By Jeff Burnige
Result: Saltdean United 3-2 Millwall Lionesses
MILLWALL Lionesses went down to a controversial 3-2 defeat at Saltdean United last Sunday.
In very warm south -coast conditions and in front of a sizeable crowd, the Lionesses were looking certain to score an equaliser in the 70th minute, when the Saltdean players were getting tired and niggly. Millwall substitute Grace Laverick, on her competitive debut, was shoved off the ball, and when she shoved back, there was a skirmish which resulted in two yellow cards for Saltdean and inexplicably a red for Laverick.
Millwall seem likely to lodge an appeal, but the damage was done, and although the ten players kept trying for an equaliser, it just would not come.
The Lionesses had started the game very slowly, and their defensive high line had allowed two goals from one-on-ones with goalkeeper Darcy Guy, scored by Saltdean’s Molly Hill and Paula Howells.
Millwall promptly brought on centre-back Poppy Payne, who was returning from a hamstring issue, and this threat was completely nullified.
A bizarre headed own goal made it 3-0, but the Lionesses set about saving the game and Emma Whitter added another two goals to add to last week’s brace, so the equaliser looked imminent before the red card made it more difficult.
Liv McGregor was causing all sorts of problems down the left, and the centre-back partnership of Payne and Sophie Chapman was looking impressive.
This result was a setback so early in the new league campaign, but this Sunday against Dartford at St Paul’s Millwall will hope to have injured skipper Grace Seely and suspended midfielder Melissa Jones back available.
The squad trained at The Den again this week, this time in the dome alongside, and the match at Salter Road is scheduled for 1.30 kick-off.