Photos Courtesy of Edward Payne
Sunday’s match against Manchester United Women marked the last home game of the 2018-19 season for Millwall. In aid of this special event, Millwall Lionesses hosted a pre-match carnival at Princes Park, where all supporters and families were invited to come down and try some amazing foods and join in some marvellous activities.
Millwall Lionesses also presented their Player of The Year and Runner-up Player of The Year trophies prior to the game, with Ylenia Priest and Evie Clarke winning the awards respectively. Two very well deserved and unarguably earned by both players, although each and every member of the squad could warrant winning the awards after this season's campaign.
Manchester United, who had recently been crowned league champions for the first time of asking in their debut season came with a dominating and attacking game plan so the Lionesses knew they’d have a tough challenge ahead.
It took no more than five minutes for the first notable run of play to occur. Lia Cataldo, who has had a memorable season at full-back, was unfortunately caught wrong footed and committed a foul within the penalty area. Despite the young goalkeeper, Rhiannon Stewart's, best efforts, she was unable to deny Katie Zelem from twelve yards and the visitors took an early lead.
The unfortunate start got more difficult for Millwall as striker Gabby Ravenscroft was deemed unable to continue through injury and had to be substituted within the opening ten minutes.
United continued to threaten the Millwall goal in the opening stages of the game and it took Ylenia Priest's goal-line clearance to deny Leah Galton. Despite the Lionesses' bravery, the visitors shortly doubled their lead in the 13th minute after the United skipper, Amy Turner, got on the end of a corner and converted from close range.
United were formulating numerous attacks and their multiple effective passages of play demonstrated just why they were crowned title winners. As the 23rd minute approached, a delightful ball was pulled back by Lizzie Arnot for former Lioness, Charlie Devlin, to convert from close range and make it 0-3.
Six minutes later, another penalty was awarded to the Red Devils as Martha Harris was brought down in the penalty area. Dusting herself down, Harris also took the spot kick and a comfortable finish into the bottom corner meant United extended their lead to 0-4.
Millwall held their shape and battled resiliently for the last fifteen minutes of the first half and managed to deny the visitors for the rest of the half.
It didn’t take long once the second half commenced for Rhiannon Stewart to be called into action, however the Millwall keeper did well to keep the danger at bay.
In the 69th minute, Lia Cataldo left the pitch and was to be replaced by Leanne Cowan who made her first time back on the pitch since February 17th. The defender showed no sign of rust and looked comfortable back in the Millwall side.
However, set pieces proved to be a strong point for United and substitute, Jess Sigsworth, capitalised on an excellently delivered corner in the 78th minute and had no difficulty in making it 0-5 from close range.
Honours remained even in the last fifteen minutes or so with neither side creating much of an obvious goal-scoring opportunity. The game finished 0-5 to the visitors, however the score line didn’t do Millwall justice. The Lionesses demonstrated another defensively solid performance in the second half, keeping the league victors out for the majority of it.
Sunday proved to be a fantastic morning and afternoon, with the carnival, Player of the Year trophies and an all-round valiant performance. Millwall accumulated a record attendance this season of 1920 fans and we would like to thank you for your continued support, for all votes and contributions towards the Player of the Year awards also.
Stewart, Mackie, Casley, Priest, Ravenscroft (Young 7’), Cataldo (Cowan 69’), Clarke, Giddings ©, Fitzgerald, Rossiter (Bailey 90’), Neville
Substitutes not used:
Bailes, Peart, Stovolo
Manchester United Lineup:
Ramsey, Harris, Turner ©, Turner, Smith, Zelem, Galton, Toone (Sigsworth 63’), James, Arnot (Hanson 76’), Devlin (Green 63’)
Substitutes not used: