GOTB Featured Game
Millwall v Arsenal – Fisher FC
Player of the Match: Lauren James
We were in for a treat on Wednesday when Millwall hosted Arsenal in the Group 1 South of the Continental Cup. Seven goals and three worldies later, the Gunners eventually came through against strong resistance.
Millwall have been one of the teams to watch in 2017. Lee Burch has transformed the team since his arrival in July last year and they are playing confident and high quality football. There were three changes to the starting line up that had comeback from two goals down against London Bees in the league at the weekend with Rianna Dean, Leanne Cowan and Leighanne Robe coming in for Ashlee Hincks, Brionne Fowle and Jordon Butler.
Arsenal came into the cup game still under the guidance of interim manager Ismael Garcia. Only four players – Jemma Rose, Leah Williamson, Jordan Nobbs and Beth Mead – retained a spot in the starting line up as Garcia rang the changes. There were starts for three developing young talents – Taylor Hinds and Anna Filbey recently back from a successful trip to Kazkahstan with the England U19s and 16-year old Lauren James making her first senior start for the club.
The game started on a pretty even footing with both sides creating chances. However, it was the visitors who broke the deadlock ten minutes in with a perfect example of counter-attacking play. After successfully clearing a free kick, Beth Mead picked the ball up inside her own half. The striker broke up the field, worked her way into space and buried the ball into the top corner. It was a sign of a player full of confidence after several strong performances.
— Girls on the Ball (@GirlsontheBall) November 1, 2017
As they showed in their previous game, Millwall are not easily daunted and responded with character. Their persistence paid off when Anna Moorhouse made a fantastic stop to divert Charlie Devlin‘s effort for a corner. From the subsequent set-piece, Ellie Mason beat the scramble in the box to turn the ball home.
Buoyed by the equaliser, it was the hosts who came close to taking the lead. It was a wonder how the ball stayed out of the net, when Bonnie Horwood‘s free-kick fell to Mason in the area. Her low shot hit the post and somehow the rebound effort was blocked.
This sparked Arsenal into life at the other end with chances falling to both Hinds and Danielle Carter. They put themselves ahead on the half-time whistle when Millwall keeper, Sarah Quantrill, turned James’ effort onto the bar. Nobbs stepped up to take the subsequent corner and sent her delivery straight into the back of the net. At the break, the visitors lead 2-1.
Arsenal dominated the first quarter of the second half with James and Mead coming close. A gilt-edged opportunity then presented itself to Louise Quinn, on for Williamson, but she couldn’t direct her unmarked header on goal. However, it was the hosts who came up with an equaliser with 20 minutes to play. And what an equaliser it was! Ella Rutherford is known for her ability to strike a ball and this was a definite contender for Goal of the Season. Turning inside from the right touchline, she hit the ball so sweetly into the far top corner that there was nothing Moorhouse could do.
— Megan Rose Wynne (@MegsWynne) November 1, 2017
It had been an inspiring performance from the FAWSL 2 side but two goals in three minutes, finally gave Arsenal the lead with a cushion. After substitute Lisa Evans was fouled, Nobbs’ free kick from about 30 yards bounced in the box and flew straight in. This was soon followed by a swift attack that ended with Carter tapping Heather O’Reilly‘s pacy cross home.
The visitors rounded off the scoring with one minute to play when Mead was brought down in the area. James picked up the ball and coolly slotted the spot-kick home, capping off an impressive performance from the youngster. With that, the match came to a close and we were left reminiscing on the thoroughly entertaining encounter we had just witnessed.
Sunderland 3-1 Aston Villa – Mariners Park
Sunderland bounced back from their weekend’s loss to Liverpool with a comfortable victory over FAWSL 2 side Aston Villa. The home side took the lead when Lucy Staniforth opened the scoring with a fine strike in the 28th minute. She doubled her team’s lead in the second half before Dominique Bruinenberg scored a cracker. Villa pulled a goal back in injury time through Ashlee Brown.
Sheffield FC 5-1 Durham – Home of Football
When these two sides had met in the FAWSL 2 at the weekend, Durham had come away comfortable 4-0 winners. The script reversed on Wednesday night as Sheffield exacted their revenge. Danielle Cox gave the hosts the lead with just two minutes on the clock before strike Melissa Johnson doubled their lead. Durham responded, pulling a goal back through Jordan Atkinson, just two minutes later. However, Sheffield re-established their two goal lead with Johnson notching another before Holly Housley made it 4-1 as they went into half-time. The second period was less eventful with the only goal coming from Johnson, who completed her hat-trick with 25 minutes to play.
Brighton & Hove Albion 0-3 Chelsea – Culver Road
Chelsea eventually overcame strong resistance from Brighton to earn a strong 3-0 victory. Fran Kirby gave the Blues the lead on her return to the starting line up after only 13 minutes on the clock. While dominating the match, the FAWSL 1 leaders couldn’t find a second goal until Crystal Dunn struck in the 76th minute. Ji So Yun consolidated the victory with a half-volley in injury time.
Reading 4-0 Watford – Adams Park
Reading continued their fine run of form with a comfortable cup victory over Watford. Fara Williams is in amongst the goals at the moment and hit another to give her side the lead with five minutes played. They doubled their lead just before the break when Molly Bartrip headed home. The hosts continued to dominate in the second half and extended their advantage through Kirsty Linnett with 20 minutes left. Brooke Chaplen added another in the closing stages.
Yeovil Town 1-2 Tottenham Hotspur – Huish Park
Tottenham recovered a 1-0 deficit to come away from Huish Park with a victory. Defender Gemma Evans gave the hosts the lead in the first half when her cross sailed into the back of the net. Spurs responded well in the second half. They got the equaliser when Sarah Wiltshire came back to hurt her former club with a good shot in the 63rd minute. The visitors left it late to find a winner with substitute Ronnell Humes scoring in the 92nd minute.
Oxford United 0-6 Manchester City – Oxford City FC
There was no upset on Thursday night as Manchester City earned a strong win against FAWSL 2 side Oxford United. After a tough first half, City broke through with two quick goals just before half-time. Izzy Christiansen converted her third penalty in two games before Georgie Stanway scored in the 45th minute. Stanway doubled her tally just after the break before Claire Emslie struck her first goal for the club three minutes later. With 10 minutes on the clock, Jennifer Beattie once again turned home a Megan Campbell throw before Jane Ross scored in the 86th minute.
— Man City Women (@ManCityWomen) November 3, 2017
Everton 1-0 Birmingham City – Select Security Stadium
Courtney Sweetman-Kirk hit her first goal for her new club in a tight game in Widnes. The Everton striker struck what was ultimately the winner in the 12th minute to give Everton two wins out of two in the Continental Cup.