Five days after Lincoln City’s relegation from the Football League, Lincoln Ladies were unable to atone for the men’s failings after slipping to a 1-0 defeat at home to Chelsea.
The lady Imps were playing their second of four scheduled league games at Sincil Bank in the FA Women’s Super League where Chelsea provided the opposition on a bright Thursday evening.
The reverse fixture at Chelsea’s Tootham and Mitcham ground ended all square last month after Carla Cantrell’s first-half opener was cancelled out by Sophie Perry’s headed equaliser. The Blues sat third in the table prior to this fixture while the Lady Imps sat second bottom with just one win this season.
Manager Rod Wilson named an unchanged side to the one that returned home from Liverpool with a 1-0 win and all 3 points on Sunday. New signing Rachel Furness had to settle for a place on the substitute’s bench after only completing her move from Sunderland today.
Lincoln Ladies got the game underway but the first chance fell to the visitors when Drew Spence lashed a shot yards over Nicola Hobbs’ crossbar on 10 minutes. But Lincoln responded well and a minute later Lucy Staniforth’s speculative set-piece was comfortably gathered by Carly Telford at the other end.
Telford was forced into another save on the quarter hour mark this time from Leandra Little. The striker took advantage of a mix up in the Chelsea defence but shot straight at the Blues ‘keeper from an acute angle.
A relatively drab first half hour almost burst into life after Sue Smith’s series of step overs almost led to a goal. However, her shot across the face of goal could not be steered goal-wards by the onrushing Jess Clarke.
The first forty-five petered out with neither side managing to grab a foothold in the game. Both sides re-emerged from the break but rather like the first the second half began in typically dull fashion.
But the game did get the goal it so craved on the hour mark but unfortunately for Lincoln’s Ladies it came at the opposite end. After Megan Harris tripped a blue shirt about 30 yards from goal Danni Buet’s fairly tame free-kick eluded the Imps wall and nestled in Hobbs’ bottom corner.
Minutes later the West Londoners should have doubled their advantage but Gemma Bonner’s header fell agonisingly past the post after another inviting Chelsea centre.
Furness made her league bow for the Lady Imps coming on for Sue Smith in the 64th minute but the visitors continued to hold the upper hand with Bonner going close again from a goalmouth melee inside the last ten minutes.
In the dying embers of the game, tempers started to flare a little with Chelsea’s Leanne Champ cautioned for going over the top in a challenge with Sophie Bradley in the 85thminute.
The home side thought they had snatched a late winner approaching the 90 minute mark when Bradley’s long throw found an unmarked Lucy Staniforth but her flicked header dropped just wide of the far upright.
Chelsea withstood some heavy Imps pressure during stoppage time but after Mel Sutcliffe’s ambitious attempt flew over the referee called time on proceedings.
Rod Wilson side have now failed to score in five of their seven games and the manager bemoaned his side’s killer instinct in front of goal and admitted this is something that will be addresses during the break.
He said: “That’s got to be the priority, I think we are pretty well organised [and]our shape was good tonight they didn’t really have a chance apart from that free-kick which wasn’t a real chance.
“But we’ve got to make some more chances and also we’ve got to have somebody in there to finish them, someone that really wants to get in there and finish goals off.”
Casey Stoney signed for Lincoln Ladies from Chelsea in March and admits the club will come back after the break fighting although they could do with more firepower upfront.
She said: “We’ll work harder than ever so when we come back in the second half of the season we’re ready and raring to go.”
“I think we are a couple of players short and I know rod is going to go out there and look and try and sign a couple. We’re probably a striker short but that’s why they get paid the most money because you can’t buy them,”
“There’s not many in women’s football and I’m sure he’ll look hard to get one and if we can get one of those we’re not far off,” she added.
The result means the Ladies remain above basement side Liverpool in 7th place in the FA WSL after four defeats, two draws and one victory so far this campaign. A mid-season break will now commence as the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup takes precedence and the Lady Imps will resume league action in early July.Tweet