- Albion are beaten 3-0 by Millwall
- Rianna Dean, Ashlee Hincks and Ella Rutherford score for Millwall
- The Seagulls finish second in FA WSL 2
- Win sees Millwall claim third spot behind Albion
Brighton & Hove Albion ended their FA WSL 2 season with a frustrating 3-0 defeat at home to Millwall.
Rianna Dean, Ashlee Hincks and Ella Rutherford netted in what was a convincing scoreline for the Lionesses, although Hope Powell’s side were arguably the better team after the break.
Millwall had the first chance of the game through Charlie Devlin when she saw her looping attempt rise just over the crossbar.
Dean then saw her close-range header go wide after she met Leanne Cowan’s perfectly-weighted ball into the box.
Albion broke forward down the other end through Kate Natkiel, whose enticing cross went towards Lucy Somes, but the Lionesses cleared the danger.
The south Londoners took the lead with 24 minutes on the clock when Dean latched onto Megan Wynne’s in-swinging cross with a superb volley, which beat Laura Hartley at her near post.
Dean could have doubled Millwall’s advantage just a minute later, but her attempted lob over Hartley went just past the post.
Chances were few and far between for Albion, as a speculative attempt from Fliss Gibbons rose over the crossbar, while Danielle Buet’s free-kick went wide.
The visitors had further chances to double their advantage, after Leighanne Robe’s close-range header went wide, while Devlin shot straight at Hartley from just outside the box.
Albion rallied after the break and Natkiel was the key protagonist going forward. The winger made a driving run down the right and picked out Somes, but the latter’s diving header went wide.
Natkiel then delivered another dangerous ball into the box which caused havoc in the Millwall defence, before the danger was eventually cleared.
Aileen Whelan also showed some good endeavour down the right to work her way to the byline, and her resulting cross flashed across the face of goal before going wide.
Seagulls shot-stopper Hartley made a fine double save to keep the deficit at one, after keeping out Devlin’s free-kick, before reacting brilliantly to keep out Amber Gaylor’s follow-up strike.
Gaylor came close again to scoring a second for Millwall when her lob beat an outstretched Hartley, but the ball cannoned off the woodwork.
Down the other end, Buet spotted Natkiel with a long ball over the defence, and with limited options, the latter fired a long-range attempt which was almost carried over the line by Sarah Quantrill.
Despite Natkiel’s protests that the ball may have crossed the line, the referee waved play on.
Powell’s side continued in the ascendancy, as Jenna Legg’s fierce strike from distance was superbly pushed away by Quantrill.
But despite Albion’s endeavour, Millwall substitute Hincks doubled the visitors’ advantage with a brilliant strike from distance with nine minutes remaining.
Lee Burch’s side added a third goal just two minutes later, thanks to Rutherford’s superb acrobatic effort.
With the result now beyond doubt, Albion still pressed forward through Gibbons, who saw her rising strike go over the target, but the Seagulls failed to get a goal which their efforts deserved.
ALBION: Hartley; Rafferty, Buet, Gibbons; Natkiel, Legg, Peplow, Barton, Somes (Thomas 52); Pharoah, A. Whelan.
SUBS NOT USED: Gillett (GK), Ritchie, Perry, Ashton-Jones, Nilden.