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Narrow defeat for Lionesses

13 July 2015

But boss takes heart from display at Villa

Two defeats in their last two matches has put a noticeable dent in the prospects of what looked to be a promising season for the Millwall Lionesses.

Following a six-week mid-season break they travelled north to take on Villa Ladies, whose erratic form so far this season sees them floating in mid-table just above The Lionesses.

It was Villa who took the early initiative, attacking in numbers and forcing the Lionesses onto the back foot. Full-back Hannah George saw her effort stopped by Sarah Quantrill in the Millwall goal, while Katie Wilkinson went close with a shot that just cleared the bar.

But Villa's persistence eventually paid off in the 28th minute. And it was Wilkinson again who showed her prowess in the area, driving the ball home after Millwall failed to clear a cross from Laura Cooper.

However, the goal had a galvanising effect on Millwall who finally managed to find a forward gear. For the rest of the first half, and well into the second, the Lionesses camped outside the Villa area. They dominated possession and went close to levelling on several occasions.

Lillie Bilson twice had shots blocked by Myers in the Villa goal, whilst a cannon from Ciara Sherwood ricocheted agonisingly off the crossbar.

However, the Lionesses were dealt a blow in the 75th minute when one of their key players, Naomi Cole, was carried off injured. Having already used their three subs, they were forced to carry on the fight with only ten players on the pitch.

Villa used the player advantage to good effect, counter-attacking aggressively and going close with several attempts. It was the goalscorer Wilkinson who, again, proved instrumental in breaching the Millwall defence. Her inch-perfect cross found Beth Merrick in the area, and she buried the ball into the back of the Millwall net to double their lead.

With their backs to the wall The Lionesses defended bravely but by now the odds were stacked decisively against them. Consolation came in the dying minutes when a corner kick found Lilli Maple, whose outstretched toe tapped the ball home for a well-deserved goal, and left the Lionesses on the wrong end of a 2-1 scoreline.

Despite losing the game, Lionesses manager Dan Mlinar remained upbeat about the teams performance.

"Even though we lost, I'm not disappointed at all. From the 30th minute onwards, it was probably one of our better performances of the season. If we can continue to play like that for the rest of the season, we should be able to pick up a few more points along the way."

For their next fixture The Lionesses travel to Somerset to face Yeovil Town Ladies, where they will be hoping to reverse the recent run of losses and rediscover the winning form they showed at the start of the season.

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