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Bristol Academy 2 (Del Rio 35, Watts 79)
Lincoln Ladies 1 (Clarke 87)
A goal in each half helped Bristol Academy keep up their challenge at the top of the FA WSL and level on points with leaders Liverpool.
The Vixens were not at their best but did enough to pick up their first ever home victory over Lincoln who worked hard but are still seeking their first league win and would have been disappointed with both goals conceded.
Ann Marie Heatherson produced a good early strike for Academy which was turned away by Karen Bardsley whilst at the other end, Jess Clarke floated in a cross from the left for Carla Cantrell whose glancing header was just wide of the far post.
Laura Del Rio, making her first start since returning from a hamstring injury, tested Bardsley with a long range shot but both teams were finding it hard to break down well drilled defences at this stage.
Del Rio was again involved as Academy made their most threatening opportunity so far in the 20th minute, the Spanish striker making a good run down the right before whipping in a dangerous low cross. Heatherson, Natasha Harding and Ellie Curson all had attempts charged down as Lincoln stood firm and managed to avert the danger.
Clarke drove a shot just wide from Lauren Cresswell's pass at the other end but the deadlock was broken ten minutes before half time.
Natalia Pablos Sanchon received the ball from a throw in by the goal line and was allowed to turn and cut the ball back, her pass was missed by two Lincoln defenders and Del Rio took full advantage, firing the ball past Bardsley from six yards.
Lincoln started the second half brightly with the hard working Cantrell once again a threat up front, the striker breaking down the right and crossing for Emily Roberts who volleyed over the bar under pressure from Grace McCatty.
The Lady Imps were to go even closer two minutes later when Clarke threaded a good pass for Megan Harris who just beat the oncoming Siobhan Chamberlain to the ball and poked a shot past her but the ball rolled inches wide of the post.
Cantrell had a snap shot saved by Chamberlain but Academy, despite losing Del Rio to a recurrence of her hamstring injury, rode out the early pressure from the visitors with young midfield duo Ellie Curson and Angharad James both showing up well.
Harding was inches away from reaching a cross by Nikki Watts but the game had become largely scrappy at this stage with neither side keeping possession for any period of time.
The killer moment for Lincoln came with eleven minutes left with another sloppy goal given away. Meaghan Sargeant was dispossed by Natalia who burst into the area, her cross was not held by Bardsley and Watts was on hand to tuck the ball home from close range.
The Lady Imps did get themselves back in the game as Clarke picked up a loose ball around 25 yards from goal and drilled a superb low shot which arrowed past a diving Chamberlain and into the corner of the net.
There were no further scares for Academy though as their strong back four, in which Jaz Matthews once again excelled in the centre, confidently closed the game out for their fifth win in six matches.
Bristol Academy: Siobhan Chamberlain, Grace McCatty, Corinne Yorston, Jaz Matthews, Jemma Rose, Angharad James, Natalia Pablos Sanchon, Laura Del Rio (sub Nikki Watts 49mins), Ann Marie Heatherson (sub Alex Windell 71mins), Natasha Harding, Ellie Curson. Subs not used: Georgia Evans, Ellie Leek, Lauren Haynes, Rhian Cleverly.
Lincoln Ladies: Karen Bardsley, Martha Harris, Lauren Cresswell (sub Meaghan Sargeant 66mins), Sophie Walton, Sophie Bradley, Amy Turner, Megan Harris, Bonnie Horwood, Carla Cantrell, Emily Roberts, Jess Clarke. Subs not used: Jules Draycott, Amy Kay.
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