The Lionesses slipped to defeat against South London rivals Charlton on Sunday 4-2.
The hosts came into this game needing a response after last weeks 5-0 hammering to Lewes while the Lionesses were set to play their first ever competitive game together after the massive recruitment over the summer.
It was the hosts who started the brighter, dominating the ball in the midfield early on and creating half chances in which they feel they could have done slightly better on. Gabby Ravenscroft for the Lionesses showed her high work rate up top, putting pressure on the Charlton defence and causing trouble at the back as Millwall looked to get a firm grip on the game.
The hosts pressure continued and went ahead after Kit Graham picked up the ball on the edge of the box before lashing it past Grace Taylor to give the hosts the lead. The response from Millwall was much better with Lucy Fitzgerald offering as good support on the right hand side and Lia Cataldo making good runs through the middle of the park.
After constant fight back from the Lionesses they were finally level when Gabby Ravenscroft managed to find space on the edge of the box before smashing the ball past Startup in goal to level the game once again. The Lionesses had built momentum and were becoming more in control of the game with only 5 minutes to go until the break.
The Lionesses hadn't finished there and eventually turned the game on it's head when more hard work from Gabby Ravenscroft allowed her to get inside the 18 yard box before the striker looked up and saw an unmarked Evie Clarke who couldn't miss from close range. Clarke made it 2-1 to the Lionesses on the brink of half time. A very good end to the first half for the Lionesses after a slow start.
Just like the first half the Lionesses started slow again and not long after kick off we were level again after good work from Gemma Bryan down the left hand side allowed Kit Graham to easily finish it off inside the 6 yard box to bring the hosts back on level terms and to add more tension to the cup tie.
After Kit Graham's second of the day, Charlton found their rhythm again and could have made it 3 if Charlotte Gurr had been a bit more accurate with her shot from inside the box. The rain was heavy at VCD athletic and the slippery conditions were playing a huge part on the attacking front.
Charlton made it 3 on the hour after good work down the right allowed Ellie Bailes to find space before putting the ball past Grace Taylor and into the Millwall goal. The addicks lead again and had half an hour to hang on to ensure all 3 points. Not long later Graham could have made it 4 when her long range effort was well stopped by Taylor, No signs of letting up by Charlton as they looked for a fourth.
Chances for both sides then started to flow as Bryan had a good opportunity for Charlton but the striker failed to convert from close range before Beth Lumsden for Millwall then had a long range effort but couldn't get the ball on target and failed to test Katie Startup in the Charlton goal.
The fourth goal eventually came with 7 minutes to go, Gemma Bryan sealed the win when her quick feet inside the 18 yard box allowed her to shimmy away before curling a low effort into the far corner to give the hosts a two goal lead and all but ensure that the addicks would take 3 points from this Continental Cup game.
The Lionesses remained positive and Evie Clarke could have had a second but her long range attempt over the keeper fell just wide of he target. The ref blew the whistle and it was defeat for the Lionesses. A spirited performance from Millwall but it was Charlton who take all the points on what was a very horrible day in terms of the weather.
Charlton starting XI:
Startup, Kerr, Wheeler (Coombs 45), Ritchie (Clifford 45), Maple, Bryan (Pepper 89), Gurr, Churchill, Bailes, Ejupi, Graham
Unused subs: Agg, Espinosa
Millwall Lionesses starting XI:
Taylor, Cowan, Casley, Priest, Powell, Bailes (Auguste 71), Lumsden, Cataldo, Clarke, Fitzgerald (Rossiter 71), Ravenscroft
Unused subs: Sansom, Mackie, Stenning, Charles, Wilkinson
Manager Chris Phillips gave his thoughts as the Lionesses fell short but highlighted there were positives to take from the performance.
Goalscorer Gabby Ravenscroft was pleased to be on the score sheet but hopes the side can turn things around ahead of the visit of Lewes in two weeks.