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A crowd of around 250 watched Chelsea move to the top of the Premier League table with a 4-0 victory over Millwall Lionesses at Beckenham Town on Wednesday, overpowering their hosts after an even first half to condemn Millwall to their sixth successive defeat.
Millwall started well and had the first attempt on goal with a Charlotte Gurr free kick which struck the outside of the post on 11 minutes. They competed well in a fast paced battle with few clear chances until Emma Whitter powered through the middle on the half hour. Although Claire Lacey saved her initial effort well, Lianne Sanderson tucked away the rebound from 15 yards.
Casey Stoney nearly doubled the lead with a fierce shot from a corner which hit the post but Millwall had competed well all over the pitch during the first half.
It was a different story after the break as the visitors quickly forced several good saves by Lacey from Whitter, Sanderson and two fine efforts from Dunia Susi within the first ten minutes. A Millwall corner minutes nearly led to an
equaliser as a header was saved on the line by Siobhan Chamberlain but the Lionesses did not threaten the England keeper again until the final minutes.
Two goals around the seventy minute mark settled the contest in Chelsea's favour. Firstly, Whitter latched on to a Stoney headed pass, rounded Lacey and finished coolly, then a vicious inswinging Dani Buet corner was not dealt with and Susi finished from close in.
Chelsea were able to relax and created numerous openings in the final twenty minutes but only added one more, when Whitter again shrugged off her marker and finished well on 81 minutes. Millwall battled on and forced a diving Chamberlain save in the final seconds but were unable to match the class of the England internationals and ex-Lionesses Whitter and Leanne Champ in the second half. Chelsea were able to give substitutes Gemma Ritchie, Eartha Pond and Shelby Hills some time on the pitch as the match finished.
Under new manager Matt Beard, Chelsea are putting together a strong squad which may well challenge for honours. Millwall will hope to recapture the fine early season form which saw them lead the table in the early weeks.
Millwall Lionesses: Claire Lacey, Dionne Lennon, Meghan McKeag, Carly Eagles, Jordan Butler, Sinead Boyer, Leah Jones, Lizzie Edwards, Ann Marie Heatherson, Lindsey Morgan, Charlotte Gurr. Subs: Emma Beckett, Sinead McShearey, Lauren Phillips, Angela Kiobel, Sarah Jones.
Chelsea: Siobhan Chamberlain, Sophie Perry ,Claire Rafferty, Casey Stoney, Kylie Davies, Leanne Champ, Dunia Susi, Dani Buet, Emma Whitter, Lianne Sanderson, Sarah Kempson. Subs: Shelby Hills, Sokhara Goodall, Eartha Pond, Katy Ling, Gemma Ritchie.
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
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