Sawiuk hails impressive victoryMillwall Lionesses maintained a 100% winning record under manager Rebecca Sawiuk with a hard-earned 2-1 SSE Women's FA Cup victory at WPL Midlands table-toppers Loughborough Foxes on Sunday.
The away side required extra-time to win the tie 2-1, which came courtesy of goals from Naomi Cole and Dan Carlton, though a late reply from Millie Chandharana set up a nervy finale.
Sawiuk handed debuts to new signings Billie Brooks, Megan Wynne and Leigh Nicol, and two of those were involved after 10 minutes when Cole's long pass was latched onto by Brooks, who challenged Foxes keeper Amy Edwards. Wynne rolled the loose ball into the empty net only for the referee to blow for a foul on Edwards.
The best chance of the first half-four fell to Dawn Mallett as she broke through the home defence, cut inside and shot over the bar with team-mate Carlton well placed closer to goal.
It wasn't long before the Lionesses had another opportunity to take the lead as Nicol's 25-yard effort was pushed onto the bar by Edwards, and on the follow up the new recruit could only head into the keeper's arms.
Sawiuk's side were straight on the attack early on in the second-half with Edwards pulling off a fantastic save low to her right to deny substitute Ashlee Hincks' dipping volley, and moments later her corner bounced inside the box before being headed off the line.
The woodwork denied the Lionesses once more in the 75th minute as sub Emily Heaslip drove a clearance against the post and yet again shortly after as Hincks' 20-yard shot bounced off the crossbar.
With the score level after 90 minutes the game headed into extra-time and it didn't take the Lionesses long to find that all-important opener as Cole got forward down the left before a curling a right-footed effort past Edwards and into the net.
The away side then doubled their advantage in the 102nd minute as Carlton volleyed Hincks' cross home.
A late defensive lapse allowed Chandharana to bundle a cross past Lionesses keeper Sarah Quantrill to give the home side hope of taking the tie to penalties, but the visitors clung on to book their place in the fifth round draw.
"The opposition made things really difficult for us," boss Sawiuk told millwallfc.co.uk.
"We had the lion's share of possession throughout and created around 20 chances inside the first 90 minutes. On another day the result would have looked very different.
"Loughborough defended for their lives and you have to give credit to their goalkeeper, who had a very special game.
"But a lot of the Lionesses impressed me today with their work rate, desire and commitment. They took on board key messages at half-time and ahead of extra-time, and both of our goals were excellent finishes.
"Everyone at the club holds this Cup competition in high regard and we are looking forward to seeing who we will play next when Monday's draw is made."
Millwall Lionesses: Quantrill, Brooks, Robe, Fisk, Cole, Wynne, Maple, Carlton, Nicol, Mallett, Gibbons. Subs: Strugnell, Heaslip, Loomes, Sherwood, Hincks
Report by Jamie Howlett
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