Danielle Carter scored a hat-trick and Lianne Sanderson netted on her return as Arsenal Ladies cruised to a 7-0 victory at Millwall Lionesses. It was the perfect way for Pedro Martinez Losa’s new-look side to begin their defence of the FA Cup and start their season in style.
Carter headed Arsenal into an early lead before Sanderson and Jordan Nobbs made it three on the stroke of half-time. She scored twice more after the restart, while Natalia Pablos Sanchon and Carla Humphrey were also on target as the Gunners eased into the quarter-finals of the competition.
This fifth-round clash was Losa’s first experience of the FA Cup and he was forced to start without last summer’s trophy-winning captain Kelly Smith.
Injuries and unavailability also ruled out Rachel Yankey and Jade Bailey but there were debuts for new signings Vicky Losada, Jemma Rose, and Natalia.
There was also a welcome return for Sanderson, who made her first start for Arsenal since helping the Gunners win the competition in 2008.
Elsewhere, Humphrey became the latest graduate of the Gunners’ Centre of Excellence to feature for the first team, while teenagers Alice Hassall, Evie Clarke and Taome Oliver were on the bench.
Despite starting their season a week later than Millwall, Losa’s side looked sharper than their opponents. After several waves of attacks, Carter nodded in Natalia’s corner to give her side a deserved lead.
Arsenal had already struck the frame of the goal when Natalia crashed a low strike off the post, before Carter rattled the crossbar with two unstoppable strikes as the Gunners looked to assert their dominance.
Millwall’s luck soon ran out. Humphrey collected the ball on the left-hand side and twisted and turned past two defenders to pick out Sanderson at the near post for a simple tap-in.
Nobbs had dictated play from the first whistle and added a well-deserved third before the break, smashing a rebound home from six yards to end a clinical first-half display by Arsenal.
Millwall began the second half with a rare foray into the visitors’ half. Substitute Shirvae Edwards found a pocket of space 25 yards out before sending her strike over the crossbar.
But it was not long until Arsenal found the net again. Carter had caused the hosts problems all afternoon with her pace and directness, and doubled her tally after racing through from the halfway line and burying into the bottom corner.
Emma Mitchell then forced Frankie Gibbs into a fantastic save with a fierce strike, but the goalkeeper was soon beaten once more when Natalia smashed Carter’s cross home from close range.
The Spain forward then crossed for Humphrey to find the roof of the net from two yards out before Carter completed her hat-trick to secure Arsenal’s place in the next round.
|Arsenal Ladies||Millwall Lionesses|
|Emma Byrne||Francesca Gibbs|
|Casey Stoney||Dionne Lennon|
|Jemma Rose||Leanne Cowan|
|Alex Scott (C)||Naomi Cole|
|Emma Mitchell||Francesca Strugnal|
|Vicky Losada||Grace Fisk|
|Carla Humphrey (74’)||Megan Goss|
|Jordan Nobbs (44’)||Ciara Sherwood|
|Danielle Carter (20’, 52’, 84’)||Lily Agg|
|Natalis Pablos Sanchon (54’)||Rinsola Babajide|
|Lianne Sanderson (25’)||Lillie Fenlon-Billson|
|Siobhan Chamberlain||Chantelle Mackie|
|Leah Williamson||Cherrelle Albert|
|Taome Oliver||Shirvae Edwards|
Report by Max Jones www.arsenal.com
Photo courtesy of Millwall Lionesses