Whitter at the double in Cup cracker
Millwall Lionesses are through to the FA Women’s Cup Third Round after an Emma Whitter brace and another from young debutant Dayna Chong secured a hard-fought 3-1 victory over Wolves Women.
In a competitive start, the visitors managed to test Lionesses’ keeper Francesca Gibbs on two occasions before a Shauni Griffiths strike whistled past the post in Alberto Kurti’s side first real attack. Soon after, young striker Rebecca Stormer was put through on goal but found her tame effort collected by Wolves’ stopper.
The Lionesses began to take a firm foothold in the game and were rewarded for a spell of dominance when Whitter, clean through, calmly slotted the ball into the net to give the hosts a deserved lead.
Not to be deterred, the Midlands side fought back and forced Gibbs into three superb saves in quick succession; helping to keep her side in the lead at the interval.
The Lionesses began the second period with intent and came agonisingly close to doubling their lead only for Whitter’s dinked effort to bounce wide of the post. Kurti made his second change when young starlet Chong arrived for her debut in place of Ciara Sherwood and she immediately found Griffiths with a neat pass only for the move to break down.
That wasn’t, however, the last time the duo combined and on this occasion it resulted in the second of the afternoon. Griffiths, in the 85th minute, this time returned the favour; finding Chong who delicately lofted the ball into the net for his first Lionesses goal.
With Wolves deflated, the hosts wrapped the game up when Chong this time supplied Whitter who duly danced past the keeper before slotting into an empty net on 90 minutes. The visitors did find a consolation before the final whistle but it was too little too late.
“We were a bit rusty at the start,” Lionesses manager Kurti said. “We haven’t played for a month and the girls needed a bit of time to settle into the game. Credit to Wolves as they worked hard and put us under pressure. They’re a physical side but we managed to keep the ball well and create chances throughout.
I’m extremely encouraged that a number of our youngsters are successfully progressing into the first team. We had five players who were 17 years or younger and Dayna Chong made an massive impact.”
Team: Gibbs, Mackie, Lennon, Grafton, Strugnell, Manning, Ferguson, Sherwood (Chong, 75’), Stormer (Payne, 55’), Griffiths (Igbavboia, 85’), Whitter. Subs not used: Colepio, Malyon.