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Report: Portsmouth 1 Millwall Lionesses 4

8 March 2015

Lillie Billson hits a hat-trick in FA Cup triumph

Billson's textbook treble paved the way for Dan Mlinar's Millwall side, who made sure of their place in the next round thanks to Frankie Strugnell's late free-kick.

A sensational hat-trick from Lillie Billson helped book Millwall Lionesses place in the FA Cup Fifth Round with an emphatic success against their Premier League opponents.

Manager Mlinar kept faith with the side that started the recent pre-season friendly with Arsenal, handing goalkeeper Frankie Gibbs her first competitive start of the season, while midfielder Lilly Maple made her return from injury on the substitute's bench.
The match got off to an even start with both sides enjoying plenty of possession, although the hosts edged the better of the goalmouth chances. 

Millwall's defenders did well to close down an early opening for Pompey's Chloe Dark, while a brace of early corners from Lucy Quinn and Charley Wilson came to nothing for the home side.

By contrast the Lionesses took the lead with their first chance of the match on 14 minutes. Rinsola Babajide sprung the offside trap and set up Billson, who curled a shot beyond keeper Sadie Blakely.

Portsmouth were unlucky not to level soon after when Frankie Gibbs cleared Jessica Frampton's corner via her own crossbar and the hosts were left to rue the missed opportunity moments later.

This time Lily Agg was the provider with a defence-splitting through ball that allowed Billson the space to slot home her second of the match and give Millwall a two-goal advantage with just 22 minutes on the clock.
Babajide was denied a third eleven minutes later as Blakely saved well from the young winger as she broke through one-on-one, before Portsmouth reduced the deficit six minutes before the break. Gemma-Louise Hiller collected the ball in midfield and made herself space before firing home from 25 yards out.

The hosts finished the half strongly with Hillier firing over and Gibbs saving well to keep out Wilson's late volley as Millwall went in with a 2-1 advantage at half-time.

The second period began in equally competitive fashion and it was Mlinar's side who restored their two-goal cushion courtesy of a stunning 30-yarder from Billson to complete her hat-trick on 50 minutes.

However, Pompey refused to lie down and came agonisingly close to clawing back a second goal six minutes later when sub Sarah Kempson’s free-kick was headed just over the bar by Wilson.

Former Lioness Leeta Rutherford did find the net for the hosts on 68 minutes but her effort was ruled out for an injury to Lily Agg who left the field shortly after on a stretcher.

Agg was replaced by Lilly Maple, while Mlinar also introduced Shirvae Edwards to the help shore up the midfield for the closing stages.

Indeed, Edwards almost extended Millwall's lead on 88 minutes but sadly she was unable to find the target from Naomi Cole's inviting cross.

The Lionesses wrapped up the win in injury-time as full-back Strugnell found the net with a 20-yard free-kick that came off the post and keeper before finding it's way over the line.
Moments later at the opposite end Gibbs produced another top draw save to keep out Kempson's last-gasp effort but the Lionesses had already put the result beyond doubt and now go into Monday's draw for Round Five, when all the WSL 1 sides enter the competition. 

Gibbs, Cowan, Lennon, Cole, Strugnell, Fisk, Agg (Maple, 72mins), Sherwood (Edwards, 70mins), Billson, Goss, Babajide (Albert, 85mins). Millwall Lionesses:Subs not used: Quantrill, Ali.

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