The Lionesses recorded their first clean sheet of the season but most importantly claimed 3 points against also unbeaten Oxford United.
Everyone knew going into this game that the game was always going to be decided by a stroke of magic and that is exactly how the deadlock was broken early on when Rianna Dean found herself out on the left hand side, the forward then played the ball back to Ella Rutherford who beat the keeper at the near post from long range. The only goal of the game sent Millwall to 3rd just one point off top and only 3rd on goal difference behind 2nd place.
Millwall's back line were superb and one of the reasons why the Lionesses won 1-0 and record their first clean sheet of the season.
Michael Avery, a friend of mine came down for the first time this season after hearing the good news so far this season and was more than impressed with the performance and the result. Michael works with the MSC doing match previews and reports for the men's and said today's game was a dominant performance by the Lionesses.
After reading some of Harry Cooper's pre and post match coverage of the Millwall Lionesses this season, I had an urging to go down to St.Pauls to experience it for myself. Was this blinkered reporting by the MSC's Lionesses correspondent or were the Lionesses really playing dominant football that he was writing about? The table seemed to agree, as the Lionesses were unbeaten in the league this season and were up against another unbeaten team in the league, Oxford United women.
Arriving to watch the Lionesses play against Oxford, I honestly did not know what to expect. We arrived just as the team were warming up and going through their drills. So far so good, with the Oxford goalie in particular looking very good plucking long and high balls out of the air, but could she do it during the game itself?
After seeing a magnificent goal from Ella Rutherford on social media, she was the player who my party had our eyes on, wondering if she would replicate that wonderful finish against Arsenal today. That being said, the player who made an instant impression was Megan Alexander. Strong in a tackle, calm on the ball and passion personified at the back. Alexander was fantastic in the first half, a stand out performer in an unbelievably tight and composed back line, which nullified the Oxford attack and the Oxford target Emily Allen perfectly.
The Lionesses passing range was something else that we admired, with Bonnie Horwood pulling the strings in the middle of the park like Geppetto playing with 11 Pinocchio's in yellow. Cool on the ball and not affected by any pressure placed on her by Oxford. Horwood was a midfield maestro calmly and effectively playing the ball around with the ease of a training match. Millwall were noticeably beaten a number of times in the air by Oxford but addressed this by playing the ball more on the floor, playing lovely football which resulted in the games only goal. Rutherford's goal in the 9th minute somehow managed to sneak in the Oxford goalkeepers near post and the Lionesses deservedly took the lead. It was a great first half of football, with another great moment being Leigh Nicol tripping over and landing face first on the turf during the warm up. I mean who put that invisible piece of thin air there?!
The second half was a lot more even with Oxford really taking it to the Lionesses. Some close chances for both sides made for an exciting game until the 60th minute when Megan Wynne came on. Wynne was outstanding from the moment she came on the pitch to the final whistle, bombing up and down the right well and linking up with the attack well and delivering some top quality crosses which the Lionesses were unlucky not to get on the end of. Wynne was unfortunate as well to concede a foul when the Oxford full back cut across her and she instantly confronted the linesman and referee arguing her case. In one word: Passion. And Wynne was displaying all of it.
Oxford came close to an equaliser until a superb save from Sarah Quantrill only resulted in an Oxford corner. It was the type of save that made everyone gasp and instinctively join in with a rapturous around of applause, if this was David De Gea in the Champions League they would be talking about that save for weeks to come.
After coming close again and rattling the woodwork, the final whistle went and the superb Lionesses were 1-0 victors. An outstanding performance from a wonderful team who made the £5 admission fee seem like a bargain of the season so far.
Although only playing 30 minutes, Megan Wynne was certainly in contention to be player of the match however Quantrill, Alexander, Hincks, Horwood or Giddings also could have taken the plaudits.
A great game and would I go again? Too right, it's Spurs in a couple of weeks, I'm not missing that.
Millwall Starting XI:
Quantrill, Alexander, Robe, Horwood (Nicol 66), Hincks, Dean, Devlin (Fowle 82), Giddings, Mason, Rutherford (Wynne 60), Cowan
Millwall subs not used: Taylor, Butler, Brooks, Wotton
Oxford Starting XI:
Lambourne, Franklin-Fraiture, Short, Yorston, Hillman, Carlton, Hines, Williams (Fyfe 79), Oliver, Chivers, Allen (Noble 76)
Oxford subs not used: Sercombe, Baker, Pickett, Colley
Big thank you to Michael Avery for his review of the game.
MSC MOTM: Megan Alexander
Megan was a warrior at the back and was part of back line today that refused to be beaten.
Highlights from today's game: