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Millwall Lionesses v Arsenal Ladies FA Cup 6th round 22nd March 2015

Millwall Lionesses v Arsenal Ladies FA Cup 6th round 22nd March 2015 (now with all the pictures added)

by Andrew and Pauline Crawshaw

This game was at the Den in South East London, Millwall’s main ground.  The two teams had met in a pre-season friendly a few weeks earlier where Millwall did enough to keep Arsenal honest but nowhere near enough to look like troubling the Arsenal goal.  The question was could they do better in a competitive game?

None of our grandchildren wanted to go to the game but I persuaded Pauline, my wife to come along – her first live experience of football.  We live in Crystal Palace, so it was an easy journey by train to South Bermondsey then a few minutes walk to the Den.  Seats were unreserved but in the stand furthest away from the afternoon sunshine so it was very cold!

The Millwall Team – Francesca Gibbs, Leanne Cowen, Dionne Lennon, Naomi Cole, Frankie Strugnell, Megan Goss, Grace Fisk, Lily Agg, Clara Sherwood, Lillie Bilson, Rinsola Babajide.

Arsenal – Emma Byrne, Alex Scott (C), Jemma Rose, Casey Stoney, Emma Mitchell, Vicky Losada, Carla Humphrey, Jordan Nobbs, Danielle Carter, Natalia De Pablos Sanchon, Lianne Sanderson

Arsenal subs – Siobahan Chamberlain, Leah Williamson, Hasall, Clarke and Oliver

From kickoff Arsenal pressed the Millwall goal with 21 of the players in the Millwall half for the opening exchanges, Emma Byrne in the Arsenal Goal was a virtual spectator.  Good chances kept coming but somehow the final ball didn’t nestle in the net until the 18th minute when Carter headed home Natalia’s corner.  Six minutes later Sanderson made it two with a tap in from Humphrey’s cross.  Three minutes later Arsenal hit the crossbar for a third time.  In the 41st minute the game was effectively over when Nobbs made it three nil which was the half time score.

At the start of the second half Millwall made two substitutions with Agg and Goss being replaced by Edwards and Mackie.

Unfortunately for Millwall, the changes did little to alter the sequence of wave after wave of Arsenal attacks which resulted in goal four in the 52nd minute when Carter brought down a high ball showing excellent skills, she then drove into the box and finished expertly into the bottom corner her second of the game.

Three minutes later it was five as Natalia brought down Carter’s cross and smashed it home giving Gibbs no chance whatsoever.

Gibbs then made another excellent save to deny a sixth Arsenal goal this time from Mitchell.  Within a minute Byrne had to come racing out of her goal to intercept a through ball.  Her timing was impeccable and the danger passed.

In the 59th minute Millwall made their final substitution with Sherwood being replaced by Albert.  Again the change had little impact to the flow of play.  In the 63rd minute Arsenal made their first change with Losada being replaced by Williamson.

It was nearly six when Humphrey had a shot saved by Gibbs, Carter’s follow up was denied on the line and the rebound was blazed over the bar by Natalia (in truth it would have been easier to score, but I hope she saves her next goal for a game when it matters).

The sixth duly came a few minutes later when Natalia sent over a perfect cross for Humphrey to strike home (this was just reward for an excellent performance by Humphrey).  This was the last involvement for both players who were replaced by Oliver and Clarke.

The icing on the cake came in the 85th minute when Carter sped through the Millwall defence one final time and scored her third and Arsenal’s seventh goal of the game.

In truth the scoreline barely reflected Arsenal’s superiority, they were vastly better than Millwall in every position.  Arsenal hit the woodwork on four or five occasions and Gibbs in the Millwall goal made a string of excellent saves otherwise the score could easily have been in double figures.  At the other end, I can’t recollect one save that Emma Byrne had to make, she caught the ball a couple of times and was alert to rush off her line as a sweeper.

Pauline’s comment after the match.  “I was pleased to be persuaded to go to my first professional football match – thoroughly enjoyed the convivial atmosphere (apart from a loud Millwall supporter behind me who I chose to ignore).  Was impressed by the skill, strategy and strength of the Arsenal Ladies – a team well worth supporting!”

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA 

Arsenal team prior to kickoff with mascot Luke.

Back row – Rose, Sanderson, Byrne, Mitchell, Losada, Natalia

Front row – Williamson, Scott (C), Humphrey, Carter, Nobbs

 

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Emma Byrne in the second half, fully awake but it’s all happening down the other end.

 

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Arsenal celebrate with Danielle Carter (right) after her first goal


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Job done Alex Scott (right) and Emma Mitchell come off the pitch

 

 

And way back in time, when both clubs had different grounds…

6 comments to Millwall Lionesses v Arsenal Ladies FA Cup 6th round 22nd March 2015

  • WalterBroeckx

    Thanks Andrew for this excellent report. If possible do keep us informed about the ladies or young Guns whenever you can go to a match. Whenever they stream an Arsenal match (be it youth or ladies) I do try to catch it on my computer. Let’s hope that the Ladies return to the winning ways of a few seasons ago by being the best in women’s football.

    And good to see that Pauline had an excellent first time seeing an Arsenal team in the flesh. A bit like Carine for her first Arsenal match earlier this season she was rewarded with an excellent performance and lots of goals.
    We should take our wives more to an Arsenal match 😉

  • Tony Attwood

    I’ll have to opt out on that wife bringing thing

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    Arsenal’s reward is a home tie against Chelsea at Meadow Park, Borehamwood at 14:00 on Sunday April 12. Chelsea won their game by six nil so the teams will either cancel each other out or there will be goals a plenty. Either way should be a good game.

  • Gord

    Thanks Andrew.

    Emma Byrne is noticeably bigger than her team-mates, and she does have a Wikipedia page.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emma_Byrne

    Where we can find out, that she is “only” 1.83m (6 foot) tall.

    You didn’t mention much about how defenders “encounter” attackers with the ball. We know with Phil Neville, it is possible to two foot someone. Faster attacking players will tend take the ball wide to outrun the defenders. More skillful attacking players will take the defender on, often nutmeg’ing them in the process. Passing to avoid defenders is a third option to the skilled players.

    Did either team exhibit a preference?

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    Gord,
    Carter is the ‘speedster’ in the Arsenal team. She just ran straight past the defenders who would have had to foul her to stop her progress but thankfully didn’t fot the most part. I’ll pay closer attention next time to try and give you a better answer.

  • Gord

    I seen that Sunderland beat Liverpool for the opening game of WSL season. I was kind of expecting to see Valentina Mannone in net for Sunderland, but I don’t see a Mannone on the game sheet. 🙂

    It doesn’t look like Sunderland Ladies lose many games, so sure having them beat Liverpool is possible. Just a little unexpected.