Despite an improved performance, the Bees fell to defeat at The Dripping Pan as two fortunate Rooks goals ultimately secured them the points on a blustery afternoon in Sussex.
Sian Osmond’s side fell behind in the opening five minutes in unfortunate circumstances, as a dangerous corner flicked off Evie Gane’s head and into her own net.
But Osmond’s side responded brightly and after some sustained pressure, the Bees were deservedly level, as Sophie Quirk dances through a couple of Lewes players before curling a beautiful effort into the bottom corner. It was Quirk’s first goal for the Bees and one that was richly deserved after some exceptional performances in recent weeks.
The Bees continued to pressure, but couldn’t quite muster enough chances to threaten the host’s goal, it would ultimately be the story of our afternoon, as we fell just short in the final third, in a game that had very few chances for either side.
The game with the Rooks saw 17-year-old goalkeeper Faye Hazelton made her FA Women’s Championship debut and a string of saves kept the scores level as the break approached. But her best moment was saved for stoppage time as she made three incredible reaction stops in quick succession to deny Lewes from taking a late first-half lead.
Just six minutes after the break, the hosts once again scored a goal in fortuitous circumstances as Mackey floated a cross that got caught in the wind and whistled over Hazelton and into the net.
Once again Osmond’s side rallied, as Mel Filis flashed an effort just wide of the post after some neat build-up play by the Bees. Filis went close again with 15 minutes to go, as she struck a low free-kick which was well held by the Lewes goalkeeper.
As Osmond’s side threw bodies forward, the hosts looked threatening on the counter but couldn’t beat the inspired Hazelton as she palmed away Rood’s fizzing effort from ten yards out.
Despite plenty of heart and fight, it was ultimately an afternoon that ended in despair as the Bees went back to North London empty-handed. It’s a platform for Osmond’s side to build on, as they head into another crucial away fixture, as they travel to Charlton Athletic Women on Easter Sunday.
London Bees manager Sian Osmond said: “I can’t fault the girls’ work rate and effort – they fought for every single ball and probably a little bit unlucky going forward.
“We definitely came into this game believing that we can go and get something. We have the belief for the next couple of games to try and get the points we need to survive.
“We were really pleased to get ourselves back into the game, and even tactically. I think it’s probably just looking at what we could do to try and settle ourselves into the ball a bit more so we could try and dominate possession. We wanted to get into a position to get another goal, but it didn’t quite work out.
“We got bags of talent going forward so I think it’s just that a little bit of confidence in front of goal. Hopefully, we can take that from today and take it into our remaining games.
“There are still points we need to pick up, and we need to focus on what we can do. If we can get some points over the next two games, we have to leave it up to fate in terms of what happens to teams around us but I massive believe that this group can secure our place in the Championship.”