Current holders Arsenal end Millwall’s FA Cup dreams
Millwall Lionesses endured a tough 90 minutes in the FA Cup Fifth Round against current holders and nine time champions Arsenal Ladies at The Den.
The visitors went on the offensive straight from the kick-off with midfielder Jordan Nobbs twice drawing good saves from Lionesses keeper Frankie Gibbs in the opening five minutes.
Natalia Pablos Sanchon went closer still, striking the woodwork with a low effort, before turning provider for Danielle Carter to head the Gunners ahead after just 18 minutes.
At the other end Frankie Strugnell played a neat ball into the path of Rinsola Babajide, but the pacey forward’s tremendous run was closed down by Gunners’ captain Alex Scott.
It was Carter’s turn to hit the crossbar on 20 minutes with a strike from 18 yards but Leanne Sanderson made no mistake four minutes later, poking home a tap in for 2-0 after great work by Carla Humphrey.
Arsenal’s Carter hit the crossbar once again shortly before the half hour mark, while Lily Agg was unlucky not to cut the deficit soon after with a half-volley that flashed just wide of Emma Byrne’s far post.
Millwall’s Gibbs did well to keep out Humphrey’s goalbound effort on 38 minutes, but the visitors secured a comfortable half-time lead when Nobbs fired home on the rebound three minutes later.
With one eye on next week’s WSL 2 clash with Everton at The Den, Millwall manager Dan Mlinar made two changes at the break, introducing Shirvae Edwards and Chantelle Mackie for Agg and Megan Goss.
As a consequence the Lionesses started the second half stronger than the first with Edwards adding an injection of pace to the right flank. Indeed the substitute came close to scoring on 47 minutes with a well struck effort that shaved the bar.
Two minutes later Sanderson sent a powerful drive fizzing over before Carter added her second and Arsenal’s fourth in the 52nd minute. The striker collected a long ball forward and placed a neat finish inside the keeper’s bottom corner.
The Gunners fifth followed three minutes later as Spanish forward Pablos Sanchon smashed Carter’s dangerous cross home. She then claimed an assist, setting-up Humphrey in the 76th minute to make it 6-0 from six yards out.
Arsenal wrapped up the win five minutes from time when Carter completed an impressive hat-trick with a composed finish. The Gunners ruthless performance suggests it will take something special to wrestle the Cup from their grasp this year.
Millwall: Gibbs, Cowan, Strugnell, Lennon, Cole, Fisk, Sherwood (Albert, 59mins), Agg (Mackie, 46mins), Goss (Edwards, 46mins), Babajide, Billson. Subs not used: Quantrill.
Arsenal Ladies: Byrne, Scott, Mitchell, Stoney, Losada (Williamson 63), Rose, Nobbs, Pablo Sanchon (Clarke 83), Humphrey (Oliver 83), Sanderson, Carter. Subs not used: Chamberlain, Hassall.