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Women's Football News
Reading FC Women 3 Millwall Lionesses 0
Reading ended Millwall Lionesses' 100% start to the Southern Division season with an excellent performance ending in a 3-0 victory at the Royals' Tadley home.
Millwall with five straight league victories but, missing their leading scorer Emma Whitter through suspension, were rarely able to trouble a dominant Reading defence whilst the Royals attacked with pace and invention and rarely gave Dionne Lennon and her fellow defenders a moments rest. The woodwork was struck twice and keeper Frankie Gibbs made several good saves to keep the score down to three.
Fran Kirby set the tone for the match in the second minute, weaving through the defence to place a shot against the inside of the post and back across goal. Stacie Donnelly and Becky Jane were denied by Gibbs, the second a fine block from an angled shot. Millwall were competing well, seeing plenty of posession but were restricted to two long range efforts wide of Grace Moloney's goal as the half drew to a close. It was Kirby with a run to the line and low cross who set up Reading's 40th minute opener, a simple finish for Alice Palmer on the far post.
Kirby was inches wide within ten seconds of the restart and Reading dominated even more as he second half developed. Gibbs held another Kirby drive, Rosanna Lane was wide with a header from a corner, then
Donnelly had a 20-yard effort well held. It was Lois Roche who got the crucial second after Kirby had been brought down wide on the left. Her high curling 30-yard free kick on 63 minutes was perfectly struck and left Gibbs helpless as it found the top right corner of the goal.
Millwall were making little headway and always looked vulnerable to the wide play of Kirby and Palmer. Kirby, with a solo run from halfway, cut in and rattled the inside of the far post for a second time on 71 minutes. The interplay between the Reading attackers was also impressive, none more so than in the move for the third goal. Roche threaded a pass in to Kirby on the edge of the area and she shifted the ball to beat a defender before slipping a pass to Palmer who tucked away an angled shot at full stretch past Gibbs on 80 minutes.
Millwall fought on to the end and had their best effort right on the final whistle. Abi Igbavboia, who had worked very hard up front for the Lionesses, drew a fine save from Moloney to push away a shot destined for the bottom corner. Millwall, who narrowly escaped relegation last season, were second best on the day to a dynamic team performance from Reading but remain top of the Southern Division table with today's opponents, West Ham and Brighton in pursuit.
Reading FC Women: Grace Moloney, Stacey Wiggins, Harriet Scott, Stacie Donnelly, Beth Donovan, Rosanna Lane, Alice Palmer, Charlotte Chard, Becky Jane, Lois Roche, Fran Kirby. Subs: Melissa Fletcher, Emma Jones, Jasmine Brewster.
Millwall Lionesses: Frankie Gibbs, Elie Manning, Fran Strugnell, Alicia Ferguson, Dionne Lennon, Jo Woodgates, Shauni Griffiths, Ciara Sherwood, Nicha Dyett, Abi Igbavboia, Kayleigh Xidhas. Subs: Nikki Payne, Abby Dawson, Josie Elliot.
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
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