After a season of real mixed emotion here is a look back on the Millwall Lionesses 2017/18 season. MIIIIIIIIIIIIII
After the spring series Millwall were once again wrote off but started in fine style as they started with a 3-1 home win against local rivals Watford. The visitors took the lead early on but goals from Billie Brooks, Leanne Cowan and Ella Rutherford ensured the side from South London claimed all 3 points.
PLD: 1 W: 1 D: 0 L: 0 GF: 3 GA: 1
Doncaster, one of the favourites for the title rushed in to a 2 goal lead in the Lionesses next game but slipped up as Charlie Devlin and Ashlee Hincks secured a point on the first day of October. Brighton then followed a week later and back on home turf the Lionesses picked up a memorable 3 points as they came out 4-3 winners. A game that had it all but an important 3 points for the Lionesses. The Lionesses then played their first game in the WSL cup as they played opening day opposition Watford up at their place. The Lionesses suffered their first defeat after a dubious free kick was awarded as Watford ran out 1-0 winners. After a few weeks off the Lionesses were back in action in the league and Charlie Devlin was on hand to score an absolute peach as the Lionesses came from behind to beat London Bees 3-2 wrapping up October in style.
PLD: 4 W: 2 D: 1 L: 1 GF: 9 GA: 8
November started with the big clash against Arsenal on the 1st. A resilient performance saw the Lionesses hold Arsenal to 2-2 for 75 minutes but the second gear of Arsenal was enough as they netted 3 inside the last 15 minutes to run out convincing winners in the cup. The Lionesses then played London Bees on the Sunday and picked up their first 3 points in the cup as they once again come from 2 goals down to record an impressive 4-3 victory at the Hive. In between all of these games the upsetting news was announced that the Lionesses were to be deducted 3 points for an admin error in their first game of the season against Watford. The final game of November saw the Lionesses gain another 3 points in the league as a long range drive from Ella Rutherford on the 12th minute was enough to keep the Lionesses unbeaten in the league and end Oxford's one.
PLD: 3 W: 2 D: 0 L: 1 GF: 7 GA: 8
December started with the final WSL cup match for the Lionesses as an impressive Reading side put 5 past the Lionesses without reply as Reading and Arsenal booked their place in the next round. After Spurs was postponed, this turned out to be the only game in the month for the Lionesses.
PLD: 1 W: 0 D: 0 L: 1 GF: 0 GA: 5
January saw Millwall play 3 home games and gain 9 points. The first saw them turn over a very physical Sheffield side 2-1 before a week later convincingly beating Spurs 4-1 on what was a very cold Sunday afternoon. Late goals ensured the Lionesses made the result look pretty. With another week off the Lionesses had to ensure they prepared for the test of Durham and did so well after another 2-1 win. Despite Durham showing their quality in periods of the game they were unable to pose any real threat ensuring it was a successful month for the Lionesses.
PLD: 3 W: 3 D: 0 L: 0 GF: 8 GA: 3
The FA cup returned in the month of February as the Lionesses started off the month in the fourth round at home to 3rd tier side Coventry United. The Lionesses showed their quality as they recorded a 4-1 win with Rianna Dean getting an impressive hat trick. The Lionesses were then on the road as they visited Villa, a tough first half but two individual moments of excellence from Charlie Devlin was enough to secure all 3 points for the Lionesses. Arsenal were the opponents again but this time in the FA Cup, the home side were very dominant throughout the game but for some brave defending by the Lionesses, Arsenal edged through 1-0. The FA cup hangover was clear as Millwall struggled to break down a London Bees side who had been vulnerable at the back on the Wednesday after. Rianna Dean secured a point for the Lionesses as the unbeaten run in the league continued.
PLD: 4 W: 2 D: 1 L: 1 GF: 7 GA: 3
Just the one game in March as away game to Oxford. Despite only the one game, it did have 6 goals! The Lionesses picked up 3 more points on the road as they edged closer in the title run in. 4 very well taken goals was enough for the Lionesses despite Oxford fighting back and trying to make a good account of themselves.
PLD: 1 W: 1 D: 0 L: 0 GF: 4 GA: 2
April started off in probably the worst case possible. Just 24 hours before the Lionesses were due to host Villa, a club statement announced that the club had a fear that they were going into admin and were unsure if they could complete the season. A Crowdfunding page was set up with an initial target of £10,000. Millwall fans all over showed just how much of a great club we are as the target was hit just before kick off the next day! An emotional game for the Lionesses ended emotionally as well, A last minute winner from 40 yards from Leighanne Robe secured a dramatic 2-1 win. The Lionesses not only had to deal with matter son the pitch but also had to try and avoid getting involved in matters off the pitch. With such a quick turn of games Durham finally ended Millwall's unbeaten run in the league with a 2-1 win up north. Over a year it lasted an impressive run by an impressive side. Despite the first defeat Millwall were not to let this affect them as they bounced straight back and tore apart Watford 4-0 away from home to end the month of April on a more positive note.
PLD: 3 W: 2 D: 0 L: 1 GF: 7 GA: 3
The final month consisted of 4 games, 3 away from home. The first saw the Lionesses pick up a point away to Spurs. A Billie Brooks finish was enough to secure a point as the Lionesses aimed to end the season well. Despite this the Lionesses suffered their heaviest defeat in the league all season as they lost 3-0 to Sheffield away from home. With the title already won before kick off Doncaster went into Millwall's final home game of the season in party mood and after a lucky deflection the visitors inflicted another defeat to Millwall as top of the table won 1-0. So one more game left and nothing but pride to play for the Lionesses roared and tore apart a very good Brighton side 3-0. A professional performance from the Lionesses as they went out with a bang!
PLD: 4 W: 1 D: 1 L: 2 GF: 4 GA: 5
A big thank you to the Lionesses for what was a terrific season and hopefully more to come next season.
Before even ball was kicked we sponsored 3 of the Lionesses (Ellie, Megan and Sarah) after all 3 had an impressive season and big parts to play, read what the 3 of them have had to say about the season as a whole.
2017-18 what a season to remember!!! We have always been the underdog and on the back of a great spring series we continued to succeed! Nineteen games unbeaten setting a new record! Holding our own against teams like Arsenal in cup games and truly playing together as a team. We came further by working together and the faith and belief we had as a team proved we could do just as well as the full time clubs in WSL2 . This is a season to be proud of and one I will always remember
It’s very hard to sum up this season as it’s been one to remember. When we first started we just wanted to be the best we could be and carry on our form from the spring series. We went into every game wanting to win and being hard to play against. Coming into the team this season I could tell straight away this team was special. From day 1 I have felt part of this family and like I’ve been here for years. We were on the same mission and had this work ethic that teams struggled to break down. This was evident early on when we came back from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 with Doncaster away. We grew from strength to strength and picked up maximum points all the way up to Christmas and even though we didn’t enjoy going behind we never gave up and turned the games around in our favour.
After Christmas we continued our good form and picked up more wins against tough teams such as Sheffield, Durham and Tottenham. We progressed through the FA cup and got ourselves an exciting draw against Arsenal. I believe in this game we showed WSL1 what we were capable of and not only pushed arsenal but challenged them all the way. To have arsenal fans make comments after the game saying we challenged them just like other WSL1 teams did was a credit to all the players and staffs hard work. We went into a long break still challenging for the title and pushing Doncaster all the way.
As everyone is aware shortly after the break the club announced we were in money problems and a significant amount of debt, and the club was unsure if they could continue and carry on. This came as a big shock to all of us and I can’t explain the impact it had on the team and staff. To work so hard for something and then to have it potentially taken away from us was heartbreaking. As players and staff we agreed to carry on the season for free because we wanted to finish off what we started, and because millwall teams don’t give up. All the money that was donated from fans, parents, friends and fellow players was incredible and I know as a team we were very touched by the amount of support we received, honestly we couldn’t thank you all enough for what you have done for us.
Beating Aston Villa the day after the news broke out was one of my favourite results because everything off the pitch was uncertain but we went out on the pitch and showed the world and all the presenters/fans/TV that we are team and we won’t give up. We did shortly lose our 19 game and a year unbeaten run after this and also dropped more points against Sheffield and Doncaster. However as a team and squad we always gave it our best and tried hard to not let off the pitch issues effect our game.
Overall I’m incredibly proud of everyone involved with the club for the season we have achieved. With both firsts and development teams finishing 3rd in their leagues is incredible and our best ever finish’s and points tally. I’ve personally loved every minute with the team and I’ve made friends and memories for life. Who knows without the points deduction and money issues, we could have gone all the way.
What a season it’s been. We’ve had many highs and lows but one high has to be going over a year unbeaten. It wasn’t long ago that we were struggling to win games and battling for last place. This year we’ve challenged for the top two and I think we could of secured second place if it wasn’t for recent events, which I think affected us more than we let on. The girls and the staff have worked so hard to get to this point as you can tell by some of our results. We didn’t make things easy for ourselves in most of our games to be honest but a highlight has to be the win over Aston Villa at home where Robey got the last minute winner. It just showed how much believe we had in each other to get the result in the end. Also to get a good win and a clean sheet in the final game of the season you couldn’t ask for a better finish.
Finally thank you to Potts who’s stuck with us through all the highs and lows over the last few years. I don’t know how she’s put up with all the abuse she gets at nearly every training session. She’s a top coach and a top person. Good luck for the future.
Well that's it.. a season complete and what a season it has been... Onto the next season now. A big thank you to all the players and staff that have been interviewed and replied to our messages to help us out! A massive thank you to Ellie, Megan and Sarah for being invloved with the MSC in the write ups etc...