It was opening day defeat for the Lionesses as a dominant first half from Lewes was enough for the visitors as they left Princes Park with all 3 points.
The Lionesses were slow to start and found themselves behind early on when Samantha Quayle was able to rise highest at the far post to head home. A slow start from the Lionesses as the side from the south punished and took an early lead.
The Lionesses had small spells where they couldn't find that final pass to get through and test the Lewes keeper. Gabby and Beth Lumsden linked up well but Lewes were able to remain strong at the back and deal with the pressure that Millwall were offering on the front foot. As Millwall were in search of a quick response, no real chance came for the Lionesses as the Lewes defence stood well and looked to regain the ball.
The visitors made it two on the 24th minute when Rebbeca Carter was able to escape her marker and found room to curl the ball into the bottom corner and past Grace Taylor. It was the perfect start for the visiotrs who now had a two goal lead and looked like they wanted more. Not how the Lionesses wanted to kick off their campaign and a much improved second half was needed.
Lewes then dominated the rest of the first half as Millwall attempted to see out the first half, regroup and focus, Lewes continued to press Millwall in an attempt to get a third and Avilla Bergin could have got it for the visitors but she couldn't find a way past Grace Taylor. Millwall did attempt to try and half the deficit but there just seemed to be no way through for the Lionesses.
3 minutes were added on for the first half after a few collisions and in the 2nd minute of stoppage time Lewes made it three, Carleton was able to accelerate into the are where she squared it guving it to Quayle who unselfishly set up Bergin, where the winger was able to smash the ball home past Grace Taylor and give the visitors a three goal lead going into half time.
The second half saw the Lionesses perform a lot better and what Chris said at half time clearly got across to the players as they looked a different team. Despite no real clear cut chances for the Lionesses there was positives to take away from the second half performance and Annie Rossiter who came on as a sub for Millwall really did light a spark when she came on.
Grace Taylor had to pull off some really good stops to deny Lewes gaining even more of an advantage but Gabby Ravenscroft will feel should could have done better with her effort down at the other end for Millwall. The second half didn't see many clear cut chances just a lot of battling in midfield.
No goals in the second half meant Lewes came away with 3 points and a clean sheet, it wasn't the ideal start for Millwall who will pick themselves up and go again as they travel to West Ham this Sunday.
Millwall Lionesses starting XI:
Taylor, Mackie (Young 85), Stenning, Priest, Auguste, Powell, Lumsden, Cataldo, Clarke (Charles 78), Fitzgerald (Rossiter 66), Ravenscroft
Unused subs: Sansom, Cowan, Wilkinson
Lewes starting XI:
Baker, Wells (Paye 77), Thompson Agbro, Taylor, Rutherford (Maloney 85), McIntyre, Lane, Carleton, Carter, Quayle (85), Bergin
Unused subs: Wilson, Robert
It was a learning curve for the Lionesses as manager Chris Phillips gives his thoughts on the performance of his players.
Captain of the side today Evie Clarke was disappointed in the result but sees positives in the performance.