Millwall Lionesses 3 Lowestoft Ladies 0
After a fantastic cup run, doing themselves and the club proud along the way; Lowestoft Ladies bow out of the FA Cup with a 3-0 defeat at Millwall.
On behalf of the team and myself, I would like to sincerely thank all of the fans who travelled to Sunday’s game. They represented approximately half of the total spectators present and were without doubt the more vocal in giving the team great support.
To be able to go into big games like this with that kind of support is incredibly uplifting and it was great to see all the team go over to show their appreciation at the end of the game, as we are all indebted to them for making the long journey and getting behind the team in such a positive way. We really are all very grateful, as you were all superb.
Lowestoft knew the task facing them was huge as they looked to beat Woman’s Super League opposition. Millwall had only 3 days earlier played Chelsea, who are one of the top 3 or 4 female teams in the country and went down only 2-1 with the winner being scored in the very last minute.
It was Lowestoft who started the brightest and were probing away deep in the Millwall half looking to create an opening. Hannah Waters was giving the Millwall defence plenty to think about and saw her first effort blocked on the edge of the area and following really good build up play, Paige Shorten saw her spectacular effort go over the bar.
Millwall had now settled down and were beginning to impose themselves on the game with lots of quality in all areas, particularly from the industrious Lily Agg who gave a commanding performance and showed herself to be a player of the highest quality. However, Lowestoft continued to press hard in all areas of the field and looked threatening when on the break.
On the half hour mark Millwall got the all important first goal when the effort from Millie Billson managed to squirm its way underneath the unfortunate Chloe Pierce in the Lowestoft goal for 1-0.
The big moment of the half came just before half time when Natasha Thomas got beyond the Millwall back four but the ball would not quite come down quickly enough for her to get a clean strike on goal and her effort was partially parried by the Millwall defender.
Just sixty seconds later Lowestoft found themselves 2-0 down when Chloe Pierce's attempted pass out to Marcie Prettyman was intercepted by the Millwall left winger Rinsola Babajide, who slotted the ball into the empty net to double her sides lead.
The second half saw Lowestoft come out with renewed belief and determination, showing they have all the right attributes to progress further within the women's pyramid with a very spirited performance and in the words of Mick Chapman, displayed "big hearts".
Natasha Thomas and Paige Shorten were a constant threat to the Millwall defence and Hannah Waters worked tirelessly up top. At the back the whole defence were exceptional and led by Kate Pasque who was undoubtedly Player of the Match, giving one of the performances of the season with ninety minutes of 100% focus, commitment and intensity and showing a never say die attitude. This young lady has come a long way in just over a season and a half and every team needs a player of her stature as she instils so many important qualities into her team mates.
The final goal of the game came four minutes from time and was harsh on the Lowestoft team but a willingness to try and take the game to Millwall and the onset of fatigue meant gaps started to appear which Millwall exploited to make the final score 3-0.
Whilst the magnificent achievements in the FA Cup have come to and end for this season, Lowestoft can take great heart as they bowed out with enormous credit having shown they not only have real quality in the team but a real desire to never give up and fight for the whole ninety minutes, which will stand them in good stead.
The FA Cup provides teams like Lowestoft with the opportunity to play Woman’s Super League teams and the lessons learnt in defeat will be of greater benefit in many respects than all the victories gained thus far this season.
No praise is high enough for this fantastic group of players and I hope they are all proud of themselves, because they really should be as everyone gave everything and the team spirit after the game was brilliant. They know they have the ability to improve a lot more yet, especially when all players get real self belief and it’s been a privilege to share with them their achievements so far.
As a team we would like to thank the Millwall players for all of their nice comments to our players after the game and we wish them all the very best in the next round and for the rest of the season.
There’s also a lot more to look forward to, starting this Sunday with a very important league match against table topping Colchester and trying to secure promotion remains the team’s number one priority. There is also a league cup semi final against Great Shelford and a county cup semi final against Ipswich Town on Sunday 15th March to look forward to. So we need to maintain the focus and commitment from Sunday’s game and treat every match in the same way as we did against Millwall.