Shannon O'Brien

Late Chelsea Goals Inflict WSL Defeat On Foxes

LCFC Women fell to a late 2-0 Barclays FA Women’s Super League defeat on Sunday afternoon, but pushed title holders Chelsea all the way at Kingsmeadow.

Just the one change was made to the side defeated 2-0 by Tottenham Hotspur last weekend, with Natasha Flint replacing Esmee De Graaf as the Foxes once again shaped up in a 4-4-2 formation.

An early chance fell Chelsea’s way when Niamh Charles laid the ball off for Fran Kirby to try and curl it over Kirstie Levell, who was glad to see the ball drop the other side of the post and out for a goal kick.

Drew Spence then played a neat pass across for Charles to fire her own effort wide, while a Beth England header, from Magda Eriksson’s cross, was also off target.

Levell was soon keeping Fleming’s shot out and also had to divert Aniek Nouwen’s attempt away from danger after she met a Fleming free-kick. Following a long range strike from Jess Sigsworth which fell wide, City’s shot-stopper was called into action again to deal with a teasing cross from Spence.

After defending so resolutely for most of the half, a rare Foxes foray forward saw Shannon O’Brien head wide from Jemma Purfield’s deep cross shortly before the break.

The hosts remained dangerous on the attack from set pieces, however, with Fleming’s corner falling out to Blues centre back Millie Bright, whose fierce left-footed strike flashed wide of goal.

An immediate threat was posed by the home side in the second period as Bright met Andersson’s free-kick with a powerful header that Levell watched drop past the post, before Molly Pike volleyed over and O’Brien saw her shot blocked at the other end.

The closest Emma Hayes’ side came to breaking the deadlock came when Sigsworth had to hack the ball off the line after it looked as if Eriksson’s header was heading into the net.

England international forward Kirby then had a shot comfortably saved by Levell, who was also able to hold onto Fleming’s attempt after Kirby had cut the ball back across the box.

The attempts kept on coming for Chelsea, including Sophie Ingle’s deflected effort which Foxes skipper Abbie McManus was able to deflect behind, before an unbelievable save from Levell kept the scores level.

Substitute Sam Kerr looked certain to find the net with a close-range header, but Leicester’s ‘keeper made an instinctive stop to parry the ball behind.

Two substitutes combined when Guro Reiten threaded through Pernille Harder and Levell had to show great reactions to save Harder’s shot with her feet, before the Blues’ record signing then curled it wide.

A Reiten free-kick picked out Kirby, who flicked it over the crossbar, ahead of Harder left-footed volley flashing wide of the post, as the hosts piled on the pressure in the closing stages.

The resistance was finally broken on 82 minutes. Fleming’s cross was turned home by Harder, who was waiting to pounce inside the 18-yard box and made no mistake.

The second goal was harsh on City but came when Kirby raced through in the final minute of added time and coolly slotting the ball into the bottom corner.

Major moment… 

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Jess Sigsworth
Jess Sigsworth

Jess Sigsworth had City's best chance during the opening 45 minutes.

Leicester had played brilliantly to stay on level terms for much of the match and the first goal was a bitter blow. Once Pernille Harder had found the net it was always going to be extremely difficult to take anything from the game.

Who impressed?

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Kirstie Levell
Kirstie Levell

It was yet another impressive performance from Kirstie Levell between the sticks.

Goalkeeper Kirstie Levell was in inspired form yet again, making a string of fantastic saves and was close to helping the Foxes record their first point of the campaign.

Where does it leave us?

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Jemma Purfield
Jemma Purfield

Jemma Purfield battles away against Niamh Charles during the first half at Kingsmeadow.

The Foxes are 12th in the Barclays FA Women’s Super League standings, yet to get off the mark alongside Birmingham City, ahead of matchday six.

Coming up… 

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Hannah Cain
Hannah Cain

Hannah Cain puts a challenge in on Guro Reiten as Leicester looked to keep Chelsea at bay.

After the international break, LCFC Women welcome Everton to Pirelli Stadium in Burton for their opening FA Women’s Continental League Cup group stage fixture on Wednesday 3 November (7pm kick-off).

It’s a swift return to league duties after that game, with Manchester City the visitors to King Power Stadium on Sunday 7 November (2pm kick-off).

The details…

City: Levell; Brougham, McManus (c), Plumptre, Purfield; Cain, Pike, Tierney, O’Brien (De Graaf 70’); Flint (Bailey-Gayle 70’), Sigsworth (Howard 90’).

Subs not used: Lambourne, Harris, Zajmi, Brown, Robinson.

All times BST.

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