London City Lionesses run rampant in 3-1 win over Blackburn Rovers
By Football Reporter
Jamie-Lee Napier’s double and a goal from Amy Rodgers guided London City Lionesses to a 3-1 victory over Blackburn Rovers to claim second position in the FA Women's Championship. Saffron Jordan got Rovers' consolation goal as they ended the season without an away win. The real first chance fell to London City Lionesses in the opening two minutes when Atlanta Primus struck a close-range effort that forced Blackburn goalkeeper Alexandra Brooks into a fantastic save. Melissa Phillips’ side failed to capitalise on Blackburn’s sloppiness as Primus executed an inch-perfect pass for Napier whose effort went into the side netting. The visitors came close to breaking the deadlock when Lauren Thomas launched a bursting run into the box, before squaring the ball to Jordan but her effort was superbly blocked. Midway through the first half, the home side won a penalty. Following some nice skill, Primus was brought down in the area and the referee pointed to the spot. Rodgers’ penalty was saved excellently by Brooks, but Napier converted the rebound for a deserved lead. In the 33rd minute, Blackburn’s Natasha Fenton delivered a dangerous free-kick that found Annabel Blanchard, but she directed her header over the bar. Shortly before half-time, Shanade Hopcroft tried her luck from long-range and her effort went straight into the hands of Brooks. Lionesses doubled their advantage at the start of the second half through Napier as her half-volleyed effort flew past Brooks and into the top corner. With 20 minutes remaining, Gemma Donnelly’s side pulled a goal back through Jordan who poked into the bottom corner after meeting Fenton’s cross to set up a nervy end to the game. In the closing stages, Rodgers fired home a towering effort from close-range to claim a resounding victoryTory.
To follow the action and sign up for The FA Player’s live Barclays FA Women’s Super League coverage visit womenscompetitions.thefa.com London City Lionesses’ head coach Melissa Phillips said: “I think at this time of year, it’s all about securing the three points and for us, it was just ecstatic to finish where we did in the table. It’s obviously been the goal to secure promotion and that’s our ambition. I think finishing as high as we possibly could and challenging the league leaders, it’s a season where we should be proud. “It’s clear to see that the game was just scrappy throughout. There wasn’t a real rhythm to it and credit to Blackburn - they were quite expansive and had some decent rotations that made it difficult on us, but I think ultimately, we were able to get a goal in the first half that settled us and then we saw the game out in the second half. “That second goal was our bread and butter. I think we’ve played across the field and out to wide areas all season long and had service into the box that resulted into goals. It was nice to see us do that from left to right. “It’s small moments where we had a little bit of lapse in focus and it’s a great goal to be fair coming across the near post. I think it was fantastic to get the third goal and see the game out. We are always a team that will battle to the end and like I said earlier, delighted to finish in second place.” Blackburn Rovers manager Gemma Donnelly said: “I thought that we gave a really good account of ourselves and I don't think the scoreline reflects the true story of the game. I thought we controlled the game and played some good football. The goals came against the run of play and it has taken the wind out of our sails. “They got the early goal and I think fair play to us - we've stayed in the game, found a goal to make it 2-1 and I think we’ve shown the fight and spirit as we were the ones to have brought the game to London City Lionesses today. “We were extremely disappointed because it wasn’t a penalty so to not score, to be in the right positions to generate those opportunities is good. But against the run of play and have a penalty awarded against you which clearly wasn’t a penalty and have to pick the team up. “We were still in the game and created every opportunity - getting a goal back would put us back in the race. That’s what we tried to do but then we conceded and never given up. I suppose trying to find the equaliser which stretched us slightly and not cleared our lines which was a good finish from Amy Rodgers. I think the performance was a gritty, hard-working that brought the game to London City. I felt that we were in a position to have taken something out of the game.” London City Lionesses: (4-4-2): Jessica Yanez; Grace Neville, Charlotte Fleming, Hayley Nolan, Lucy Fitzgerald; Shanade Hopcroft, Amy Rodgers, Atlanta Primus, Harley Bennett; Karin Muya, Jamie-Lee Napier Substitutes: Lily Agg for Hopcroft 45, Mollie Rouse for Muya 87, Katie Kitching for Fleming 87, Carly Girasoli for Fitzgerald 88 Substitutes not used: Alli Palisch, Jess Gray, Anna Pedersen, Brooke Nunn, Annie Rossiter Goals: Napier 28 & 54, Rodgers 84 Bookings: Fleming 41 Blackburn: (4-4-2): Alexandra Brooks; Chelsey Jukes, Hannah Coan, Natasha Fenton, Helen Seed; Millie Chandarana, Tara Bourne, Farah Crompton, Saffron Jordan; Lauren Thomas, Annabel Blanchard Substitutes: Chloe Dixon for Coan 66, Chloe Williams for Chandarana 66, Aimee Hodgson for Crompton 74, Ellie Leek for Thomas 86 Substitutes not used: Megan Hornby, Jade Richards, Kayleigh McDonald, Amaya Coleman-Evans, Erica Cunningham Goals: Jordan 71 Referee: Sophie Dennington Attendance: 327