Birmingham City Ladies boss David Parker praised the impact of Eni Aluko after the England striker came off the bench to secure her side a point at Lincoln Ladies.
Aluko fired home a sumptuous volley midway through the second half just eight minutes after coming off the bench.
Precious Hamilton put the Lady Imps in front after 10 minutes with clever finish before Karen Carney’s glancing header made it 1-1 before the break.
The home side retook the lead four minutes into the second half when Remi Allen scored from the penalty spot after Jess Clarke had been bundled over.
But Aluko had the final say when she fired home from the edge of the box. The same player then almost won it late on, but Lincoln keeper Nicola Hobbs produced a fine save.
Parker said: “To bring someone of Eni’s quality off the bench makes a real difference in games like this. I was thrilled with that.
“We had Isobel Christiansen on the bench too, another quality player. Hopefully that extra strength in depth will come into play over the season.
“Overall, it was probably a fair result, but it was disappointing we didn’t come away with the three points.”
Birmingham and Lincoln finished second and fourth respectively last season and both look equipped to challenge for honours again in 2012.
Like his opposite number, Lady Imps boss Glen Harris was disappointed not claim all three points, particularly after taking the lead twice.
He said: “We should have taken the three points and I think we did enough to deserve them.
“But Birmingham are a tough team who are going to be up there, so to come away with a point against a big, physical side is a positive to build on.
“It’s a good foundation for us. If we’d taken a point early on last season then we would have been up and amongst it. That’s where we want to be.”
Lincoln (4-4-2): Hobbs; Daly, Sargent, Stoney, Walton; Staniforth, Megan Harris, McCallum (McCallum 58), Allen; Clarke, Hamilton.
Subs not used: Horwood, Barker, Martha Harris, Cantrell.
Red cards: None
Birmingham (4-4-2): Spencer; Unit, Bassett, Westwood, Weston; Harrop (Christiansen 60), Potter, Moore (Aluko 60) , Carney, Taylor, Williams.
Subs not used: Hourihan, Torkildsen.
Red cards: None
Ref: Stephen Ross
The Women’s Sports Magazine