But devastation for skipper Dionne
Watford 1 Millwall Lionesses 2
Substitute Stevie Lamb struck a late winner as Millwall Lionesses claimed their first victory of this season's FA WSL Continental Cup campaign, after coming from behind to win 2-1 at Watford.
Manager Alberto Kurti made four changes to the side that drew 0-0 at home to Doncaster Belles last week with Cherelle Albert, Shirvae Edwards, Frankie Strugnell and Leeta Rutherford making way for Ciara Sherwood, Snezana Malesevic, Sophie Perry and Meghan Mckeag. The game marked an important milestone for Meghan who was playing her first match of the season for the Lionesses first team after battling back from a knee injury.
Previous results meant that neither side can qualify for the semi-final stages of the tournament, but the win does lift the Lionesses off the bottom of Group One. Lamb's goal, scored with just seven minutes of the game remaining, will also give manager Kurti and the team confidence when the sides meet again at The Den, in FA WSL action later in the season.
After a quiet opening, Millwall's Lillie Billson came close to breaking the deadlock when her rising shot from the edge of the area bounced off the top of the bar. Within two minutes, the Lionesses were denied by the woodwork again as left back Meghan McKeag's shot struck the bar with Watford goalkeeper Shayla Burgess beaten.
With the game becoming more open, the challenges started to get heavier and in the 58th minute, Lionesses skipper Dionne Lennon was taken out by a rash tackle in the Lionesses half. It was deja vu for Millwall, who lost striker Emma Whitter to injury on the same ground earlier in the season, as Lennon was stretchered off with a broken leg. Watford took advantage of Lennon's absence and broke the deadlock just five minutes later as Megan Wynne turned the ball in from close range after Jo Wilson had flicked on Emma Beckett's long throw.
Millwall needed to get back into the game quickly and were behind for only six minutes, as striker Kim Stenning leveled matters halfway through the second half with a first-time effort that Burgess couldn't keep out. Asthe game swung back into the visitors’ favour, Millwall applied the pressure to Watford’s back line and the Lionesses claimed all three points when a superb cross-field pass by McKeag picked out substitute Lamb, who took it down excellently before finishing with real composure.
With the game ending 2-1, the Lionesses will take the confidence into next week’s Continental cup match against FA Cup winners Arsenal Ladies, which will be played next Sunday, 13th July with a 2pm kick-off at Beckenham Town.
Watford (4-2-3-1): Burgess, Mays, Gunn, Hector, Butterwick, Rowell, Green (Heaslip 79), Natkiel, Beckett, Wynne, Wilson
Subs not used: Zekai, Donnelly, Logie, Hill
Millwall Lionesses (4-3-3): Quantrill, Davies, Lennon (Lamb 58), Cole, McKeag, Maple, Billson, Malesevic (Rutherford 45), Sherwood (Agg 45), Perry, Stenning
Subs not used: Albert, Kiobel, Edwards, Strugnell
Referee: Tim Donnelan