Natasha Flint & Ashleigh Plumptre

Five-Star LCFC Women Up & Running In Continental Cup

LCFC Women delivered a brilliant performance to run out as 5-2 victors over Blackburn Rovers at Farley Way Stadium in Group E of the FA Women's Continental League Cup on Wednesday evening.

There were six changes to City’s starting XI following Sunday's defeat by London City Lionesses in the FA Women’s Championship, with Lia Cataldo, Sam Tierney, Freya Thomas, Annabel Blanchard, Libby Smith and Natasha Flint – facing her former club – coming into the side.

Early dominance for the Foxes, meanwhile, was rewarded after just six minutes as Blanchard forced Alexandra Brooks into a fine save, before Farrow struck the base of the post.

There was no let up for Rovers, though, as Flint charged in to send a simple finish into the bottom corner to put Leicester ahead.

It almost got better when a wicked deflection came cannoning back off the woodwork, before Blanchard then nodded Smith’s cross, from the right, over the crossbar.

The hosts had a goal disallowed, too, inside the opening 20 minutes as captain for the night Sophie Barker’s free-kick eventually came to Tierney, who strayed offside in the build up.

It seemed a matter of time until the Foxes would double their advantage and, in the 32nd minute, they did just that in incredible fashion as Flint’s rocket flew into the top corner from outside the area.

Despite a bright start to the second half, which saw Smith hit the side netting and then, later on, miss the target narrowly, Rovers were back in it shortly after the restart.

Elise Hughes' long-ranger stunned the Foxes' backline and flew into the far top corner of Kirstie Levell's goal, making it 2-1 with 40 minutes still to play.

Rovers were level soon after, too, when Charlotte Newsham sent a low drive into the net after tidy play from the visitors and it initially seemed like it could become a frustrating night for City.

Leicester's response was to introduce the likes of Charlie Devlin, Paige Bailey-Gayle and Lachante Paul into their attacking ranks in pursuit of a winner.

The home side remained calm, sticking to the game plan, and with 12 minutes remaining, it paid dividends as a flowing move ended with Devlin arrowing it beyond Alex Brooks in Blackburn's net.

It wasn't all plain sailing, though, as first Levell and then substitute Riglar were forced into last-minute interventions to prevent Rovers from restoring a foothold in the game.

Not content with a one-goal lead, City continued to advance, with Bailey-Gayle's emphatic finish, off the bar, making it four, before a fifth came courtesy of Kayleigh McDonald's late own goal.

Major moment

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Natasha Flint
Natasha Flint

Flint put City on course to victory in the early moments of the game.

Taking the lead early after a disappointing last outing was crucial for the Foxes against stern opposition in Blackburn and they were able to do it inside just six minutes in Quorn.

Natasha Flint’s first of the night may not have been as spectacular as her second, but it proved to be the first act of a big result for Leicester, despite a brief moment of alarm in the second half.

Who impressed?

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Natasha Flint
Natasha Flint

A rocket from Flint for her second goal of the night was a highlight of the match for the Foxes.

Already a reliable source of goals in blue, new signing Natasha Flint, who netted a brace against her former employers on the opening day of the 2020/21 season, was in stellar form once again.

Not only did she send City on their way to victory, but she linked up play and regularly located a team-mate, often dropping deep to collect the ball, during another impressive outing.

Where does it leave us?

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Paige Bailey-Gayle
Paige Bailey-Gayle

Bailey-Gayle came off the bench to score for City too.

City climb to the top of Group E in the FA Women’s Continental League Cup, level on three points with Birmingham City, who have also defeated Rovers so far this term, but trail Leicester on goal difference. 

Coming up…

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Jonathan Morgan
Jonathan Morgan

Morgan watches on from the sidelines at Farley Way Stadium.

The Foxes welcome Lewes to Farley Way Stadium in the FA Women’s Championship on Sunday afternoon in their third game in seven days (2pm GMT kick-off).

The details…

City: Levell; Cataldo, Tierney, Plumptre (Riglar 45’), De Graaf; Thomas (Devlin 61'), Barker (c), Blanchard (Littlejohn 74'); Smith (Paul 67'), Farrow (Bailey-Gayle 74'); Flint

Subs not used: Lambourne, Wood, Everett, Fergusson

Goals: Flint 6’, 32’, Devlin 78', Bailey-Gayle 82', McDonald (OG) 90+4'

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