that table.
“[Their goal] Disappointed. We have to really maintain our focus and our discipline to minimise errors. I think goals have come a little too easy for opposition against us.”
Matt Beard, Liverpool manager: “We didn’t particularly play well today. I think we rode our luck, especially after they equalised. I felt we finished the game strongly. We knew it would be a tough game today.
"They’re well organised, they get after you, and the pitch isn’t the best either. It was one of those games today where we were probably lucky to walk away with a point. At the same time, the way we finished the game, we could have walked away with all three. That’s the game.
“We’re 15 games unbeaten on the run. You’re not going to win every game. We knew it would be tough today. They’re a good side. Nine times out of 10, whenever we play teams, they raise their game against us. I felt a draw may be a fair result, we rode our luck a little bit. It’s one of those days for us.
“[Next week] I think it will be a different test. Charlton like to play out from the back, while today they were quite direct from back to front. We’ll prepare as we always do, and hopefully it will be enough.”