COVENTRY City Ladies did what the men’s team could not and picked up a valuable point at home to Preston North End to extend their impressive run in all competitions to six matches.
Craig Nicholls’ side were denied their fifth successive league win after being held to a 2-2 draw at the Ricoh Arena on Sunday afternoon.
Goals from Helen Dermody and Katie Lowder cancelled out first half strikes from Laura Walker and Beth Stanifield.
The point leaves the Sky Blues sitting fourth in the Women’s Premier League Northern Division and they now sit just two points behind leaders Huddersfield Town.
“We enjoyed a superb start and during the opening 20 minutes I thought we were excellent,” said Nicholls.
“After scoring we seemed to drop off and allow Preston back in to the game which was disappointing. I think our decision making wasn’t quite up to scratch but we go again on Thursday.
“We have had a tough week in terms of fitness, with a sickness bug affecting the squad as well as injuries.
“Taking this into account it’s not all doom and gloom. We have gained another point in a competitive league and remain unbeaten since the opening day, there are plenty of positives to take.”
Playing at the Ricoh for the first time this season Nicholls’ side got off to a blistering start with Helen Dermody forcing Preston goalkeeper Danielle Brown into a smart save after just 26 seconds and Amber Hughes volleyed narrowly wide on 16 minutes.
The home side’s early dominance was rewarded two minutes later however. A slick passing move set Dermody through on goal and the midfielder was able to chip the ball over the oncoming keeper and into an empty net.
Destiney Toussaint almost doubled city’s advantage on 35 minutes but she was denied by Brown before the visitors pulled level three minutes later through a Laura Walker penalty after the striker had been pulled down inside the area.
Preston then managed to take the lead immediately after the break through a long range effort from Stanifield and it looked as though they might come away with all three points.
Nicholls’ side battled to find a way back into the match with Hughes again coming close with a dipping effort from 30 yards out but again Brown denied her with a superb save.
And when Katie Lowder fired over from close range 13 minutes from time it looked as though it was going to be one of those days.
But with 11 minutes remaining the Sky Blues found a second half breakthrough to earn a point.
Dermody was denied a superb second goal of the game when her shot from distance struck the bar but frustration turned into delight seconds with Lowder reacting first to head the rebound home from six yards out.
The Sky Blues will be looking to put more pressure on the leading pack when they host Sporting Club Albion tonight (Thursday).