Ipswich move up the table
Women's footballMILLWALL LIONESSES 1 IPSWICH TOWN WOMEN 3Ipswich Town Women recorded their fourth straight victory as they moved into the top half of the Premier League courtesy of what Manager, Sean Thacker described as "the most satisfying performance since I have been at the club".
MILLWALL LIONESSES 1 IPSWICH TOWN WOMEN 3
Ipswich Town Women recorded their fourth straight victory as they moved into the top half of the Premier League courtesy of what Manager, Sean Thacker described as "the most satisfying performance since I have been at the club". Town made two changes to the team that won at Middlesborough as Faye Lunn returned in goal and Lisa Culley was recalled at the expense of Helen Bass.
The first half was hard-fought with very little quality as Town flooded the midfield and denied the home team any time or space on the ball but could not find any rhythm themselves and only managed harmless long range shots from Penny Farrow, Stacey Balaam and Michelle Allum for their efforts.
Without having had a shot on Town's goal, Millwall took a 26th minute lead when defenders were slow to push out after clearing a free-kick and the returned ball was latched onto by Tina Lindsey, who unleashed a dipping volley over Lunn.
The rest of the half was evenly-contested, at times bad-tempered, full of fouls and saw very little goalmouth action as Culley marked her return with a caution for deliberate handball.
It was different after the break though as Town got the ball down, played with pace, passion and belief and pinned Millwall in their own half and immediately began to create chances. Norma Ives dribbled through the entire home defence only for her shot to be hacked away from the line. The turning point in the game came on 55 minutes when Millwall broke away and their striker, Ayo Adetayo went clean through only for Lunn to produce a world class save. Lunn's opposite number, Lou Cooper made a similarly great save moments later tipping Allum's shot around the post at the end of a flowing Town move.
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After 62 minutes, Town deservedly equalized when Shelley Pleasance went on one of her trademark runs from the back and after exchanging passes with Allum, set up Angela Arnold whose shot took a slight deflection and nestled in the corner. Town now grabbed complete control of the game with Ives influential in everything they did as firstly she combined with Holly Williams who had her drive blocked by a defender and then Arnold managed to get onto another Ives ball, but was squeezed out by some frantic defending at the last moment. Ives blotted her copybook with some retaliation after an off the ball assault by Millwall's captain and became the second Town player to go into the referee's book.
With a little over 10 minutes remaining Thacker introduced Bass and pushed Allum onto the left wing and within minutes the two combined to create and score a fantastic team goal as Bass held the ball up under pressure and then split the home defence with a reverse pass allowing Allum to race clear and slot a perfect shot inside the far post. It got even better for Town minutes later as Nyssa Willis, who was making her first appearance of the year after illness, scored with her first touch as she raced onto Ives' through ball and clipped the ball over Cooper to sew up the points.
Lunn, Dooley, Parker, Ives (Nye 88), Pleasance, Farrow, Arnold (Willis 85), Williams, Balaam Bass (78), Allum, Culley
Sean Thacker could hardly hide his delight after his team's win against highly-fancied opposition,
"Virtually everything we talked about seemed to work today! We purposely kept things tight in the first half as we knew that Millwall were a strong team who like to be physical and almost bully teams. It was important not to let them take control of the game, but to stand up for ourselves and compete as we also knew that if we could weather their pressure then they were likely to lose heart and we could then play our style of football. They scored with their only shot on target in the first half, but we said at half time that the next goal would be vital. We started the second half in exactly the right fashion and rocked Millwall."
Thacker pointed to the key moment in the game which helped Town turn the game into their favour,
"In the middle of our good spell at the start of the second half, Millwall broke clear and really should have scored, but Faye (Lunn) produced an outstanding save. If they had gone two up, then it would have been a killer blow and I'm not sure we could have come back. As it happens within minutes we were level and never looked back!"
Thacker was honest enough to own up to a little bit of luck with regards the equalizer and the substitutions, "I was actually waiting to change the forward line when we equalized and I only decided to play Michelle (Allum) wide on the left when they put a slower player at right back. Within minutes Helen (Bass) gave Michelle the perfect pass to set up the second goal."
The icing on the cake for Thacker was the final goal, "Nyssa (Willis) has not played in the first team since December due to illness and has obviously lost her fitness. We missed her badly at the end of last season and I was just pleased to be able to give her a brief run at the end. She has always been a good finisher, but even I did not expect her to make such an impact. Everyone in the team was thrilled for Nyssa to score, and it rounded off the day perfectly!"
Other ITWFC news
Following their mammoth journey and subsequent 1-0 victory at Middlesborough, Town have been given another lengthy trip after being drawn away to Tranmere Rovers, one of the top teams in the country in the 2nd round of the League Cup.
The fixture will take place on Sunday 27th October.
Town Manager, Sean Thacker bemoaned their luck,
"After such a long day last Sunday, which actually cost the club a fortune in a competition without prize money, the last thing we wanted was another expensive journey! However, it is a chance for us to pit our wits against a fantastic team and we have absolutely nothing to lose on the pitch as we will be total underdogs – but you never know!"
The opening match of the season at home to Langford which was postponed after the father of Town player, Shelley Pleasance was struck by lightening has been ordered to be replayed with the likely date to be Sunday 10th November.