Lewes 0-2 London Bees
FA Women’s Championship
The Dripping Pan, Sunday 27th January 2019
Match day Progcast can be viewed here.
Lewes manager Fran Alonso will take many positives from this disappointing defeat at home to a resurgent London Bees. Last October Bees had edged a five-goal thriller. Once again on Sunday the two sides appeared evenly matched, separated only by the visitor’s ability to create and convert something from nothing.
Alonso wasted no time with his new loan signings, Bristol City’s Katie Rood and Brighton’s Sophie Perry into the starting line-up. Kellie Larkin started in a holding midfield role with skipper Katie McIntyre alongside Rosie Paye at centre back. Rood to up a position left of front woman Samantha Quayle, with Vicky Carleton in her customary right-wing berth.
In front of a boisterous home crowd the new-look Lewes line-up took time to settle. Bees were offered a chance as early as the second minute, when the home side stumbled as they looked to pass out from the back. That effort was thwarted by Faye Baker, making a well-timed challenge with her feet. Lewes were indebted to their ‘keeper later in the half when a back-pass fell short, Baker sliding in bravely to clear the danger yet again feet-first.
Lewes came closest to breaking the deadlock on thirteen minutes when debutante Brighton defender Sophie Perry flighted in a clever free kick that beat the excellent Sarah Quantrill only to thump off the crossbar. In midfield, Leeta Rutherford destroyed and created, winning the ball and releasing Rood in particular on a series of counter-attacking raids.
Lewes edged the half. Despite having the lionesses’ share of possession, with Quayle, Rood and Sophie O’Rourke impressive in their link-up and Paye and Boswell outstanding in defence, they created little by way of clear chances and the sides went in at 0-0.
The second half saw the balance gradually sway in favour of Bees. Destiney Toussaint, their best and most creative player by some margin, increasingly influential, rejoined her battle with Rood and Boswell. When she picked up a booking for a rugby tackle on the Kiwi international she switched flanks, a smart move instigated by Bees manager Luke Swindlehurst. She instantly got in behind to whip in a fine cross that Tricia Gould contrived to blaze wide from twelve yards.
At the other end Katie Rood fashioned the home side’s best chance of the half, a well-struck drive that whistled just past the upright.
Connie Forman replaced Gould. Alonso countered, bringing Sarah Kempson on for the hard-working Larkin. Minutes later Forman tested Boswell’s pace, racing away on the Bees’ left. The Lewes fullback won the race but her challenge set the ball spinning towards the Lewes box. Baker rushed out but Brooke Nun got their first, sending a perfect lob over the advancing ‘keeper and into the net. 0-1 (64)
Bees had increased their physicality after the break, testing the officials with a series of borderline challenges that went largely unpunished. Ruesha Littlejohn did pick up a yellow, but only after she might have been booked several times for ungainly challenges on Rood and several on Carleton. But Littlejohn it was who celebrated Bees’ second goal on 67 minutes. Toussaint made room for a teasing low cross that saw Baker collide with players. As she scrambled to recover, getting one hand on the ball, Littlejohn stuck out a toe to poke the ball home for 0-2. The ‘keeper’s protests that a Bees player had impeded her to stop her getting to the ball were ignored by the referee who showed an incensed Baker a yellow card for her troubles.
More substitutions followed. Rebecca Carter replaced Carleton, Bees replaced Wilson with Pickett. Lewes had their best moment of the half when the excellent Paye located Quayle’s head on the right flank. The flick-on fell to Carter who made space before sending Quayle in, her first-time shot arcing wide of Quantrill’s post. Bees brought on Daisy McLauchlin for goal-scorer Nun, Lewes Amy Taylor for Rutherford. Littlejohn finally collected her booking for an obvious pull-back round the neck of Rebecca Carter.
Kempson, causing Bees problems with her closed control and slight of foot, was offered a couple of dead-ball chances after more infringements by the visitors, but neither troubled Quantrill.
Full Time 0-2
NEXT HOME MATCH: SUNDAY 10 FEBRUARY – LEWES V MILLWALL LIONESSES, 2pm kick off.
Tickets available here: Lewes v Millwall
Lewes manager Fran Alonso shared his thoughts after the match.
“I thought we were the better team in the first half. Most of the game then was played in their half and we had many breaks into the final third, although we only were close to scoring with a free kick when we hit the crossbar.
Their only two shots on target in the first half came after a bad mistake in the 2nd minute when we tried to play out and a long range effort that was easy for Faye.
I was pleased with the team at half time despite not playing as well as we had seen in training all week. Bees showed a lot of experience with the use of constant technical fouls to stop our attacking play. I think the referee failed to stop that. I wasn’t very pleased about that.
In the second half, the game was more disorganised, more end to end, without real chances. We had the best chance when Roodie’s shot was inches away from going in. After that it was a game of constant transitions without real danger in the attacks. Then a straight ball from their Centre Back in their own half missed all our midfield and back line and a player coming from the second line just lofts it over Faye. A poor goal to concede and easily avoidable but we misread the distances and were punished. At that point I didn’t feel we deserved to be losing. We conceded again three minutes later to make it extremely difficult for us to get something from the game.
Overall London Bees were the better team, they took their chances and were clever stopping our attacks. For us this is another lesson and like the previous two games, we will take the positives and build up on there to make sure we are at our best for Millwall.
I have to say our great fans were amazing today. We will work hard to cheer them up soon!”
My MvP: Charlie Boswell.
Some very good performances despite the result. Rosie Paye had her best game for Lewes (alongside the ever-reliable Macca). Both Perry and Rood looked lively, Leeta was superb in the first half, Kempo changed the nature of the game when she came on.
Bos for me, like Sophie Perry in the first half, is non-stop. Her pace is exceptional and her reading of the game something to learn from.
We also wanted to say a very big thank you to Skull Drummery for once again creating a great atmosphere pre-match and also to the fantastic Paddock Singers who entertained the crowd with three songs, including some brilliant specially-penned lyrics about Lewes FC and Equality FC. Thank you!