WC: Lewes v Bristol City
Bristol City earn a 1-0 win on a cold night at The Dripping Pan
3 March 2023
Shania Hayles scored the only goal of the game as Bristol City won 1-0 away at Lewes and moved to the top of the Women’s Championship on Wednesday evening.
Scott Booth named the same starting eleven for Lewes from their 6-1 win over Cardiff City in the FA Cup at the weekend. They would line up in what looked like a 3-5-2 formation with Rebecca McKenna and Nat Johnson playing as wing-backs.
Bristol City went into the match knowing a draw or win would move them ahead of London City Lionesses and into top spot. Lauren Smith made four changes from their 8-1 defeat to Manchester City in the cup with Abi Harrison, Hayles, Jodie Hutton and Vicky Bruce all coming into the side.
On a cold but dry evening at The Dripping Pan, Bristol City’s Grace Clinton had the first effort at goal in the 6th minute but her free kick was easily claimed by Lewes’ goalkeeper Sophie Whitehouse. Ellie Mason, who had scored four against Cardiff, had Lewes’ first chance in the 13th minute but her shot from the edge of the area went over.
Whitehouse made another save in the 22nd minute to keep out Emily Syme’s effort. Mason cut in from the left-hand side in the 28th minute but her curling shot was caught by the Robins keeper Fran Bentley. A minute later, Rachel Furness’ shot from distance went wide for the visitors.
Lewes captain Rhian Cleverly was just unable to finish a dangerous Paula Howells cross at the far post in the 33rd minute. A couple of minutes later, Bristol City had a similar chance but Hayles wasn’t able to get a touch on a good cross from Harrison in front of goal.
Gracie Pearce sent a shot side for the visitors, then Kirsty Barton made a vital block on the line to deny Hayles. Lewes had the final chance before half time but Emma Thompson was unable to get her head on a cross, and the first half finished goalless.
Hayles fired a shot over the crossbar in the 47th minute as the Robins had the first chance of the second half. Furness had their next chance in the 50th minute but she sent an effort from 18-yards just wide. Furness had another opportunity four minutes later but her header across goal was cleared.
The pressure was growing on Lewes now and Bristol City won a succession of corners. From one of these, Vicky Bruce saw a header cleared off the line by Mason in the 57th minute.
It felt like a goal was coming for the visitors and indeed they took the lead a minute later. Following another corner which was cleared off the line, the ball finished up with Harrison whose touch found Hayles and she finished low into the corner of the net from 6-yards.
Lewes’ first chance of the half came in the 61st minute but Amber-Keegan Stobbs’ effort was saved.
Bristol City continued to look dangerous from corners with one being scrambled clear in the 68th minute, and then Bruce seeing her header from another one saved by Whitehouse a few minutes later.
Lewes did have a couple of chances to equalise with Howells shooting over after being played through by Stobbs in the 77th minute. Then in the 84th minute, Kenzie Weir saw an effort saved by Bentley.
The final chance of the game came the visitors way deep into stoppage time when Whitehouse made a good save to deny Jesse Woolley.
The win sees Bristol City move three points clear of London City Lionesses at the top of the Championship with both having played the same number of games. On Sunday, Lewes take on Sunderland at home and Bristol City travel to Hayes Lane to play Crystal Palace.
Lewes (3-5-2): Whitehouse, Stobbs, Cleverly (c), Barton, McKenna, Hazard, Wardlaw, Howells, Johnson, Thompson (Pursey 84’), Mason (Weir 76’)
Unused substitutes: Moore, Palmer, Rita, Heria, Copus-Brown, Longhurst, Mushtaq
Bristol City (4-3-3): Bentley (c), Powell, Pearce, Layzell, Bruce, Clinton, Syme, Furness (Woolley 65’), Harrison, Hayles, Hutton (Morgan 65’)
Unused substitutes: Clark, Cataldo, C. Bull, Wilde, Teisar, Ward
Goal – Hayles 58’
Booked – Hutton, Powell
Referee – Chloe-Ann Small
Attendance - 367