Match Report: London City Lionesses 2-3 Aston Villa

After the journey which felt like was the longest of the season after the kick-off needing to be delayed due to accidents we all got caught up in on the way to the game, the 2 pm game became a 3 pm kick-off. But the weather didn’t let up with the temps reaching 31, which felt like throughout the game only got hotter and hotter on the sidelines, so can only imagine how the players felt throughout the game. So massive credit has to go to both squads for the effort put into the game in difficult conditions.

I do wish to shout out first off Amber Wildgust for sorting us tickets on the door, very much appreciated. Which brings me to the staff at Princes Park. The woman on the turnstile was very welcoming just like Linda on ours, which is your first interaction as you come in through the door, which to me is the most important moment of if you go back to see your team more often. The security for the most part and the groundsmen were very welcoming and enjoy coming and having a joke and a chat with us. The kitchen staff joined in tapping away in the kitchen to our songs. The reason wanted to mention this brings me onto the team that is London City Lionesses they have some incredible players in their squad such as Poppy Wilson, Amber Gaylor, Elizabeta Ejupi I’d urge anyone that is in the area to go down and get behind them as it is a fantastic day out.

So after a delayed kick-off the game kicked off under the blazing sun and the first chance came from Hull’s answer to Ronaldo, Sophie Haywood, as she skipped like a scratched CD past two defenders before pulling the ball across to the female John McGinn (Or should John be the Male Emily Syme) Emily Syme who took aim and forced the London City keeper, Lucy Thomas into a smart and early save.

It didn’t take long with 10 minutes on the clock (CK) Amy West did what Amy West does she looks at the goal and goes I’m going to score as she hit the ball at the goal, She only scores wonder goal and we may wonder how the Keeper didn’t keep it out but as the ball hit the net we celebrated like she’d scored a wonder goal coming down like a rocket as we took a 0-1 lead with 10 minutes on the scoreboard. As Tracy Jacks filled the stadium it just proved that West Is The Best.

London City Lionesses were trying to get back into the game and always looked dangerous on the attack but between Elisha N’Dow and Natalie Haigh not a lot got through the middle and the same out wide with Asmita Ale and Ella Franklin standing tall.

The game was mostly being battled in the middle of the pitch and without really troubling Sian Rogers in the goal, a ridiculous decision (it’s a matter of how you see it but let me paint a picture) so Natalie Haigh was behind the London City Lionesses player as she was on the break and Natalie slid in behind knocking the ball away from the attacker which rolled back to Sian Rogers as she picked it up. The referee gave an indirect free kick for London City Lionesses. Villa tried to pack the goal to stop the shot coming in but as Elizabeta Ejupi stood over the ball, really knew she would hit the back of the net. She took aim and the ball fired into the net but Marisa Ewers did so well to get a boot to it but just couldn’t direct it over the bar on the line. 29 minutes in and the scores were back level at 1-1 with all to play for.

A well-deserved drinks break was taken on the 30ish minute mark after both teams had worked hard in the blazing sun. It wasn’t long before the pressure from Emily Syme once again nearly gave us a lead again as she did a one-two step and took aim and as the shot looked goal bound a great block by London City’s Priest stopped the ball going goalwards.

Melissa Johnson nearly became provider just before the half time whistle as she played in Emma Follis who struck her shot wide of the post which could have given Villa the lead going into the break. But at the half time whistle the game was 1-1. In a way, it was a fair score with Villa just edging the play at times. A mistake by their Keeper and a controversial goal for London City meant the second half was all to play for.

It didn’t take Elizabeta Ejupi long again to remind us why we were such big fans of her when she played for us. On the 50th minute, an inch-perfect cross by Leanne Cowan split our backline as Ejupi met it at the back post putting it into the net giving Sian Rogers no chance and London City Lionesses the 2-1 lead.

London City seemed to get a lift and we went a little flat but Gemma Davies made the substitute which was the game-changing moment for me if we playing Madden.

On the 59th minute, she brought on Shania Hayles for Emma Follis. As we sang Shania song she was bouncing ready to go like she had been unleashed.

Six minutes later we were back on level terms as Marisa Ewers lifted the ball into the box and Natalie Haigh left the defence for dead like Rocky 4 when Ivan Drago says “If They Die They Die” as she directed the ball into the back of the net getting us back on level terms. 2-2 with all to play for and we were looking more dangerous every time we went forward.

Less than 2 minutes later Shania Hayles gave us a 2-3 lead as she got onto the end of a ball and struck it home to get her first goal for Aston Villa Women. Now could we hold onto the lead in the last 20 minutes?

London City wouldn’t let Villa have it easy as Sian Rogers was called into action on the 74th minute not once but twice as Poppy Wilson tried to spoil the day. Sian Rogers was once again using her cat-like reflexes to stop London City spoiling the Claret And Blue party.

Elizabeta Ejupi was working hard to get her hattrick and while she was on the pitch she was always a threat, but once again Sian Rogers got clattered putting herself on the line for Villa as she scored stayed 2-3 and meant she needed to have some treatment late on in the game.

Phoebe Warner came onto to replace Sophie Haywood late on as we went into extra time. The final minutes ticked by and Villa stood tall as the final whistle went and Villa picked up the 2-3 win. The second game in a row we have won 2-3 and the second game we have come from behind to get the win, a never die attitude that shows what character the squad is.

Photos: Adam Nunn

As we sit in second place in the league with 6 points from 6, scoring 6 goals shows a great start and we maybe haven’t played our best football yet but we managed to get the results we are after which shows a great team ethic and when things are getting tough the team group together to get the result. Also a massive Happy Birthday to our fearless leader Gemma Davies, who didn’t get away without us singing Happy Birthday to her.

We have a week off now as we build towards our third game against Blackburn at Villa Park on Sunday 8th August with a noon kick-off. Make sure you get down and cheer our girls on as they look to keep up the 100% record going.

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