London Bees recorded their first victory of the season in WSL 2 as a late Nicola Watts penalty sealed victory over Millwall Lionesses.
Jo Wilson opened the scoring after just nine minutes when the forward coolly dinked the goalkeeper on the periphery of the penalty area. Not long after the post and crossbar were struck by Nicola Watts and Fliss Gibbons, Naomi Cole equalised with a free-kick taken from the left touchline.
Wilson was then brought down in the box by Sarah Quantrill with seconds remaining and referee Michael Heavey pointed to the spot. Nicola Watts took the spot kick and converted to provide her club with a crucial victory.
Wilson’s goal threat proving vital again
The visitors were enjoying a bright start to the season under new manager Rebecca Sawiuk, going into this encounter unbeaten in the WSL. A heavily changed team to the one that drew at Yeovil on Sunday endured a tough start at The Hive though as Jo Wilson broke the deadlock just nine minutes into proceedings.
The striker had already shown promise in her short time in an amber shirt having scored a sublime volley and won a penalty in the club’s meeting with Watford Ladies last month. The former QPR woman dispatched the first chance of the game ineffably as she collected a superb pass before delicately lifting the ball over an onrushing Sarah Quantrill.
Lionesses looked to respond
Midfielder Ciara Sherwood alluded to the club’s disappointing record against the Bees before kick-off and her team-mates valiantly attempted to ensure that a first league win over their London rivals remained a possibility on Wednesday. Amber Gaylor battled well on her first appearance back at The Hive to construct Millwall’s first chance of the evening but a poor touch allowed the ‘keeper to block her shot before Sophie Fogarty remarkably cleared her lines to prevent a certain equalizer.
Wayward shots from both teams followed in a closely contested first-half, performances perhaps epitomising why these clubs were separated by just a point last season. Only Wilson’s strike proved to be the difference when the referee signaled for the interval, which was immediately met by treatment for an injured Emily Heaslip.
Naomi Cole equalises from free-kick
The full-back was subsequently replaced by Lilli Maple during the break and the England under-19 international was able to test Harris just minutes after the restart as she evaded two challenges before forcing the ‘keeper low to her right. Nicola Watts was inches away from doubling her side’s advantage with a long-range free-kick but the crossbar came to Quantrill’s rescue. The woodwork was rattled once more, this time by Millwall’s Fliss Gibbons as her curling effort struck the post.
The latter did not prove costly however as, just past the hour mark, the visitors levelled through a Naomi Cole free-kick. The set-piece appeared to pose no threat with Cole located close to the halfway line but her cross was evaded by all before it settled into the bottom corner.
Last minute penalty ensures Bees victory
Yet another draw appeared to be on the horizon for these two but, in the dying embers of the game, Jo Wilson was brought down by Sarah Quantrill in the box. The referee awarded the penalty and Quantrill's misery was confounded as she was sent the wrong way by a calm Nicola Watts.
Emma Beckett was kind enough to speak to VAVEL after the game. The midfielder proclaimed: "The win has been a long time coming. I think we have been unlucky in other games and we should have more on the board than we have already.
"The win is huge! There are a lot of new people to have come in so we're still finding our feet but I think the signs are encouraging.
"We have a great cohesion and everyone believes in one another, it is a really good thing to have. We aim to kick on from here but there is a long way to go."
London Bees go on to face Everton Ladies this Sunday while a defeated Millwall host Yeovil next.