- Albion lose their first FA WSL 2 game of the season
- Aileen Whelan, Lucy Somes and Danielle Buet on target for the Seagulls
- Leanne Cowan, Bonnie Horwood, Ella Rutherford and Ashlee Hincks score for Millwall
- The Seagulls are next in Continental Cup action on Wednesday
Brighton & Hove Albion lost their first FA WSL 2 game of the season following a 4-3 defeat to Millwall Lionesses in a breathless end-to-end contest at the St Paul’s Sports Ground.
Albion had the lead at the break through Aileen Whelan, following a cagey first half, but the game came to life after the re-start, as the Seagulls cruelly left south London empty handed.
Both sides had chances to break the deadlock inside the opening ten minutes, as Ini Umotong clashed with Millwall keeper Sarah Quantrill, before Ashlee Hincks blazed an effort over the bar.
Danielle Buet then played a deep ball into the box that was met by Fliss Gibbons, whose effort was blocked.
The hosts were forced into an early change when Billie Brooks was replaced by
Jordan Butler after a clash of heads inside the box.
Shortly afterwards, Albion broke the lead through Whelan, as she fired home from close range at the end of a goalmouth scramble.
There was big scare for Hope Powell’s defence moments later when Rianna Dean reacted to a short backpass and rounded keeper Chloe Sansom, only to be denied by Bethan Roe’s brilliant goal line clearance.
Gibbons and Whelan both tried their luck again with two separate attempts, but neither shot troubled Quantrill.
Dean had another chance to equalise after reacting quickly to a throw-in into the box, only to fire a shot wide at the near post.
However, Millwall completely turned the game on its head within four minutes at the start of the second half, through goals from Leanne Cowan and Bonnie Horwood.
Cowan levelled with 49 minutes on the clock, as she tapped the ball in at the far post after Leigh Robe flicked on a corner.
The Lionesses then took the lead through Horwood, who produced a cool finish past Sansom after some good link-up play with Megan Wynne.
The frantic nature of the half continued, as Quantrill made a brave save at the near post to deny Ini Umotong, before Dean fired just wide down at the other end for Millwall.
Brighton were back on level terms in the 67th minute through half-time substitute Lucy Somes, who powered her header past Quantrill.
But just as Powell’s side looked to be recovering from their early second-half setback, Millwall struck again through Ella Rutherford after Sansom spilled the ball into her path.
It looked as though the Lionesses had wrapped up all three points in the 80th minute as Ashlee Hincks raced down the right-hand side and saw her shot beat Sansom at the near post to make it 4-2.
However, the game took yet another twist in the 87th minute after Ellie Mason brought down Umotong in the box, and Danielle Buet converted the spot-kick to make the final score 4-3.
ALBION: Sansom; Roe, F. Whelan, Rafferty, Perry; A. Whelan, Barton (Legg 85), Buet, Gibbons (Natkiel 79); Umotong, Thomas (Somes 45).
SUBS NOT USED: Wilson (GK), Ritchie, Taylor.