Millwall Lionesses 0-4 Yeovil Town: Three late goals seal victory for the visitors at the Den

Ann-Marie Heatherson, Helen Bleazard and Sarah Wiltshire all found the net as Yeovil Town put four past Millwall Lionesses at The Den on a baffling  Saturday evening for the home supporters.

Glovers break the deadlock - against the run of play

Millwall started on the front foot, pushing Yeovil back from the outset, but the first half chance of the game fell to the visitors, with Hannah Short volleying over the bar at a corner.

However, the hosts continued to pry for an opening as Lucy Loomes fired wide after a one-two with Lilli Maple. The hosts were seeing more of the ball, but Yeovil were looking to hit them on the break. Naomi Cole could only clear a Bleazard cross as far as Wiltshire, allowing the crafty attacker to cut into the box and lash a powerful shot at goal, which Sarah Quantrill tipped over.

Maple then had to clear the ball off of the line from the resulting corner after Nicola Cousins had tried to side-foot it into the net.

Attack lead to counter attack as Millwall had their own chance from a corner, but the short routine ended with Dan Carlton only being able to fire into the side-netting.

Millwall were looking the more likely to break the deadlock, but they were all build-up and couldn’t find a final ball to beat the Yeovil defence. Although they couldn’t find a way through, the Lionesses were putting in a shift across the pitch though, always hunting the ball down, breaking up attacks, blocking and intercepting the visitors.

The opening goal came moments before half-time, and it came against the run of play. Ellie Curson picked Bleazard out and the attacker rounded Quantrill to slide the ball into the open net – Leighanne Robe chasing back but getting only a faint and meaningless touch on the ball as both she and the shot rolled into the waiting net.

The goal came at the worst possible time for the hosts. Maple tried to fashion something before the whistle, but her pass towards Fliss Gibbons was just too heavy and gratefully collected by Charlotte Haynes as Yeovil went in with a half time lead.

Robe stretching every sinew to prevent the opening goal
Robe stretching every sinew to prevent the opening goal.

Rejuvenated Yeovil take charge of the second half

The hosts started the second half stronger, seeing more of the ball as Millwall still looked unseated by the goal they conceded just before the break. Wiltshire remained an ever present threat for the Lady Glovers out on the left, but Robe did well to limit her options and Leanne Cowan provided additional cover.

Both teams upped the tempo as they searched for a goal to break the second half deadlock. The Lionesses closed down any space in midfield, restricting the visitors as at the other end, while the Yeovil defence stayed tough, not letting anything through.

Yeovil doubled their advantage 70 minutes in when Heatherson unleashed an effort from 25 yards out, her shot arrowing past Quantrill and into the top corner; a goal out of the top drawer from the veteran striker.

The game wore on as Millwall tried to find the right string of passes to cut open the Yeovil defence, but the visitors were still battling and creating against a side starting to tire and lose focus.

Another chance for the Lady Glovers saw Wiltshire’s free kick dropped by Quantrill under pressure, but Natasha Knapman could only volley onto the bar from close range. Another opportunity resulted in Cousins heading wide following a Curson cross. Chance after chance in quick succession came for the visitors, and they finally made one count with less than 10 minutes to play. Wiltshire’s deep cross to the back post found Knapman who drew a fantastic save from Quantrill, however Heatherson continued her untracked run to head the parried ball right past the 'keeper.

Two more chances came in just two minutes for Yeovil. First, Nadia Lawrence's cross for Knapman was volleyed well off target, then Wiltshire set up Heatherson once more, the striker firing wide on the turn.

At the other end Megan Wynne, who’d been Millwall’s brightest spark all game, was still battling hard, trying to find a goal. Wriggling free of her marker and chopping into the box before unleashing a curler past two defenders, she was only denied by Haynes with a smart save. The goalkeeper then sparked a counter-attack with her long ball finding Wiltshire. The tireless attacker let the ball drop before taking it on the half-volley, 20-yards out, and thundering it over Quantrill into the back of the net for Yeovil’s fourth.

There was concern for the Lionesses late in the game as Carlton who, like Wynne, had been driving her team forward all game, went down off the ball and had to be stretchered off. There has not yet been any official word from either the club or player as to the nature of the problem. But it’s never good to see a player unable to continue in such a manner.

One of Millwall's many uninspired corners
One of Millwall's many uninspired corners

Yeovil claim top spot

Once again this year, Yeovil left it late to confirm the win. Eight of the Lady Glovers’ eleven goals this season have come well after the hour mark, and wearing teams down and not relenting sees them move top of WSL 2, for now. They say that the best teams always find a way, and Yeovil are most certainly finding a way at the moment.

After playing three matches in six days, Jamie Sherwood’s side will have to wait two and a half weeks before they play again. In what could be a season-defining game, they welcome Bristol City to Huish Park on May 19.

While Yeovil were clinical, Millwall were not. So much from the Lionesses was just too high or just too wide, or it was a case of a smart ball in with no one making a matching run. 10 corners came for the home team, but not one was attacked with real purpose.

Rebecca Sawiuk set her team up smartly as they reduced the space for Yeovil. The team worked as one to stop attacks at the source and then try to hit back at the opposition, but for one reason or another, they so very blunt when and where it mattered. The scoreline undoubtedly flatters the visitors and tells you nothing of the game, nothing about all that Millwall did right throughout the 90 minutes, but the Lionesses presented no real goal-threat in the game.