Report: Reds Make Lions Roar

Worthing saw a 3-1 lead slip from their grasp as Millwall Lionesses scored twice in the last nine minutes to rescue a point.

Womens Full Time
3
Millwall Lionesses
3
Worthing
League Sunday 20th February, 2022

Becky Simmons came in for Keavy Price, who suffered a reaction to her knee in the warm-up, while Chloe Lelliott replaced the unavailable Sophie Humphrey and Amy Critchfield rejoined the substitutes.

Following the wind and rain in Fulham last week, it was just the wind that graced Bermondsey with its presence on Sunday. Albeit a rather strong one.

Something akin to it briefly held up play after only two minutes, as one of the Millwall coaches had to borrow Assistant Manager Kelly Newton’s pump to inject some much needed air into the match ball.

Although, it looked like he may have overdone it a tad when Ella Newman’s throw-in on the left quickly found Gemma Worsfold, who, in turn, supplied a centrally-placed Chloe Lelliott to blast over the bar from twenty yards.

No such problems occurred barely sixty seconds later, as Newman’s corner on the same side was met by the rising Worsfold; sending her header back towards the direction to whence it had come but nessling it nicely in the side netting, to open the scoring, instead.

However, that lead almost evaporated in an instant, thanks to a beautifully measured ball over the top putting Francis Kerr in the clear. Goalkeeper Lauren Dolbear out smartly to force an early effort that Kerr could only lob wide.

“Crisis” averted, the Newman/Worsfold partnership soon brought about a second goal of the match for both the visitors and their in-form number ten.

Newman playing an inch-perfect through ball down the inside-left channel for Worsfold to run onto, outmuscle opposing Captain Jordan Butler, then finishing emphatically into the roof of the net.

Shortly before half-time, the aftermath of Storm Eunice and the precursor to Storm Franklin posed problems for guest goalie Dolbear.

After initially doing well to palm out an awkward inswinging flag-kick by Vice-Captain Chloe Burr, the following flighted delivery from an identical position the other side resulted in the ball bouncing off the bar and landing at the feet of Butler. The Skipper making no mistake to leave both Managers needing to rethink their half-time team talks.

They nearly had to readjust their notes once more, with five minutes to go before the oranges could be distributed.

Alyssa Miranda bundled over Molly Thorns to offer Worthing a chance to re-establish a two-goal cushion. Katie Young stepped up and drove the subsequent free-kick narrowly past the post.

Suitably re-energised, the hour mark saw the next opportunity for either team to seize the initiative.

Firstly, a brave block by Lottie Ivison – on at the change of ends – prevented a Katie Cooper – likewise, at the same time, alongside Lucy Apps – piledriver getting any nearer the target.

Then, shortly afterwards, Milly Penfold conceded a free-kick for a foul on Newman who took it herself but sent it a fraction the wrong side of the back stick.

A decidedly ambitious attempt by Burr flew out for a throw and Chrissie Wiggins comfortably held a Young header from a Newman corner.

Two minutes later though, a deep free-kick by Young ended with Worsfold pouncing on an unfortunate glancing blow via the dome of Kaydence Kabadaki, towards her own ‘keeper, that Gemma redirected off the front of hers to seal her second hat-trick of the season.

It might have been four for a rampant visiting team, when Burr’s set-piece hit the defensive wall, allowing Worsfold to dispossess the Lioness and break clear; releasing Becs Bell. Only for the ball to eventually just run out of play and end a promising counter-attack.

A feeling of deja vu saw Worsfold experience matching emotions moments later, when Young won the ball back off Ivison, who had previously nicked it off Emily Linscer, then set Gemma free with a pass over the top of the host’s rearguard. Netminder Wiggins able to collect just before the forward could capitalise.

Bell then side-footed a decent opening wide from a distant angle, as Worsfold nearly turned provider thanks to a byline pullback.

Little more than ten to go and the number ten should really have put the game to bed; staying onside to receive Young’s lofted delivery but opting for a right foot instead of a left foot finish to lob harmlessly wide.

Reds would quickly live to regret that miss, as Dolbear was penalised for bringing down Lucy Boitho as she came out to meet her and the referee pointed to the spot.
Lauren dived the right way and was agonisingly close to keeping out Maisie Joyce from twelve yards.

Worse was to follow though, with Worthing failing to clear the danger, following Burr’s blocked shot but only beaten by a stunning turn and volley by Kabadaki, who registered her maiden senior strike in the process.

One last hurrah saw Newman’s long-ranger miss by a whisker, while the same player also curled fractionally over the the target during a surprisingly short amount of stoppage time.