Millwall’s hopes of causing the upset of the season were extinguished in five stunning second-half minutes by Arsenal.
A major shock was on the cards when Gabby Ravenscroft gave the FA Women’s Championship strugglers a shock 32nd-minute lead.
But Vivianne Miedema levelled on 55 minutes with her 20th goal of the season.
Within a minute Ruby Grant opened her Arsenal account with a stunning 30-yard effort that flew into the top left corner.
Leah Williamson added the third on the hour to ensure Arsenal topped Group D of the FA Continental Tyres League Cup with a perfect record.
FA Women’s Super League leaders Arsenal were restricted to long shots in the opening 15 minutes, with Millwall keeper Chloe Sansom just managing to claw out Katie McCabe’s cross-cum-shot.
Ravenscroft replied with a long shot of her own on 17 minutes which was fired straight at Pauline Peyraud-Magnin.
Sansom was not tested again until the 25th minute when Paige Bailey-Gayle cut in from the right to fire a low left shot.
Then the unthinkable happened. Evie Clarke’s long ball over the top saw Ravenscroft take advantage of some hesitant defending by Lia Walti to lift the ball over Peyraud-Magnin and into the net.
It was a lead the Lionesses held until 55th minute when Miedema pinged a 20-yard left-foot shot in off the right post.
No sooner had the game restarted than Sansom was picking the ball out of the net again as she was beaten by Grant’s 30-yard thunderbolt.
Williamson headed in the third from Lisa Evans’ left-wing cross.
Millwall scorer Gabby Ravenscroft: “When we went in at half-time we were buzzing. To go 1-0 up against a class team like Arsenal was big for us. We are bottom of the Championship and it was a lot for us.
“Before the game some people were joking with us about beating Arsenal, but even to go 1-0 up shows just how hard the girls were working.
“It was very hard playing up front on my own. It is frustrating when you are not getting much of the ball because you are always defending but we got forward when we could and used our opportunities when we could.
“It was a bit of a hit and hope for the goal to be honest but I was buzzing to get a goal against Arsenal.
“Up until the first goal we were equal to what they were but after that it was a case of keeping the score as low as we could.
“Arsenal are full-time and we are a part-time club. We do as much as we can and I think we did very well tonight.
“The plan now is to enjoy Christmas relax, have some time off and recover then come back ready to go again.
“We need to get the first three points when we come back and then look to keep clean sheets and score as much as we can and get up the table.
“I’m looking to score some more goals. I want to get 12 this season. That’s my aim. That’s the magic number.”
Leah Williamson:“Anything can happen in a cup game, so to be honest I’m really happy with the performance and I thought the young girls really rose to the physical challenge.
“It was never going to be easy and it was a chance for the young players to have an opportunity and because of our injuries we really needed them and they all stepped up today.
“It was Ruby’s first goal. I joked with her that there must have been a bump in the pitch that helped her shot but I have to give her credit. Ruby scores in training all the time but it is usually with her head, I didn’t know she had that in her locker, but I’m really happy about.
“We had joked about it in training about the fact that apparently I’m not very good at heading so it was surprise more than anything to get that one.
“We have got a couple of more weeks training putting in the hard work, then you will get some of the players going home for Christmas so I am sure the girls with have a lovely time going back home.
“To be honest I am happy to see the back of 2018 after all the injuries we picked up this year and we will be back fresh in January.
“It gives us a chance to regroup. It is a shame that some of the players will not be back from injury but it is an opportunity for the younger girls to come in and prove what they are all about. We need the senior players that are coming back. They have been missed. It will be good to get a couple back.
“We have got the same goals we had at the start of the season. We have performed at an amazing level. We are looking to carry that on and hopefully there will be bigger results to come in 2019.”
To follow all of the action during the season and to buy tickets; visitwww.ticketstores.co.uk/fawsl/
IMAGE BY KEITH GILLARD
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