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Chelsea 4 (Aluko 37, Brett 45, Ayane 78,84) Millwall Lionesses 0
Chelsea kept up their momentum in the Continental Cup Group stage with an emphatic win over Millwall Lionesses at Staines.
The WSL 2 side held out for 37 minutes before Eniola Aluko found the opener. A controversial second right on the break was a cruel blow from which the visitors never really recovered despite a hard working performance. Two further strikes from sub Rosella Ayane from excellent crosses from Danielle Buet on the right were the late icing on the cake for a Chelsea team where youth was very much to the fore.
The first half was a tight affair with the in-form Aluko a constant focal point for the host's best work. The sight of Claire Rafferty on the left was very welcome after her lengthy absence through injury. Atlanta Primus made her senior debut in the absence of Yuki Ogimi and Ji So-Yun and Jodie Brett was given a start in midfield.
Chelsea had a good early chance with Katie Chapman heading over when well placed but Millwall were giving a home defence plenty to think about. Christiane Endler tipped a Sophie Perry free kick round the post on 26 minutes and dealt impressively with a couple of dangerous crosses.
Primus set up Aluko's opener, winning a challenge and releasing the England striker to finish from a tight angle. The minute before the break was crucial, Endler reacting well to tip a Lily Agg header over the bar before Brett added the second with a cool finish past Frankie Gibbs, although the Millwall players were incensed that Brett appeared well offside when she received the ball.
Millwall rarely threatened after the break and Chelsea produced some flowing football to carve out a number of chances. Chapman headed over the bar again while Gibbs made fine saves from Jackie Groenen and Aluko. When the latter was withdrawn it seemed that Chelsea had settled for a comfortable win. However, Ayane, her replacement showed pace and a predatory instinct to twice meet whipped Buet crosses on the far post after lovely interplay had released the Blues' right back. However the best moment of the half was a lovely solo run and cross shot from Primus which crashed against the bar.
The result was a little harsh on the visitors who battled hard but struggled to create clear chances from open play. Chelsea must surely have been pleased withthe performance and composure shown by their young players.
Chelsea: Christiane Endler, Danielle Buet, Claire Rafferty (sub Laura Rafferty 57mins), Katie Chapman, Laura Bassett, Emma Wilhelmsson, Atlanta Primus, Laura Coombs (sub Jenna Dear 76mins), Eniola Aluko (sub Rosella Ayane 71mins), Jodie Brett, Jackie Groenen.
Millwall Lionesses: Frankie Gibbs, Naomi Cole, Sophie Perry, Leeta Rutherford, Kylie Davies, Dionne Lennon, Lilli Maple (sub Snezana Malesevic 68mins), Lily Agg, Kim Stenning (sub Emma Plewa 61mins), Cherrelle Albert (sub Angela Kiobel 56mins), Lillie Fenlon-Billson.
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
Photos by www.jamesprickett.co.uk:
(top) Atlanta Primus takes on Sophie Perry
(middle) Dionne Lennon battles with Jodie Brett
(bottom) Claire Rafferty tries to win the ball from Cherrelle Albert
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