It was an eventful afternoon between Millwall Lionesses and Lewes, with the latter emerging victorious. Two very well taken goals is what saw the home side take all three points in this Women's Championship fixture. There was a touching minute's silence before the game commenced in honor of the Christchurch victims. Our thoughts and condolences at Millwall Lionesses go out to those, and all families, involved.
Lewes got the game underway, in what was shaping up to be an entertaining afternoon. The hosts were on their way to a threatening start, having tested Lioness 'keeper Rhiannon Stewart a number of times in the opening five minutes. Beth Lumsden had a corner early on which could only be palmed onto the post by the Rooks goalkeeper, Faye Baker, however it was dealt with comfortably by the surrounding defenders.
Stewart and the Millwall defence demonstrated some astute defending to begin with, however a slight error, from the resulting counter attack from a Millwall corner, meant that Jess King picked the ball up with an open net inside the 18-yard box, and made no mistake in converting.
A trailing Millwall side battled very well in the midfield deep into the first half. The windy conditions meant the ball had to be played on the ground for the most part which lead to a bit of a stalemate but chances opened up for both sides. A disguised, low driven, free kick from Sarah Kempson was pre-empted by Stewart, but she wasn't fooled on this occasion. A number of first half corners were awarded to Lewes, fortunately they were unable to capitalise on these.
The girls went into half time with a deficit of one goal, they had a challenge on their hands and aimed to turn this round in immediate fashion. A free kick very early, once the second half had commenced, from Lumsden was delivered in towards the back post. Riva Casley rose above everybody and connected with the ball, only to be denied by the post. A subsequent scramble was cleared by Lewes. Millwall were hungry.
The resulting corner was met by Evie Clarke, however an abundance of bodies - both Millwall and Lewes - were between her and the goal.
Millwall continued their bombardment as the second half progressed, Lucy Fitzgerald latching onto a through ball, however Lewes 'keeper Baker was in inspired form on this particular afternoon. She headed the ball away and instigated a Lewes attack of her own. Lewes players were literally queuing up to take turns at firing shots towards the Millwall goal from the counter attack. Luckily, one was fired into the stands and the Lionesses could regroup with a goal-kick.
Some of the best football of the afternoon came from a long ball by Lumsden, Annie Rossiter controlled it into the path of, a late arriving, Clarke, fired over.
To add to the already inspiring form, Faye Baker managed to get a fist to 2 very close range efforts. Grace Neville connecting with a cross with venom from close range, & a Casley header. Today was just not meant to be.
It took 80 minutes before either side made their first substitution. It was the home side who did first, Charlotte Owen replpacing Sarah Kempson. It didn't take long for Owen to make an immediate impact, as she fired home from range over Rhiannon Stewart - completely against the run of play.
And that was to be it for this fixture, Lewes did superbly to take their chances. Millwall in control for the most part of the second half, which was corroborated by Millwall manager, Chris Phillips.
"I'm disappointed with the result, but with the second half, I'm not too disappointed with our perfomance. We created a lot of chances... On another day we could score two or three goals." said Chris Phillips.
Millwall Lionesses will work tirelessly to prepare for hosting Aston Villa in a fortnight's time.
Lewes FC Women:
Baker, Perry, McIntyre, Paye, Rutherford (Moloney 90), Kempson (Owen 80) Quayle, Lane, O’Rourke, Rood (Boswell 90), King
Subs not used: Wilson, Rowbotham, Wilson
Stewart, Mackie (Bailey 88), Casley, Priest, Lumsden, Cataldo, Clarke, Fitzgerald, Rossiter, Ali (Young 86) Neville
Subs not used: Sansom, Harford, Peart, Stovold