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All square in Den opener

28 April 2014

Millwall Lionesses 2 London Bees 2

Naomi Cole kept her cool to slot home a late penalty as Millwall Lionesses battled back from a goal - and player - deficit to earn a 2-2 Den draw with London Bees.

The Lionesses faced an uphill climb when, already trailing 2-1, Lillie Bilson was sent off for a second bookable offence with 25 minutes remaining.

However Alberto Kurti's side dug in and refused to give up, securing a deserved share of the spoils courtesy of Cole's 82nd-minute equaliser.

Kicking off their first home game at The Den, manager Kurti named an unchanged side from the XI that beat Durham 4-1 win away the previous week. 

The Lionesses started on the front foot and broke the deadlock after just 10 minutes when right-back Cole darted up the line and picked out midfielder Lily Agg, who slotted into the bottom corner.

With both teams playing a 4-3-3 formation, the battles started in the middle of the pitch, both teams working hard to keep the ball and put pressure on the other. Bees’ midfielder Wakefield was starting to get into the game and making decisive passes in an attempt to break the Millwall back line. 

The visitors hauled themselves level 12 minutes before the break with an effort from Gaynor to send the teams in on equal terms at the break.

London Bees looked a real threat in the opening exchanges of the second-half, during which Billson was shown a yellow card for a foul on Herson.

Boss Kurti made a change to try and liven up his charges with Shirvae Edwards replacing Griffiths out wide. The move nearly paid off instantly when Edwards played Cherelle Albert through on goal, but the striker's shot was saved by the Bees' keeper. 

The game had really opened up approaching the hour-mark and it was the visitors who edged ahead when midfielder Wakefield rose highest to head beyond keeper Sarah Quantrill and into the net.

Midfielder Lilli Maple came off with striker Kim Stenning introduced to the fray, but moments later Billson was shown a second yellow card for a late challenge on Hurley leaving the Lionesses facing an uphill challenge.

However the home side refused to be downbeat, regrouped and kept plugging away in search of a second equalising goal.

It duly arrived eight minutes from time when Agg weaved her way into the danger zone and was promptly sent tumbling by a clumsy tackle. The referee pointed to the spot and up stepped Cole to send the keeper the wrong way.

Rather than settle for a point, both Millwall and London Bees pushed forward in search of a match-winning goal before the referee brought proceedings to an end with a 2-2 scoreline.

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