This game today is likely to be the start of a rather busy week for me. Easington have games on both Tuesday and Thursday so I’ll definitely be at both of them. I’m more or less definitely going to be at Horden CW on Wednesday night, and I’ll be at Newcastle Eagles basketball on Friday night before a trip to Alnwick Town next Saturday. Although I probably won’t, I could end up at a game tomorrow night too. Alike many of the teams in WSL2, I’ve seen Millwall visit Durham on a number of occasions. This was the fourth time I’ve watched Durham host the Lionesses. I’ve also seen Millwall away to Sunderland in what was my first ever Sunderland Ladies game. When I found out that Millwall were under the threat of administration last week, I was shocked. That should never be happening in the second tier of football – regardless of whether it’s men or women. As they’ve shown in the past year, they’re a very good side. If they were to enter administration and the worst was to happen, it would be a huge miss for women’s football.
Durham end Millwall unbeaten run with victory at New Ferens Park
Durham Women ended Millwall Lionesses’ 19 league game unbeaten run with a 2-1 win at New Ferens Park on Sunday afternoon.
Millwall hadn’t lost a league game since Bristol City got the better of them in March 2017, but goals from Zoe Ness and Emily Roberts ensured the Wildcats ended that run.
Ness fired Durham into a sixth minute lead on her 50th appearance for the club, but Millwall equalised through Ellie Mason in the 19th minute.
Roberts’ impressive strike restored Durham’s lead just before the break, and the Wildcats deservedly took all three points.
Durham broke the deadlock with their first chance in only the sixth minute. Abi Cottam burst down the wing before whipping a cross into the penalty area. Billie Brooks looked to clear, but her header fell straight to Ness. With the ball at her feet, Ness drilled a first time half volley into the bottom corner to give Durham the perfect start.
Cottam forced a save from Sarah Quantrill in the 12th minute, before Quantrill produced another save two minutes later to prevent Ness.
With their first real chance, Millwall pulled level. A deep free-kick was flicked onto the back post where Megan Alexander looped a cross to the edge of the penalty area. Mason watched the ball drop her way, and the former Watford Ladies midfielder connected perfectly with a first time volley to pick out the bottom corner.
Now level, Millwall fancied their chances.
Helen Alderson’s bravery prevented the Lionesses from taking the lead in the 22nd minute later. A simple ball played Rianna Dean in, but Alderson came charging off her line to prevent Dean.
On the half hour mark, the crossbar came to Durham’s saviour. Brooks’ long free-kick found Dean and her clever volley on the turn had Alderson beaten. Thankfully for Durham, Dean’s effort bounced back off the crossbar.
Charlotte Devlin forced a save from Alderson in the 34th minute, before a crucial block prevented Brooks.
Durham’s Lauren Briggs fired well over in the 36th minute, before Millwall were fortunate not to have goalkeeper Quantrill sent off. Ness burst through on goal, and she looked to round Quantrill. In an attempt to stop Ness, Quantrill handled the ball outside of the penalty area and she was fortunate to only see yellow.
Just before the break, Roberts regained Durham’s lead. Having latched onto a Beth Hepple flick, the former Doncaster Rovers Belles forward took the ball down before lifting a volley over Quantrill and into the far corner.
Following the break, Quantrill saved a Hepple effort, before Roberts’ effort was also saved.
Another save once again prevented Hepple in the 63rd minute, and Cottam was next to see her effort be saved by Quantrill.
Although Durham were creating chances, Millwall were still dangerous. With 25 minutes to play, substitute Ashlee Hincks beat the offside trap but her attempted lob dipped over the crossbar.
With both sides tiring, the game began to slow down. Half chances fell the way of Sarah Robson and Roberts for the hosts, but neither could convert.
Fine saves from Quantrill prevented both Ness and Cottam as the game approached its final 10 minutes.
Despite Millwall pushing forward, they failed to create any chances late on and Durham deservedly took all three points.
Full-time: Durham Women 2-1 Millwall Lionesses
Next up for me is probably Esh Winning vs Easington Colliery on Tuesday night.
Durham Women: Alderson, Johnson, Hill, Wilson (c), Salicki, Robson, Hepple, Briggs (Lee, 70′), Roberts (Gears, 74′), Cottam (Atkinson, 86′), Ness
Unused subs: Borthwick, McCatty, Christon
Millwall Lionesses: Quantrill, Brooks, Butler (Giddings, 70′) (c), Robe, Alexander, Nicol, Wynne (Cowan, 57′), Mason, Gaylor (Hincks, 46′), Devlin, Dean
Unused sub: Wotton
Admission: £5 adults, £2 concessions
Teamsheet: Free with programme
Can of Coke: £1
Referee: David Holbrook