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Lionesses surprisingly lose at Watford 1-0

by Football Reporter


Chiara Meola’s tap-in helped relegation-threatened Watford surprise London City Lionesses 1-0 at Vicarage Road.

It is just the second win of the league campaign for the Golden Girls, and their first in a home fixture, in front of over a thousand people.

The frustrating result for Lionesses means they can no longer win the Championship.

It was goalless at the break in a reflection of what was a tight affair in Hertfordshire.

Shanade Hopcroft’s early shot for the visitors was cleared, while Lily Agg’s 22nd minute header was comfortably caught by Watford keeper Georgie Ferguson.

Watford had the ball in the back of the net after 25 minutes when Adekite Fatuga-Dada beat the last defender, but she passed to Flo Fyfe, who was offside.

Hopcroft found space to shoot low in the 34th minute, but it was punched wide by Ferguson.

The visitors started the second half strongly, with Lily Agg’s low header in the 49th minute and an Amy Rodgers shot three minutes later both well stopped by Ferguson.

But Watford’s goal came against the run of play just before the hour mark. Fatuga-Dada found her way past the Lionesses defence, before squaring to Meola who tapped it in.

London City tried to find their way back, with Mollie Rouse shooting wide and then just over in the minutes following Meola’s goal.

Watford’s Corinne Henson blasted towards the top corner with ten minutes remaining, but Shae Yanez pushed it out for a corner.

Charlotte Fleming’s shot from distance for Lionesses went just over as the clock wound down and Watford held out for the victory.

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Watford (3-4-3): Georgia Ferguson, Anne Meiwald, Amber-Keegan Stobbs, Adekite Fatuga-Dada, Francesca Ali, Megan Chandler, Chiara Meola, Flo Fyfe, Corinne Henson, Morgan Rogers, Andria Georgiou

Substitutes: Gemma Davison for Fyfe 62, Ronnell Humes for Fatuga-Dada 77

Substitutes not used: Mia Smith, Sarah Wiltshire, Shauna Vassell, Juliet Adebowale-Arimoro

Goals: Meola 60

Bookings: Georgiou 90+4

Red Cards: None

London City Lionesses (3-5-2): Shae Yanez, Charlotte Fleming, Amy Rodgers, Lily Agg, Jamie-Lee Napier, Mollie Rouse, Harley Bennett, Hayley Nolan, Shanade Hopcroft, Katie Kitching, Brooke Nunn

Substitutes: Alli Palisch for Kitching 62, Annie Rossiter for Hopcroft 62, Kenni Thompson for Rodgers 62

Substitutes not used: Anna Pedersen, Grace Neville, Carly Girasoli, Melis Mehmet, Wiktoria Fronc, Lucy Fitzgerald

Goals: None

Bookings: Fleming 45

Red Cards: None

Referee: Robert Whitton

Attendance: 1,216

Reaction:

Chiara Meola, Watford match winner said: “I’m buzzing. We’ve worked so hard throughout the whole season. We’ve had our ups and downs, but the girls put in a great shift and got the three points.

“I just saw Ade [Fatuga-Dada] driving, and I was like “I have to be quicker than her”. I just made it to the box, and she gave me the great assist to tap it into the net.

“Good to score here, good to score for the team. Everyone deserves it, everyone works so hard outside of here. We more than deserve the three points. The fans were brilliant. All the girls came round me. It’s a great feeling.

“We keep working hard. We’ll enjoy the three points now, but we go back on Tuesday. When we get back to the dome on Tuesday, we work hard, and we prepare for Sunderland.

“We just keep building on this game. We have such a great togetherness at the minute. We’ll stick together and get something out of next weekend.”

Melissa Phillips, London City Lionesses manager: “Disappointing. We controlled large bouts of possession and ultimately conceded on a counter attack. That is football. By far from our best performance.

“We need more urgency from the players, we need more determination. That starts in the training week.

“The players need to take accountability for that killer instinct. It’s something we’ve been calling for, in terms of how many opportunities we create per match but not converting.

“It’s that conviction, it’s that bite inside the box, it’s a little bit of an edge about us that need to find within ourselves as a group.

“We want more of ourselves. We sat in that second-place position for so long throughout the season, and that’s not easy to do.

“To stay there, and maintain it, that’s where the real grit comes from. Without that grit in the group, unfortunately it’s very easy to drop places on the table.

[Ahead of the Lewes game next] “It has to light a fire under us. No excuses, we have to go out and assert ourselves more than we did today.”