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Yeovil Town 1 Millwall Lionesses 0
Yeovil Town signed off their home Southern Division campaign with a single goal victory over leaders Millwall Lionesses at Wells.
Such has been their involvement in various Cup competitions, this was Yeovil's first League match of 2013 and a Grace Rapp goal allowed the Glovers to record their fifth straight home League victory. The defeat, coupled with Reading's victory at West Ham, narrows the Lionesses' lead to four points having played two games more than the Royals.
A home win looked less than likely in a first half which saw Millwall carve out several clear cut chances. Emma Whitter gave the Yeovil defence a severe test throughout the opening period, having a shot wellheld by Beth Howard in the fifth minute and breaking clear on the right to pull the ball back for Ciara Sherwood to fire over from 12 yards out. Nat Grafton headed over from a Shauni Griffiths corner then another corner bounced off the top of the bar as the Yeovil goal led a charmed life.
In reply, Laura Bray and Katie Cook got in some good early crosses from wide positions, one from Cook troubling Millwall keeper Frankie Gibbs who saved bravely at the second attempt. On 34 minutes Millwall thought they had taken the lead when a free kick was headed back by Abi Igbavboia for Dionne Lennon to sweep home, but the forward was deemed to have been offside.
Rapp made an excellent run down the right on a counter attack and her cross caused the Millwall defence real problems before Justine Lorton fired over the bar as Yeovil headed for the break on the back of a more convincing spell,but, in truth, they were somewhat fortunate to be on level terms.
Millwall's collection of near misses grew on 48 minutes when Whitter was fouled about 20 yards out. Francesca Strugnell curled the ball against the bar from the resulting free kick with Howard beaten.
Yeovil made the crucial breakthrough on 53 minutes. A Justine Lorton corner was cleared as far as Michelle Keehan 30 yards out and the full back threaded a low pass into the area and Rapp, showing good movement and anticipation, nipped behind her defender to slip the ball past Gibbs.
Yeovil visibly grew in confidence from that moment on. With Lorton, Kirsty Whitton and Jade Radburn orchestrating control of midfield and Cook and Bray increasingly dominant on the flanks, the Glovers put the pressure on a very solid Millwall defence. Whilst very few clear cut opportunities arose, the same could be said at the other end as Millwall were prevented from creating any more openings. Yeovil nearly doubled their advantage when a move invoving Radburn and Rapp gave Bray a far post heading chance which she was just unable to keep down. Millwall created one final oment of danger which was expertly defended by Keehan before the final whistle confirmed the Yeovil win.
Having rewarded the home supporters with a hard fought win and every spectator with an Easter chocolate treat, Yeovil now go on their travels with matches against all the other sides above them and the chance to take a top three spot, starting with a visit to Reading next week. Millwall have a crucial home match against Reading on 14th April which may well be decisive in the battle for the title.
Yeovil Town: Beth Howard, Mich Keehan, Rachael Edwards, Rosie Williams, Emma Brazell, Jade Radburn, Kirsty Whitton, Justine Lorton, Katie Cook, Laura Bray, Grace Rapp. Subs: Nadine Grogan, Jodi Cornwall, Shannon Osman.
Millwall Lionesses: Francesca Gibbs, Chantelle Mackie, Natalie Grafton, Dionne Lennon, Francesca Strugnell, Ciara Sherwood, Shauni Griffiths, Rebecca Stormer, Abigail Igbavboia, Alicia Ferguson, Emma Whitter. Subs: Danya Chong, Lucy Malyon, Josie Elliott.
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
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