Millwall Lionesses and Tottenham Hotspur Ladies played in front of a bumper crowd at Princes Park as the league leaders came to Dartford for this Women’s Championship fixture. Unfortunately for the home side though, the game would end in heartache as the visitors scored a late, late winner to secure the three points.
Also in attendance were the Lionesses’ Sister Club, Kings Hill FC and the young stars of the future formed a guard of honour as both sides entered the field of play.
Former Lionesses, Megan Wynne started well on her right hand side in the opening minutes of the game and it was Spurs who had the first effort of the match when another former Millwall star, Rianna Dean hit high and over Chloe Sansom’s bar in the 7th minute.
Spurs again attacked in the 12th minute, when a dangerous looking cross into the penalty area could’ve resulted in a goal if it hadn’t been for a vital block from Ylenia Priest at the last minute.
Wynne continued to be a thorn in the side of her old club and was causing more issues on the right wing, but it was the Lionesses who had the next real chance when a long range Beth Lumsden free-kick hit the target in the 20th minute, but this was easily gathered by Chloe Morgan in the Tottenham goal.
Some superb goalkeeping in the 31st minute again denied a certain goal for the visitors. A number of Tottenham’s side beat the Millwall offside trap and were stood in the penalty box alone, but the Lionesses shot stopper was equal to the multiple efforts at her and managed to clear the ball from danger to rousing applause from the fans in attendance.
Five minutes later the pressure applied from Spurs finally paid off and in the 36th minute Sarah Wiltshire managed to coolly get on the end of a Megan Wynne cross and put the ball in the back of the net. The home side were one down, but this did not dishearten Chris Phillips’ young side.
Evie Clarke produced a moment of magic that will be one of the highlights of the Lionesses season in the 44th minute of the game. Picking up the ball seemingly acres from the Tottenham goal, Clarke powered her way towards goal, shrugging off the desperate tackles from the Tottenham defence. Running towards goals with the ball at her feet and the home fans screaming her on, Clarke looked up and placed it past Morgan to draw the game back level. Clarke with arguably one of the goals of the season before the referee blew for half-time.
After more dangerous play from playmaker Megan Wynne early in the second half, the Lionesses thought they were away again when Evie Clarke again picked up the ball behind the Tottenham back line in the 52nd minute. Running towards the corner flag, all that could be done by Spurs defender Ashleigh Neville to stop her was to bring down the forward by the touch line. A yellow card was shown to the defender and the play broke down.
Rianna Dean thought she had Chloe Sansom beat in the the 80th minute of the game when her header looped over the Millwall ‘keeper, but some superb awareness saw Ylenia Priest cover around the back of Sansom and head the ball away before it could creep in the home side’s goal.
With only six minutes to go it was the away side who regained the lead. Picking up the ball from close range in the 84th minute, Emma Beckett left the home fans feeling deflated when her close range effort beat the impressive Sansom, but the Lionesses refused to give up and kept on fighting.
With only two minutes to go Sansom pulled off a wonder save and tipped a long range - and certain - goal onto her crossbar before Beth Lumsden’s deflected free-kick pulled the Lionesses back in the 90th minute. The home fans were in jubilation and roared with their players as the Lionesses looked to have grabbed a draw from the jaws of defeat, but it was Rianna Dean who would have the final say.
With the five minutes added on elapsed and the home fans screaming for the full-time whistle, Dean broke the hearts of those who cheered her last season and put the ball in the back of the net in stoppage time to score Tottenham’s third and secure the victory. The final whistle sounded shortly after and the home side had lost the game in the cruelest way imaginable.
Both sides put on a wonderful game of football and Tottenham Hotspur Ladies showed just why they are such a dangerous team. Although this will be a point that slipped away from Chris Phillips and his side, the performance put in by all those in a Millwall kit is one to be thoroughly be proud of.
Sansom, Cowan, Priest, Lumsden, Cataldo, Clarke, Giddings (Rossiter 70), Fitzgerald, Young (Peart 82), Ali, Neville
Unused Subs: Stewart, Mackie, Stovold
Morgan, McLean, Hector (Green 66), Wiltshire, Dean, Schillaci, Wynne, Addison (Beckett 66), Naz, Neville, Haines (Leon 82)
Unused Subs: Gibbon, Filbey, Baptiste, Meiwald