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City Women claim point against Leicester in opening round of Continental Cup

Two second-half goals from debutant Lucy Graham saw Tanya Oxtoby’s side come from behind twice to draw 2-2 and claim a point after ninety minutes. However, Leicester took home an extra point after a 4-2 penalty shoot-out win. 

Due to new competition regulations, all Continental Cup group fixtures now go straight to penalties if the two sides are drawing at full-time, giving teams the chance to bag an extra point if they win the shootout. 

Leicester started the brighter of the two sides and took a surprise early lead to shock City Women. Rosie Axten was played in behind Dykes and she picked up her head to find Johnson in the middle, who tapped in from 5 yards out to put the hosts 1-0 up inside a minute.

Bristol looked to respond and applied immediate pressure on the Leicester goal through debutant, Ayane, who saw her curling effort tipped round the post by goalkeeper, Clarke. From the resulting corner, Danique Kerkdijk had a half chance, but the Dutch international couldn’t steer her header towards the Leicester goal.

After a frantic opening twenty minutes, the game settled and chances came few and far between. The best chance fell to Leicester forward, Ayisi on thirty-five minutes, who saw her effort smash off the crossbar and then hooked clear by the Bristol City Women defence.

City Women came out fighting in the second-half and dominated their opponents in the opening twenty minutes. There was a shout for a penalty as Dykes was pulled back on the edge of the area, but the referee had adjudged the foul to be outside the area. 

Oxtoby’s side did not have to wait long to get their penalty though. Biesmans slipped a delightful through-ball to new arrival Kemppi, who was taken down by centre-back, Morgan. Lucy Graham stepped up and sent the keeper the wrong way to level the scores.

Leicester snatched the lead back on the seventy-five minute mark through substitute Domingo, who’s curling effort was just out of reach of the out-stretched arm of Baggaley.

Graham then levelled the scores yet again with only four minutes of normal time left. Evans’ floated corner made it to the unmarked Graham at the back post, where the Scottish international struck the ball on the volley and rifled it in to the top corner past the helpless Clarke.

With the game in deadlock after ninety minutes, a penalty shootout took place to determine who would take home a valuable extra point.

Leicester were successful with all of their attempts and unfortunately, Humphrey and Brown saw their efforts saved by Clarke, giving the hosts the extra point.