Notts County miss out on chance to go top of Continental Cup group after Bristol Academy draw

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Notts County missed out on the chance to go top of Group Three of the FA WSL Continental Cup following a battling 1-1 draw with Bristol Academy.

It had looked like the Lady Pies would be too strong for Bristol after England international Jess Clarke had put them ahead with a wonder goal during a one-sided first half.

But Academy, who hammered Oxford 9-2 in their first game, showed an improved battling spirit in the second half and levelled through Nikki Watts on 54 minutes.

Injury-hit Notts had bossed virtually the entire first half as The Vixens struggled to get out of their own territory.

But County were unable to turn possession into clear cut chances and tired during the second half as the newly energised visitors competed better in midfield and threatened on the counter attack.

The home started strong with Dunia Susi’s effort being turned against the bar by Mary Earps in the Bristol goal on six minutes.

England international Jess Clarke put Notts County ahead on 29 minutes with her seventh goal of the season with a well hit 20-yard strike.

Katie Holtham came close to doubling the home side’s lead on 45 minutes with a delicate chip which went just over.

Bristol levelled against the run of play on 54 minutes when Nikki Watts slotted home Laura Del RIo’s pass from seven yards out.

Clarke fired tamely at Earps before Jemma Rose blocked Susi’s goalbound effort from the rebound as County wasted a great chance to go back ahead on 70 minutes.

Dunia Susi and Sophie Bradley both fired over in the dying stages as the home side failed to find the winner