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London Bees v Brighton and Hove Albion Women - FA Women’s Continental League Cup

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Lasses Match Preview: Sunderland face London City Lionesses in today’s live-streamed game!

The Lasses finally return to FA Women’s Championship action today away in Kent at London City Lionesses. We’ve all the build up you need to make the most of this 2pm KO.

Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

Sunday 16th January 2022

London City Lionesses v Sunderland AFC Ladies

FA Women’s Championship

Dartford FC, Princes Park, Grass Banks, Dartford, Kent, DA1 1RT

Kick-Off: 14:00


Tickets & Match Coverage

Tickets: Adults £8, Concessions (Under 18s, Over 65s) £4. Book here, or pay on the gate

Travel: The ground is just off Junction 1b on the M25, and a 20-minute walk from Dartford station. Regular overground trains run from London Bridge.

Coverage: This game will be streamed live for free on the FA Player from shortly before kickoff at 2pm.

Highlights: All the action will be on the FA Player from Monday, including highlights and a full match replay.

Podcast: The Roker Report Lasses Podcast Live will be broadcast live again on Monday 8.30-9.30pm on Twitter Spaces - and it’s now recorded too. Listen in live and join the discussion, or listen back afterwards. Last Monday’s edition is still available.


The build-up...

After two cancelled games in a row, Sunderland return to action this afternoon for the first time in over a month. The Lasses have taken the opportunity to put in the work on the training pitch in what must have felt like a mini pre-season routine over the last couple of weeks.

Jess Brown was back in training in the new year, there are no new covid-19 cases that we’re aware of and Grace McCatty will be back in the starting eleven for certain as Charlotte Potts who is due to join Swiss outfit FF Lugano at the end of the month, has left the club with immediate effect.

Mel Reay gave her regular pre-match briefing to Phil Smith of the Echo on Friday evening, and was confident that we can get at least a point in today’s game:

They’ve got some good players, good experience. It’s going to be tough but it’s who turns up on the day and we’ve seen that a lot this season. I think we’ve only been beaten once on the road this season so we want to take that into Sunday. We’re not happy if we don’t take something from any game, so we’ll all be geared to bring something back ahead of another long trip away to Lewes the weekend after.

London City impressed many Sunderland fans when they came up to Eppleton and won two-nil in early November, and sit third in the league on 19 points, two points behind Durham with a game in hand.

They’re in the same boat as Sunderland in terms of preparations for the game, their match against Watford last week was cancelled and this is their first game of the calendar year. Manager Melissa Phillips spoke about her squad's preparations to the club’s official website this week:

I couldn’t have been prouder of the way that the group prepared, because despite injuries, Covid circumstances, uncertainties with the weather, and the pitch, we continued to add to our game prepare for the match ahead as normal.

We just finished our pre-match Zoom call in preparation to head out to Watford, then we got right back on the call and told everyone it was off. But there’s nothing we can do about that, it’s in the past now, and we keep moving forward together.


The Stats...

The numbers say it’s going to be another hard game for the Lasses but we should be competitive, underlining once again there are no easy fixtures in the Championship this season.

London City Lionesses are really strong at home, with an average 2.5 PPG in their four games so far at Dartford this season. They score at a decent rate too, with 2.75 goals per game and their finishing is great too, as this is above their xG of 1.52 in home matches.

Their top scorer is Rhianna Jarrett, who netted late on at Eppleton in the return fixture earlier in the season, with four goals and Karin Muya leads their assist charts with three so far.

Defensively, they’re pretty mean both home and away, conceding a goal a game and ahve an xGA of less than one.

Sunderland, meanwhile, are generally better away from home than when playing at the Stadium of Light or Eppleton. We’ve won 40% of our games on the road, scoring an average of a goal a game and conceding at a rate of less than a goal a game.

Our xG is the same on the road as it is in the north east, 0.86, and is almost identical to our xGA.

It all adds up to explain why Footystats.org has London City as narrow favourites for this one.


League Form... (home and away)

Sunderland AFC Ladies - LWLDL

London City Lionesses - WLWWL


Head to head...

(All venues, all competitions, including friendlies - London City Lionesses & Millwall Lionesses)

Played - 3

Sunderland Wins - 2

Draws - 0

Lionesses Wins - 1

Sunderland Goals - 8

Lionesses Goals - 2


Last time out...

Sunderland 0-2 London City Lionesses

Girasoli 4’, Jarrett 88’

7 November 2021, Eppleton CW

Photo by Graeme Field

One to watch... Mollie Rouse

Midfielder Mollie Rouse is perhaps the most high-profile name on their roster of players, having featured in the BT Sports documentary ‘Ultimate Goal’ where she trained in front of the cameras at St Georges Park with the input from some of the top players and coaches in Europe.

This was part of a drive to rebuild her career in England following a disappointing spell in the USA with Louisville Cardinals, but she made the switch to the University of Central Florida where she was played in her natural position, and she eventually graduated in 2020.

Rouse had first came to prominence as part of a midfield due with Georgia Stanway for England in the Under 20 World Cup in 2018, where she won a bronze medal, and all this experience makes her one of the most influential players in the FA Women’s Championship.

Speaking to the club’s website, Rouse was positive about the build-up ahead of today:

It’s been a while since we’ve been on the pitch together but, we’ve had more time on the pitch putting in the strategies and working together and finding our identity in all different areas.

You can never complain about training and preparing as much as we have. So, there are positives and negatives and we’re just raring to go as a team and ready to push on and get a game under our belts.

London City Lionesses v Sheffield United Women - Barclays FA Women’s Championship
Mollie Rouse of London City Lionesses runs with the ball during the Barclays FA Women’s Championship between London City Lionesses and Sheffield United Women at Princes Park on November 14, 2021 in Dartford, England.
Photo by Jacques Feeney - The FA/The FA via Getty Images

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