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Table-toppers

18 March 2013

Lionesses record win number 10

The Millwall Lionesses remain top of the table after a hard-fought 1-0 victory over fellow high-fliers Brighton & Hove Albion.
A Ciara Sherwood strike in the 30th minute turned out to be enough for the visitors to pick up their 10th win of the season so far.
The game, despite there being just the one goal in it, was entertaining from the start with both sides gung-ho in an attempt to score the opener. The hosts threatened first but Frankie Gibbs, in goal for the Lionesses, did superbly to deny Agg and Gurr respectively.
Abigail Igbavboia has the Lionesses’ first opportunity but her effort was tipped around the post by Brighton’s keeper. From the resulting corner, Dionne Lennon’s powerful header was cleared off the line.
On a very wet surface, both sides struggled to keep control of the ball at times with misplaced passes commonplace in a game that began to get scrappy.
The Lionesses, however, found their way into a lead courtesy of some stunning solo work from Emma Whitter. The in-form forward went on a superb run, beating those before her, and despite eventually being stopped in her tracks she managed to lay the ball cutely to Ciara Sherwood who made no mistake in slotting the ball into the bottom corner.
The goal gave Alberto Kurti’s ladies added impetus and they came agonisingly close to doubling their advantage before the interval; Dayna Chong’s blocked effort fell into the path of Igbavboia whose follow-up shot seemed to his the hand of a Seagulls’ defender. Unfortunately for the Lionesses the referee waved penalty appeals away.
The second-half continued where the first had left off - end-to-end action with chances aplenty. Brighton, unsurprisingly, pushed hard for an equaliser with Agg again denied by the dependably Gibbs between the sticks for the Lionesses.
At the other end, Igbavboia, at the heart of Millwall’s best work, tested Brighton’s keeper from 30-yards before Josie Elliot did the same when through on goal in the 80th minute. 
Naturally, the home side pushed on in the dying minutes but the Lionesses held firm to secure yet another impressive win as the season continues to go from strength to strength. 
“I’m really pleased with the girls’ performance and to get three points is the cherry on the top,” manager Kurti said afterwards. “We knew this was going to be a very difficult game - not many teams come here and get points. Brighton are a very skilled side and are tough to beat. But yet again our character and desire to win the game was outstanding.
With Ferguson and Manning out with injuries we had to slot Sherwood and Stormer into the middle - and they grab their opportunities All the girls pulled through. Some of the saves made by keeper Frankie Gibbs were out of this world.
“We have another tough challenge next vs Lewes on their patch and they will be fighting for points as they are at the wrong end of the table. But we will stay focused and keep our momentum going as everything is in our hands now.”
Team: Frankie Gibbs, Chantelle Mackie, Dionne Lennon (C), Natalie Grafton, Francesca Strugnell, Ciara Sherwood, Rebecca Stormer, Dayna Chong (Josie Elliot, 55’), Shauni Griffiths (Lucy Malyon, 70’), Abigail Igbavboia, Emma Whitter. Sub unused: Alicia Ferguson

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