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Lincoln Ladies 1 (Cantrell 54) Birmingham City 2 (Lawley 32,47)
Two wonderfully taken goals from Melissa Lawley steered Birmingham City to a deserved victory over Lincoln Ladies at a blustery Sincil Bank.
The talented midfielder scored either side of half time to ease the Blues into a two-goal advantage. Lady Imps striker Carla Cantrell pulled one back for the hosts on 54 minutes and despite a spirited fight back, Birmingham clung on for a vital win.
Jo Potter saw her curling 35-yard free kick superbly tipped over by Lincoln shot stopper Karen Bardsley after just three minutes. Lincoln responded with a free kick of their own moments later when skipper Casey Stoney rattled the bar from the edge of the area.
Bardsley was forced into action again on twelve minutes when, following a flowing move, Kirsty Linnett cut inside and drew the home goalkeeper into a fine save.
The deadlock was broken in style on 32 minutes. Lawley picked up the ball just inside the Lincoln half and, after being allowed to run and run, unleashed a sublime curling effort into the top right corner from 20 yards.
Lawley showed perfect composure soon after the break to double the lead. A long punt forward on 47 minutes was expertly controlled by the winger in acres of space, before she calmly slotted the ball past a helpless Bardsley.
To their credit, the Lady Imps continued to fight hard and halved the deficit seven minutes later. A perfectly weighted ball by Lillie Fenlon-Billson was poked home by onrushing strike partner Carla Cantrell - much to the delight of the home faithful.
The hosts huffed and puffed but failed to create any clear cut chances as Birmingham hung on to move five points clear of their opponents in the table.
Lincoln Ladies: Karen Bardsley, Lara Fay, Martha Harris, Sophie Walton, Casey Stoney, Sophie Bradley, Lillie Fenlon-Billson (sub Rachel Lee 68mins), Emily Roberts (sub Courtney Sweetman-Kirk 45mins), Carla Cantrell (sub Aileen Whelan 68mins), Remi Allen, Jess Clarke. Subs not used: Jules Draycott, Bonnie Horwood, Meaghan Sargeant.
Birmingham City: Rebecca Spencer, Chelsea Weston, Hannah George (sub Laura Bassett 71mins), Jade Moore, Kerys Harrop, Emily Westwood (sub Karen Carney 63mins), Issy Christiansen, Katie Wilkinson (sub Rachel Williams 63mins), Kirsty Linnett, Melissa Lawley, Jo Potter. Subs not used: Emily Simpkins, Cristina Torkildsen, Mary Earps, Coral Haines.
(Report by www.fawsl.com)
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