Brave Villa Downed By Second Half Strikes
Aston Villa Ladies showed plenty of character and quality against high flyers Millwall Lionesses in their Women's Super League Two clash but were ultimately undone by two second half goals
Two second half strikes from Charlotte Devlin proved decisive as Aston Villa Ladies fell to a 2-0 defeat against Millwall Lionesses at The Lamb.
The home side had their high-flying opponents on the back foot for large parts of the match and were unlucky not to be ahead in a cagey first half when Ebony Salmon saw her low drive tipped wide by a superb save.
And Millwall had their top scorer to thank for digging them out of a tight spot when Devlin opened the scoring with 20 minutes left before she killed the game off in stoppage time.
The result leaves Iain Sankey’s side second bottom of Women’s Super League Two ahead of a return to FA Cup action against Sunderland next weekend.
Millwall came into the game unbeaten in their eight league matches this season and they started confidently, penning Villa back into their own half.
But despite dominating territory, Sian Rogers was called into action only once during the first 20 minutes, making a simple save from Megan Wynne’s tame strike.
The hosts were enjoying their own forays forward and came close to the opening goal when Beth Merrick’s free-kick eluded everyone and was only stopped by a smart reaction save from Sarah Quantrill.
An ultra-competitive match was short on clear cut chances until five minutes before half-time, when Villa were denied only by a top class save from the visiting keeper.
Birthday girl Jodie Hutton sent a perfectly weighted lobbed pass in behind the Millwall back four and after running onto the ball, Salmon fired an effort toward the bottom corner.
Just as the home faithful were about to celebrate the opener, Quantrill produced a fabulous fingertip stop to divert the ball wide of the post.
In contrast to a tight first 45 minutes, the second half burst into life immediately with Salmon firing narrowly over before Rogers came to Villa’s rescue with a superb stop.
The keeper stood her ground well as Wynne bore down on goal, blocking the midfielder’s snap shot.
Salmon was proving a handful for the Millwall defence and she found herself unmarked at the back post as the game ticked past the hour mark, but she could only send her header into the arms of Quantrill.
Just as the home side were establishing themselves as the dominant force in the match, they were hit by a sucker punch.
As Villa scrambled to clear their lines, the ball fell to Devlin on the edge of the box and Millwall’s top scorer in the league this season picked out the top corner with a clinical finish.
The goal rocked the hosts and they would have been two down had Rogers not produced a great reaction stop to deny Amber Gaylor’s fierce half-volley.
Villa attacked with renewed vigour in the search for an equaliser, with Elisha N’dow and Salmon sending dangerous crosses across the face of goal.
But it was the away side who came closest to scoring in the closing minutes as sub Rianna Dean flicked Devlin’s cross onto the post.
And the Londoners made sure of all three points in stoppage time when Devlin tapped home her second of the game.
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