Welcome to Princes Park for today's FA Women's Championship game v Lewes FC Women.
Here is your complementary e-programme.
View from the Chairman
It gives me great pleasure to write my first programme notes as Chairman of Millwall's Lionesses. My fellow Directors and I would like to thank you for your outstanding and sustained support over the years and especially over the last few months.
Having taken up the role in June, when the club was going through a transitional period with many changes -leaving us with only 2 players and no management team, it was an interesting introduction to WSL2. We are fully aware that the rebuilding process may be a steady one, however we have total confidence that the team's roar will be heard in ever increasing volume as the season progresses.
Furthermore, we are delighted to be here today to see this nascent team walk out at the 'Lionesses New Den' Princes Park, for their first home game of the season led by their Manager Chris Phillips. Since his appointment 6 weeks ago, Chris along with our new Director of Football, Pedro Martinez Losa have worked tirelessly, with our backroom staff to get the girls ready for this game today and the ensuing season.
The attitude of the players and the staff at the club over the past few weeks has been exemplary and it has been an absolute pleasure to be working with them. We will be going in to the season with a quiet confidence but also an awareness of the great challenges ahead of us.
We would like to welcome the players, directors and management of Lewes FC to the Lionesses new Den this afternoon, which will no doubt be a challenging affair!
Lastly, we would like to invoke the Millwall spirit in the girls, who are walking out today to represent the heart and community of Millwall. Today the girls will walk out with pride and play with passion.
Girls we are with you all the way.
Enjoy the game!
View from the MANAGER
Firstly I’d like to start by welcoming everyone to Princes Park, the New Den for our young lionesses team. I truly believe this is one of the best stadiums in women's football. To progress the women’s game, all matches should be played at venues like this or better to increase the match day experience for both players and spectators. I also think this is the right size to suit the current levels of attendance. Players enjoy playing in games with an atmosphere. The capacity is 4000, both the team and I would love to see a sell out here one day. We will work hard to try and achieve that, but if you enjoy your experience today, please encourage others to join you when attending future games. I also want to thank everyone at Dartford FC who have done a fantastic job welcoming us and have made us feel at home. It’s coincidental that as the Lions celebrate 25 years at their New Den, we are celebrating the first year at ours.
Secondly I’d like to thank Places Leisure. They have generously given all our first team players full memberships at their Fairfield Leisure Centre in Dartford. The staff have been so friendly and accommodating. We receive exclusive access for team sessions in the gym, cardio room , pool and recovery areas. This allows our S&C staff to implement, manage and support the players individual programs. Just like our new stadium this too is a top class facility and I would strongly recommend you check out their website to see all the activities they offer.
Finally I’d like to say hello to all the Millwall fans. It’s been a whirlwind 6-7 weeks for me since I took the role of 1st team manager. I came to a club looking to rebuild every aspect. We have a new board, a new director of football, new 1st team & development team staff and virtually a new group of players.
Also the team and I want to thank the fans who braved the conditions and attended the game against Charlton. I don’t know the attendance, but it felt like 90% of the crowd were Lioness supporters. I thought you were all fantastic and the cheers for every tackle and effort made by the team throughout the game was greatly appreciated.
More of that today please.
The result was hard to take as I felt it could have gone either way but Charlton showed their experience in the 2nd half. We have analysed and learnt from it and have tried to progress areas of our game. However, that was this new groups first competitive match and I think we showed good energy throughout and managed to score 2 good goals away from home. You may not have realised but 8 of our starting 11 we’re making their first ever competitive first team appearance. To give you an idea of what a transition some of these players have gone through, this time last year Ylenia Priest & Annie Rossiter we’re preparing for a season in RTC youth football. Full credit to all the team though, as they’ve worked hard since, haven’t let the result effect their spirit and are determined to improve.
We will see what today brings as Lewes will provide my team with another test and examination of how far we are in our development. I’ve known their manager John for a few years now and genuinely think he’s one of the good guys in the sport. Honesty and hard work are two qualities I regard highly and I believe he possesses both of those. I also see John as the right man for the development of Lewes Ladies as a whole club. I think they are doing great things for the women’s game and wish the club every success. On the pitch I expect Lewes to try and impose themselves physically, congest the midfield area and attack very quickly following transitions. We also know they can be very dangerous in set piece situations, especially corners. I will send my team out to play with the same principles every game this season. In possession we will try and create attacking opportunities through a possession based strategy. Out of possession we will try to produce an intense level of group pressing. I watch these players train 4 times a week, and when they get it right, it’s a joy to watch. Our challenge is transferring what I see in training to the match.
I hope we can entertain you.
I’m very aware of the on pitch achievements the club produced last season. I think Lee Burch, who I wish all the success at Yeovil, built a great squad and did an amazing job here. But unfortunately the off pitch departments weren’t able to support that.
The new board have already changed that. They are remodelling the club, taking a fresh approach on how a women’s football club should be run and I think that other clubs will follow suit when they see the results.
The club will be introducing many innovative and creative promotions off the pitch this season, I’ll leave it to the Chairman and Director of Football to tell you more about that as and when things happen. The club also wants to do innovative things on the pitch too, and this approach excites me and convinced me I wanted this job.
The plan for the team is as follows:
Our philosophy is to be the best club in london to offer young players the chance to play first team football. Having spent the last 8 years developing players from 15-21 I feel the restructure of the women’s championship provides the best environment for players in this age range to improve. We already have 5-6 England youth players in the team and it will only benefit the national teams when our players report for duty having played regularly at 1st team level.
I know every club says they invest in the young players, but they’re starting at eleven and game time opportunities for the young players rarely reflect this.
Our recruitment policy was to find young talented players in London and the surrounding areas and I will play them.
This season you will see a young lionesses side. When I say young, our average age in the squad is 18.5. As a manager I trust them. Together we will work hard and try to play attractive football that we hope people enjoy watching.
We have decided as a club we will base everything we do on 3 core values:
Pride, Passion & Community
My team is learning to identify with the Millwall community both at the club and the make up of the clubs fans. We already love the area and the people. In everything we do you will see the pride of lions & lionesses. On the pitch you will see our passion to always give our best for the club.
The team will need your support this season as we grow and we look forward to sharing the journey with you.
We hope to repay your efforts by giving you some moments to remember and opportunities to cheer.
Thank you and enjoy the game.
1st Team Manager
ABOUT OUR SPONSORS
SETL is a company which is bringing game changing technology to the financial services. SETL's investors include some of the worlds largest companies such as Citibank, Deloitte, Computershare and Credit Agricole. Each of these investors recognises the potential for SETL to do things differently and in a way which will transform the way that finance works. In pursuing this vision, SETL is not afraid to challenge established positions. To say that something has 'always been done that way' is not a good reason to consider better ways to do things. SETL is very much a challenger. It is a growing team of dedicated individuals who are willing to take on the big companies and organisations. No challenge is unopposed and SETL has had to face opposition who are well resourced and who want to protect their positions.
The Lionesses will face challenges of a similar nature - big clubs with big reputations and big budgets thinking they have a right of way. SETL sees in the Lionesses a spirit which will not be dominated by others, is fiercely loyal to its traditions and will meet those challenges with skill, hard work and determination.
We wish the Lionesses good luck in their game today against Lewes. SETL is proud to be a supporter and sponsor of the Lionesses and looks forward to a successful season.
The Lionesses will look to put the Charlton defeat in the cup two weeks ago behind them as they look to start with a bang in their league opener at home to Lewes. Millwall won last years opener 3-1 at home to Watford and will look for a repeat of that this Sunday.
Lewes make their debut season in the second tier and will look to cause an uproar in the league. After the defeat two weeks ago to Charlton, Millwall will be making sure that it is the South London side that take all 3 points. A solid 1st half from the Lionesses against Charlton is what Chris will be expecting to see from his players for the full 90.
Gabby Ravenscroft and Evie Clarke were on target for the Lionesses as they formed a good partnership up top. Gabby initially drew the Lionesses level with a well taken goal from outside the box before then setting up striker partner Evie after good work down the right allowed Evie to tap home from close range. A partnership that Chris will be hoping can get stronger and better as the season continues and at a young age will grow well in a very talented Millwall side.
Players who didn't feature in the Charlton game such as Mackie and Charles will be hoping they've done enough over the last 2 weeks to earn themselves a place in the side as they look to get some early minutes under the belt. Riva Casley is rested so a centre back will be needed fro the visit of Lewes and Chris is not short of options, Beth Powell can be moved into centre half as well as Leanne but can also look to his bench for someone.
This is Millwall's first game at their new stadium (Princes Park) and after a change of venue it will be hoped that the Lionesses can make their new home ground a fortress and look to create a hostile atmosphere in an attempt to show up the big guns when they come to south London.
Gabby joined the Lionesses this season and after scoring on her debut in the 4-2 defeat at Charlton 2 weeks ago, The striker will be hungry to add more goals as early as possible as she looks to lead the line with Evie Clarke. If its goals the Lionesses need, we're sure Gabby will supply.
Part of a successful Arsenal development side, Gabby found the onion bag on a lot of occasions and under the influence of new Millwall manager Chris Phillips who was the Arsenal under 23 manager, she proved her ability to Chris and gave him a few reasons why she was the right option to sign for Millwall. Her work rate off the ball allows her to get these openings and her high pressure really makes her a handful for the opposition defence.
This is Gabby's first season in senior football and just like a few of the players last season, especially Rianna Dean who also came from Arsenal, she will look to prove her worth. With a very competitive championship this season, arguably the most competitive ever, Gabby will have to hit form early on, not that the striker will be concerned, who oozes confidence.
Lewes will look to make an instant impact when they face Millwall on Sunday, After smashing the Addicks 5-0 on match day 1 of the Continental cup Lewes will look to try and get off to a good start in the league and Lewes will be fancying themselves this Sunday to grab the 3 points.
After having their application for the second tier accepted , Lewes will look to push on from last season's success in a season where they won the cup. A team that is very well set up and pride themselves on gender equality for equal pay, Lewes are setting an example for other clubs.
Lewes will need to be prepared when the come to Princes park and aim to play their own football. The Lionesses only lost 1 home game last season in the league against Doncaster on their final home game and made it hard for teams to come to South London and get the 3 points, With a new set up, Lewes will try to exploit this and rattle the Lionesses on their opening day at Princes Park.
It's opening day of the season and the Lionesses will look to start the season how they would like to end it, with a bang. It's going to be a season of no expectation for the Lionesses as its very hard to tell how well they will do, but Chris would ideally want 3 points from the first game.
This season we want you to be our DJ on matchdays. So throughout the season, we want you to send in your song choices that you want to be heard at the game.
It couldn’t be easier to pick a song, so tweet us your choice using #RadioRoar or look out for our Instagram story to request your favourite track. Get your requests in by 5pm on Friday and you could be on our matchday playlist for the next home match at Princes Park.
THE PLAYER'S VIEW
This week we caught up with Grace Taylor and Beth Powell to get their thoughts on this weekend's tie against Lewes FC Women.
SPONSOR A LIONESS
Not only did we get Grace and Beth's thoughts on today's game but they took part in our question and answer session. These are no ordinary questions though as you, the fans, sent in the questions.
This is a regular feature this season and all you need to do to have your question answered it to keep an eye on our Instagram story. #QuestionQueens will normally take place every other week on a Wednesday, with questions open from Tuesday.
Charlton Women vs Millwall Lionesses (Conti Cup)
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
POST MATCH | Chris Phillips
POST MATCH | Gabby Ravenscroft
Evie Clarke ©
Katie McIntyre ©
The FA Women’s Championship strongly supports recent FA statements that there should be a zero tolerance approach against racism and all forms of discrimination. Accordingly, any form of discriminatory abuse, whether it be based on race or ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, faith, age, ability or any other form of abuse will be reported to The Football Association for action by that Association. (The FA 0800 085 0508/Kick It Out 020 7253 0162)