The Foxes’ No.20 came up with the goods once again to hand the Foxes a 1-0 win over Crystal Palace on an extremely chilly Thursday evening at Hayes Lane.
Five changes were made to the side that beat Sheffield United 2-1 last weekend, with Sophie Howard, Esmee De Graaf, Lia Cataldo, Freya Thomas and Lachante Paul coming into the side.
Despite beating the Eagles 4-1 in the league fixture in Bromley earlier this season, it was City’s opponents who created an early opportunity to take the lead, as Bianca Baptiste headed across goal for Ashleigh Goddard, but she couldn’t find the target.
At the other end, Flint’s long-range effort went narrow wide of the post, taking a deflection on its way, before Howard headed over from Paul’s resulting corner. Then, after combining with Paul, Flint tested Emma Gibbon in the Palace goal, who held on to the effort.
The visitors kept up the pressure when Paul tried her luck, cutting the ball onto her left foot and curling it past the far post. Few chances followed before the break, though Sam Tierney did find Flint, but she fired wide, opting to shoot first time.
Immediately after the restart, Leicester threatened through Paul latching onto a loose ball and firing across goal, but wide. Liv Fergusson then crossed for Remi Allen who failed to divert her header on target, while free-kicks from Siobhan Wilson’s and Ashlee Hincks did little to trouble Kirstie Levell from long range.
However, as the second half wore on, opportunities became more frequent for the visitors. Tierney kept a corner alive at the back post and found Flint, who tried to cleverly flick the ball home, only for Gibbon to pounce. When Paul got into another shooting position soon after, there was no way past Gibbon, who continued to thwart the Foxes.
Flint then sliced a left-footed strike over the crossbar, before turning Paul’s cross wide of goal, while Hannah Cain, on as a substitute with 25 minutes remaining, struck a sweet volley that landed into the arms of Gibbon, who appeared unbeatable.
Another Leicester substitute, Charlie Devlin, also went close, volleying wide of the far post as the chances continued to pile up. With just under five minutes to go, Cain’s cross caused panic in the area but Allen could not find a way through as the clock ticked towards full-time.
The goal Leicester’s dominance deserved finally came in the last minute of normal time. A cleverly worked free-kick saw Allen feint passing to her right before quickly switching to lay it off to her left, setting up City’s top goalscorer, Flint, to rifle the ball into the top corner with her left foot and snatch victory for the Foxes.
With the tie looking set to head…
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