Rovers Ladies were left to rue missed chances as London City Lionesses triumphed 2-1 in the final home game of 2019, despite a dominant second-half performance from the Blues.
Saffron Jordan’s sixth goal of the season had Rovers ahead, but the Lionesses hit back straight away via Freda Ayisi and then won the game late on thanks to Flo Fyfe’s strike, after a host of Rovers chances went begging.
It was an entertaining opening 45 minutes at Bamber Bridge, and while the Lionesses were threatening throughout the half, Rovers also proved dangerous on the break.
Harley Bennet, Ayisi and Hannah Short all fired off target for the visitors before Levi Chambers-Cook almost broke the deadlock at the other end, only for a deflection to take her low shot the wrong side of the post.
The opener came soon after. Natasha Fenton did brilliantly keeping the ball in play and cross for Jordan to turn the ball home after a defensive mix-up.
Rovers’ lead would last all of 60 seconds as the visitors went straight up the other end to equalise. Ayisi exchanged a one-two with Vanessa Susanna before firing into the bottom corner.
That gave the Lionesses momentum and they could have gone in front had Ayisi’s strike landed a few inches lower.
The second-half was a completely different game. Rovers were dominant, creating all the chances, but just couldn’t find the back of the net.
Fenton headed Jess Holbrook’s corner onto the roof of the net before Player of the Match Lauren Thomas forced her namesake Lucy Thomas into a diving save, after exchanging a one-two with Saffron Jordan.
The two combined again effectively but Jordan couldn’t quite find the target with her effort at the end of a flowing Rovers move.
Lionesses keeper Thomas then produced another smart save to keep out substitute Natasha Flint, as Gemma Donnelly’s side continued to pile on the pressure.
But failure to find the net again proved costly. Fyfe stabbed the ball home with just 10 minutes remaining to give London City a late lead against the run of play.
Rovers had a penalty shout five minutes from time when Flint’s shot appeared to strike an arm in the area, but the referee waved away the appeals to end the home side’s chances of getting something out of the game.
Next up for Rovers is Wednesday evening’s trip to Aston Villa in the Continental Cup.
ROVERS: Stenson (GK), Jukes, Taylor, Holbrook, Fenton, Jordan (C), Lord-Mears, McDonald, Thomas, Chambers-Cook (Flint 65), Stewart.
Unused subs: Perry (GK), Pacitto, Redman, Montgomery.
Referee: Emily Carney