Nerves jangled for Rachel Lee as Durham hold on against Millwall
Beth Hepple's free-kick was enough for Durham to close the gap on Bristol City to three points
FA WSL 2 match
12:00, Sunday 11 September 2016
Millwall Football Club
Durham Women FC Goal Scorers: Hepple 29'
Midfielder Rachel Lee conceded Durham rode their luck at times as they held on for a vital three points at the Den.
Beth Hepple's first-half free-kick was sufficient for the Wildcats to close the gap on second-placed Bristol City to three points having played one game fewer.
But that was only after surviving a string of second-half scares, with the visitors fortunate to hold on to the spoils at Millwall.
Lee said: “We had a good first half and probably should have put a couple more away, we didn't see it out.
“I got a little bit worried towards the end, but there was some unbelievable defending, Jen Jennings cleared one off the line and Sarah Wilson and the rest of the defence put some unbelievable blocks in, so we're really pleased with the result.
“We've been known to start grinding results out towards the end of games. We're difficult to score against and we are really pleased with the amount of clean sheets we're getting. That has become our trademark.
“We haven't once said the word 'promotion'. We'll just keep to our own business and you never know, it might happen come the end of the season.”
Captain Sarah Wilson and Sarah McFadden failed to hit the target with headers as Durham started strongest, while Millwall skipper Ashlee Hincks failed to test Megan Borthwick – deputising in place of regular No.1 Helen Alderson, working at the Great North Run – with her strike.
Durham took the lead on 29 minutes when Hepple blasted in her 13th goal of the season from the edge of the box that flew past Quantrill before she could react.
After Lucy Loomes shot wide, Durham soon reasserted their authority and McFadden rattled the crossbar with a close-range effort on 68 minutes.
And despite substitute Rinsola Babajude’s surging run late on for Millwall, the visitors held on for the points.
“We gave them more than a bit of a scare. We're spent most of the second half in their half," said Millwall substitute Leanne Cowan.
“At half-time the plan was to go out for 45 minutes and throw everything at them, we had nothing to lose. They are the ones in the position with something to lose.
“We're disappointed that we didn't take any points but we showed we can compete and that our position in the league is maybe a bit unfair. Compared to what people might think about us we actually can play and we proved that.
“There are loads of positives to take in terms of how we pressed them and how we put pressure on them for the whole second half and made it a good game to watch.”
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Millwall Lionesses 0
Millwall Lionesses (4-4-2): Sarah Quantrill, Jordan Butler, Leigh Nicol, Georgie Giddings, Billie Brooks, Leighanne Robe, Bonnie Horwood, Ashlee Hincks, Amber Gaylor, Lucy Loomes, Megan Wynne
Substitutes: Leanne Cowan for Brooks 34, Rinsola Babajide for Gaylor 63, Ella Rutherford for Horwood 82
Substitutes not used: Grace Taylor, Brionne Fowle, Beth Harford, Megan Jones
Red Cards: None
Durham (4-3-3): Megan Borthwick, Ellie Christon, Chloe Macek, Becky Salicki, Sarah Wilson, Rachel Lee, Beth Hepple, Nat Gutteridge, Emily Roberts, Sarah McFadden, Jordon Atkinson
Substitutes: Jen Jennings for Macek 63, Sarah Eadon for Gutteridge 79, Nicola Gibbon for Roberts 90
Red Cards: None
Referee: Robert Claussen