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Women's Football News
Yeovil Town 1 (Knapman 20) Millwall Lionesses 0
Yeovil Town, watched by a record attendance of 722, maintained their third place in WSL 2 with a 1-0 victory over Millwall Lionesses in their second ever competitive match at Yeovil Town's men's team home, Huish Park.
A single Natasha Knapman goal does not tell the story of a first half bombardment of the visitors, with Millwall keeper Sarah Quantrill making a string of fine saves and the woodwork taking a battering. Millwall regrouped well after the break but a strong performance from the Yeovil back four kept their chances to a minimum and condemned the Lionesses to a fourth straight defeat.
Quantrill was busy from the off, tipping over a shot and palming away the resulting corner. Nicola Cousins, who was excellent throughout, had a header inches wide from a Corinne Yorston corner on five minutes. The Millwall defence was stretched on both wings as crosses rained in, Quantrill taking responsibility on three occasions to clear, then tipping over at full stretch a 25-yard effort from the returning Sarah Wiltshire who was taking up great positions out on the left.
Wiltshire set up the opening goal which rewarded a blistering start on 20 minutes, measuring a perfect cross for Knapman to head home at the far post.
Ann Marie Heatherson rattled the bar from distance before Wiltshire was ruled offside as she netted the rebound. Cousins was again very close as she judged a long through perfectly but was unable to hit the target with a header on 28 minutes.
Fliss Gibbons had a sight of Charlotte Haynes' goal in a breakaway, only to be shut down by the covering Helen Bleazard. but the rest of the half was one way traffic as Wiltshire ran riot.
On 43 minutes she hit the woodwork from distance and a minute later was denied from close range by Quantrill after another run. Millwall must have been relieved to reach half time with their chances of getting a result still intact.
Wiltshire was brought down by Naomi Cole when clear on goal on 46 minutes, one of three yellow cards issued to the visitors. In general, however, Millwall managed to bottle up Yeovil much more effectively after the break, simply by matching the home team's work rate. This allowed their own flair players to get on the ball more often, with better options going forward. Ashlee Hincks' through ball sent Gibbons clear on 57 minutes only for skipper Natalie Haigh to deny her with a fine interception.
Yeovil had their moments, Ellie Curson using the ball well in central midfield, Heatherson battling hard and new recruits Wiltshire and Samantha Quayle providing the width. However, few openings appeared and long shooting was no longer deadly accurate.
At the other end, the nearest Millwall came to an equaliser was a curling Gibbons effort which flew narrowly wide of Haynes' right hand post on 84 minutes and despite an improved Millwall showing, Yeovil saw out the match in relative comfort, despite the narrow margin of victory.
The majority of the crowd went home happy with the result and with memories of a thoroughly entertaining first half and good professional effort to ensure the victory from the home team, maintaining contact with the leading two clubs in WSL2.
Yeovil Town: Charlotte Haynes, Helen Bleazard, Nicola Cousins, Natalie Haigh, Corinne Yorston, Sammy Quayle (sub Alys Hinchcliffe 86mins), Stephanie Williams, Ellie Curson (sub Stacey Pearson 81mins), Sarah Wiltshire, Natasha Knapman (sub Shauna Cossens 60mins), Ann Marie Heatherson. Subs not used: Leah Burridge, Emily Donovan, Ebony Dover.
Millwall Lionesses: Sarah Quantrill, Leanne Cowan, Dionne Lennon, Naomi Cole, Frankie Strugnell, Ashlee Hincks, Danielle Carlton, Megan Goss (sub Jordan Butler 52mins), Lillie Billson (sub Ciara Sherwood 68mins), Fliss Gibbons, Rinsola Babajide (sub Francesca Ali 41mins). Subs not used: Frankie Gibbs, Lille Maple, Grace Fisk, Meghan McKeag.
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
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