Wolverhampton Wanderers have leapt out of the bottom three in the Northern Division after continuing their revival with a 4-2 win away to Blackburn Rovers.
Things did look bleak for Wolves at half time as Nichol Forster gave Blackburn an eleventh minute lead which was doubled moments before the interval by Rio Hardy. However after the break, Wolves, now playing with the wind behind them, quickly pulled a goal back through Dominique Luke, then two goals in four minutes from Laura McQuilkin and Dani Selmes turned things around in their favour. Leila Hopkins netted with fourteen minutes left to seal a win which takes Wolves off the bottom, having been adrift at one stage, with Blackburn taking their place albeit with games in hand on their rivals.
Newcastle Utd are also looking anxious over their shoulders following a 3-1 reverse at home to Sporting Club Albion. Jamie-Leigh Fowler, Summer Holmes and Phillippa Humphrey were all on target for Albion, with Newcastle's consolation coming from Megan Pyper.
Champions Sheffield FC now have a lead of thirteen points following their 4-0 victory over Derby County. Issy Hayes netted the only goal of the first half for the title winners and after the break, Lisa Giampalma contributed a brace before Hayes rounded off the scoring with her second late on.
Bradford City stepped up their challenge for the runners-up spot after they beat current second place incumbents Nottingham Forest 1-0, Charlotte Stuart scoring the only goal of the game.
Preston North End can also finish in the higher places if they can win their remaining matches and did their cause no harm as Paige Forster, Katie Anderton and an own goal gave them a 3-1 win against Stoke City.
Stafford Rangers FC will host this year's Midland Women's Combination League Cup Final on Sunday 27th April.
Copsewood (Coventry) LFC will take on Loughborough Students WFC in what will no doubt prove to be a hotly contested Final.
Copsewood are riding high after a season which has earned them the League title and promotion to the FAWPL next season and will certainly be dreaming of a double, if not treble as they compete for the MWCL Cup before taking on local FAWPL rivals Coventry City in the Birmingham County Cup Final next month.
Loughborough Students have cemented a solid mid-table finish. Finalists in two Cup competitions, double-honours is a real possibility should they overcome Copsewood in the MWCL Cup and the Leicestershire County Cup where they take on local league rivals Leicester City Women's FC.
Carol West, Chairman of the MWCL said: "The MWCL Cup Final is the finale to our season and we are looking forward to what promises to be an entertaining match and one that showcases the talent that continues to grow in the Midlands region.
"While the Final will be an enjoyable occasion, it will also be a nostalgic one as we say goodbye to the Combination League's after 16 years. We hope the Final will close the current chapter of women's football in the Midlands region in style and whet the appetites of players and supporters alike as we look forward with excitement to the next one opening with the launch of the new FA Women's Premier League in the summer.
"We hope as many as possible join us in our end of season's celebrations."
Kick off is at 1.30pm. Tickets can be purchased on the day, or in advance by calling Carol on (07855) 312902.
Coventry City kept on the heels of Southern Division leaders Gillingham as an injury time goal gave them a crucial 2-1 victory over Keynsham Town.
The Sky Blues led at the break through a Natalie Brace goal which had been scored midway through the first half but Keynsham fought back and levelled the scores when Aimee Clark netted ten minutes after the restart. Keynsham looked to be on their way towards holding Coventry to a draw for the second time this season until Kim Walton popped up with a late, late winner.
Coventry are therefore five points behind on leaders Gillingham who defeated Cardiff City Ladies 4-2. Lisa Fulgence scored twice along with Jay Blackie and Charlotte Gurr while Cardiff replied through Bethan Lloyd and Lauren Townsend (see match report).
Charlton Athletic gained revenge for their defeat to Brighton & Hove Albion seven days earlier by winning the return match 2-1. Kit Graham opened the scoring for the Addicks on the quarter hour with Rosie Paye adding the second midway through the second half and although Lily Honor pulled a goal back for the Seagulls, Charlton held on for a result which takes them into fourth place.
Lewes are back in the mid-table position following their 3-0 victory over Chesham Utd. Kirstie Spice gave the Rookettes the lead and they went on to add further goals through Clare Trafford and Kelly Newton.
Gillingham 4 Cardiff City Ladies 2
Gillingham moved a step closer to the FAWPL Southern Division title with a 4-2 win over fellow candidates for honours Cardiff City Ladies.
In an intense battle, goals either side of the break gave Gills an advantage which proved decisive, despite a spirited display by the Welsh team which never allowed the home team room to relax totally. In the end, finishing ability and fluid passing all over the pitch gave Gills the edge but they were made to work hard for a vital three points.
Cardiff started well, disrupting Gillingham's attempts to pass the ball out from the back with pressing from their front players. The Bluebirds had the ball in the net on five minutes but the referee had stopped the game for an injury to Deanna Cooper. Lisa Fulgence was played in by Charlotte Gurr on seven minutes but Cardiff keeper Sophie Dando saved well. The opening goal came after 27 minutes when Gills' Jade Keogh delivered a free kick into the area and skipper Jay Blackie rose well to divert the ball past Dando.
Kelly Aldridge was very lively down the Cardiff right, twice being halted by heavy challenges. Michelle Green got in a dangerous cross and only an brave block by Amy Taylor stopped a Cardiff goal attempt ten yards out. Gills keeper Faye Baker was at full stretch when a Nicola Cousins shot from 25 yards flew inches over as Cardiff looked dangerous around the 35 minute mark.
Emma Tune played a delightful early ball for Gurr to shoot over from the edge of the area before Gurr netted the second from the spot after Fulgence was brought down by Dando when through on goal seconds before the break.
Fulgence added to the lead with two minutes of the restart with a looping header from a Jade Keogh cross but Cardiff replied almost immediately, Michelle Green winning a challenge in midfield and driving to the right of goal before crossing for Bethan Lloyd to finish well after controlling at the near post.
Lauren Townsend fired in an excellent free kick for the Bluebirds but Baker leapt to tip the ball over. From the corner Cousins headed over the bar on 62 minutes. Gillingham responded well in an end to end encounter. A short corner from Gurr saw Tune cross and Blackie head just wide. Nikita Whinnett had come on as a half time substitute and was having a lively battle with Townsend down the Gills right.
Gurr played in Fulgence again with a measured pass but Dando was quickly out to save well on 68 minutes. One minute later, good work from Whinnett and Gurr gave Fulgence another run on goal and this time she slipped the ball past Dando with the outside of her right foot.
The Gills striker was very close to her hat-trick a minute later but sub Hannah Daley cleared off the line with her first touch of the ball. Gills were by now in dominant mood as Danielle Carlton lofted a cross which bounced away off the bar on 72 minutes. Keogh also hit the woodwork with a free kick on 86 minutes but the visitors had the final word with arguably the best goal of the game. A break on the right saw the ball played square to Townsend who blasted a 20-yard effort first time beyond Baker's dive on 88 minutes.
Cardiff pressed hard to further reduce the arrears but Gills were in no mood to let their lead slip seeing out the match comfortably for a hard earned victory which takes them well ahead of Cardiff and leaves Coventry City as their most realistic challengers for the title ahead of a possible showdown at Chatham on May 18th. Both teams have other challenges to meet before that date however with Cardiff, Charlton and Portsmouth all waiting for any possible slip ups.
Gillingham: Faye Baker, Lauren Davis, Deanna Cooper, Amy Taylor, Fliss Gibbons, Jay Blackie, Emma Tune, Lisa Fulgence, Charlotte Gurr, Danielle Carlton. Subs: Charlotte Long, Lauren Phillips, Nikita Whinnett, Lauren Williams, Rachel Ahern.
Cardiff City Ladies: Sophie Dando, Nicola Cousins, Lauren Townsend, Cori Williams, Louise Hutton, Kayleigh Green, Kelly Aldridge, Michelle Green, Bethan Lloyd, Kelly Isaac, Naomi Clipston. Subs: Gwennan Harries, Hannah Daley, Hannah Mills, Steph Williams.
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
Photos by www.jamesprickett.co.uk:
(top) Lauren Townsend fires a free kick over the Gillingham wall of Nikita Whinnett, Danielle Carlton, Emma Tune and Jade Keogh
(middle) Nicola Cousins battles with Fliss Gibbons
(bottom) Gwennan Harries takes on Jade Keogh
Chelsea 0 Liverpool 0
Chelsea held on to claim a draw with defending FA WSL1 champions Liverpool after being reduced to ten players in the second half following Ji So-Yun's dismissal.
So-Yun received her marching orders after the break for a second bookable offence but Liverpool had no time to find a winner as it ended goalless.
Liverpool started the brighter of the two and could have taken the lead early when Gemma Davison broke down the right and skipped past Hannah Blundell before seeing her shot cannon back off the post.
However, Chelsea responded well and So-Yun fired over from the edge of the box before Danielle Buet's found Laura Coombs in the penalty area but her effort was too high.
Liverpool maintained their early dominance and Chelsea's next notable effort didn't arrive until the end of the first half when So-Yun was denied from a free kick.
Chelsea pressed for a winner in the second half and but Eniola Aluko squandered their best chance of the game after she fired wide late on after breaking through down the right channel.
Chelsea were denied a penalty moments later and, while the home crowd appealed, the referee judged that So-Yun had dived and showed her a second yellow card.
Chelsea: Marie Hourihan, Danielle Buet, Hannah Blundell, Laura Bassett, Gilly Flaherty, Emma Wilhelmsson, Yuki Ogimi, Laura Coombs, Eniola Aluko, Ji So-Yun, Jackie Groenen (sub Katie Chapman 65mins). Subs not used: Rachel Williams, Jodie Brett, Rosella Ayane, Anne Meiwald, Millie Farrow.
Liverpool: Libby Stout (sub Danielle Gibbons 60mins), Becky Easton, Corina Schroder (sub Martha Harris 75mins), Fara Williams, Gemma Bonner, Lucy Bronze, Gemma Davison, Katrin Omarsdottir, Natasha Dowie, Amanda Da Costa, Kate Longhurst (sub Ashley Hodson 41mins). Subs not used: Ellie Stewart, Megan Alexander, Hannah Dale.
(Report by www.fawsl.com)
Manchester City 0 Bristol Academy 2 (Matthews 11, James 17)
Manchester City lost their first ever home fixture in the FA Women's Super League as they fell to defeat at the hands of Bristol Academy at the Manchester Regional Arena.
Jaz Matthews' deflected effort and a second from midfielder Angharad James condemned City to their second defeat in succession.
City had the first chance to break the deadlock in the eighth minute as Toni Duggan spotted Mary Earps off her line but could not lift her effort enough.
Three minutes later, Bristol Academy took a shock lead after a looping corner evaded Andrea Worrall and Matthews poked home via a deflection off City captain Steph Houghton.
Jill Scott had a chance to fire in an immediate equaliser but Earps superbly pushed her effort wide.
The hosts were left to rue that miss as James doubled the Vixens' lead in the 17th minute following nifty footwork from Laura Del Rio.
The Blues started strongly after the break as Houghton had a long range effort saved and a sweeping move on 58 minutes finished with Krystle Johnston lashing her effort over the bar.
From then on Academy looked comfortable and almost made it three in the closing stages when Del Rio hit the post and Worrall saved Natalia Sanchon's follow up.
Manchester City: Andrea Worrall, Emma Lipman, Steph Houghton, Chelsea Nightingale, Steph Marsh, Jess Holbrook (sub Lynda Shepherd 60mins), Jill Scott, Betsy Hassett, Issy Christiansen, Krystle Johnston (sub Natasha Flint 60mins), Toni Duggan. Subs not used: Kim Turner, Alex Brooks, Nicki Harding.
Bristol Academy: Mary Earps, Grace McCatty, Corinne Yorston, Jaz Matthews, Jemma Rose, Sophie Ingle, Natalia Pablos Sanchon, Angharad James (sub Ann Marie Heatherson 88mins), Nikki Watts, Laura Del Rio, Natasha Harding. Subs not used: Loren Dykes, Ellie Curson, Frankie Brown, Vera Bernabe Payol.
(Report by www.fawsl.com)
Everton 0 Notts County 2 (Holtham 5, Clarke 45)
Notts County did the damage in the first half to pick up their first win of the season with an impressive 2-0 victory over Everton.
County took the early advantage in a high tempo start to the game, with Katie Holtham scoring with a fifth minute header that Everton keeper Rachel Brown-Finnis could only push onto the post and over the line.
The visitors showed tremendous defensive organisation to preserve their lead, with midfielder Sophie Walton and England centre back Sophie Bradley particularly excellent.
Everton's frustration was compounded just before the interval as Jess Clarke scored a scrappy second for County from Walton's corner.
The Toffees showed plenty of attacking intent after the break as they sought a way back into the game, but were limited early in the second half to Billie Murphy's long range effort, which went straight into Carly Telford's arms.
Kelly Jones went one better fifteen minutes from time, meeting Alex Greenwood's cross with a back header that left Telford in no man's land, but Laura-Jane O'Neill got back superbly to clear the ball off the line.
County kept pressing forward as they sought to put the game beyond doubt, and Clarke went close to her second with a half volley from the edge of the box.
Everton: Rachel Brown-Finnis, Billie Murphy, Alex Greenwood, Brooke Chaplen, Fern Whelan (sub Gabrielle George 22mins), Lindsay Johnson, Jody Handley (sub Simone Magill 66mins), Michelle Hinnigan, Nikita Parris, Kelly Jones, Danielle Turner (sub Millie Turner 83mins). Subs not used: Vicky Jones, Lucy Whipp, Megan Walsh.
Notts County: Carly Telford, Amy Turner, Laura-Jane O'Neill, Sophie Walton, Sophie Bradley, Rachel Corsie, Dunia Susi (sub Sophie Haywood 90mins), Katie Holtham, Caitlin Friend (sub Courtney Sweetman-Kirk 67mins), Desiree Scott, Jess Clarke. Subs not used: Jules Draycott, Emily Roberts, Rachel Unitt.
(Report by www.fawsl.com)
Sunderland 3 (Greenwell 5, Grant og 11, McDougall 90) Reading Women 2 (Bruton 13, Roche 69)
A frantic start and a frantic end saw Sunderland snatch a last gasp winner to secure all three points against Reading Women in their first home game of the WSL season.
The game kicked off at blistering pace with both sides keen to stamp their authority. With just five minutes played, midfielder Rachel Furness was dragged down on the edge of the box earning her side a free kick. Defender Victoria Greenwell stepped up and produced another stunning free kick which was an almost carbon copy of her goal against Durham earlier in the week.
With eleven minutes gone Sunderland extended their lead, Rachel Furness' powered header from a corner fell to a scrambling Reading defender whose attempted clearance ended up in the back of the net.
Reading responded quickly and two minutes later, Lauren Bruton headed home from a Cheryl Williams cross to get her side back into the game. Reading continued to push forward and went close just before the break as Helen Alderson in the Sunderland goal was forced into a good save from a long range effort by Francesca Kirby.
Within minutes of the restart Abbey Joice latched on to a poor pass by Reading defender Shelly Cox and set up Kelly McDougall for a long range effort that went narrowly wide.
Reading fought hard to get back into the game and were rewarded for their efforts. Under intense pressure the Sunderland defence conceded a direct free kick on the edge of the area and Lois Roche unleashed a stunning strike into the top left hand corner for a deserved equaliser.
With fifteen minutes to go, Sunderland pushed forward for a winner and had their best chances of the game as a result of an 85th minute corner. Reading repeatedly failed to clear the ball and despite the best efforts of nearly every Sunderland player the ball would not go over the line.
With the crowd roaring them on Sunderland continued to press, Beth Mead took on three defenders but her shot was well saved by the Reading goalkeeper. This spurred on Sunderland and in the dying moments of the match a corner kick dropped to Kelly McDougall who hit a sensational strike into the top corner of the net to earn the home side a stunning win.
Sunderland: Helen Alderson, Megan Beer, Victoria Greenwell, Stephanie Bannon, Gemma Wilson, Kelly McDougall, Rachel Furness, Abbey Joice, Keira Ramshaw, Rebekah Bass (sub Emma Kelly 73mins), Beth Mead. Subs not used: Alice Harkness, Abby Holmes, Tyler Dodds, Rebecca Olley.
Reading Women: Nicola Davies, Ciara Grant, Kelly Chambers (sub Alex Keown 73mins), Cheryl Williams (sub Melissa Fletcher 56mins), Rebecca Jane, Lois Roche, Francesca Kirby, Lauren Bruton, Kirsty McGee, Shelly Cox, Molly Bartrip (sub Georgie Giddings 62mins). Subs not used: Grace Moloney, Eartha Pond, Rebekah Haines, Leigh Nicol.
(Report by www.fawsl.com)
Durham Women 1 (Dixon pen 79) Millwall Lionesses 4 (Fenlon-Billson 5,38,74, Lennon 64)
Lillie Fenlon-Billson hit a hat-trick as Millwall Lionesses notched up their first victory of the season from their long trip up north.
The Lionesses got off to a flying start with a goal in the fifth minute, Griffiths sliding in Lillie Fenlon-Billson to go one-on-one with the advancing Durham keeper, Katie Luther. Calm under pressure, Fenlon-Billson wasn't going to miss and slotted the ball past Luther and into the back of the net.
The early goal settled the visitors and while the home team looked for a way to get back into the game, Millwall continued to play attacking, free flowing football across the 3G surface. Attacker Fenlon-Billson could have had a brace in the 13th minute when a Cherrelle Albert corner found her in space. Fenlon-Billson's low shot was saved on the line and after a goalmouth scramble Durham finally cleared the ball out of their half.
Durham did attempt to catch Millwall on the break, captain Caroline Dixon trying to feed the ball to the dangerous Zoe Ness and Jess Round, but keeper Sarah Quantrill was quick of her line to pick up any loose balls, while the defensive unit were alert to smother any long shots.
Millwall continued to push for the second goal, as they were well aware of the dangers Durham possessed and in the 38th minute, Fenlon-Billson got her brace with a 30-yard power strike.
Millwall dominated possession at the start of the second half and continued to attack the flanks of the Durham defence. Gaining a corner in the 56th minute, Naomi Cole delivered the perfect ball for captain Dionne Lennon who rose highest to head the ball down and into the goal for her side's third goal.
Zoe Ness came close to pulling one back for Durham but was crowded out by the Millwall defence. However it was Fenlon-Billson's day and with sixteen minutes remaining, she drove home another 30-yard strike from the tightest angle into the top corner to complete her hat-trick.
Even at four goals down and with just over ten minutes left in the game, Durham continued to threaten and push for a consolation goal. It came when Kylie Davies was adjudged to have brought down Yasmine Hardy in the area Dixon stepped up to send Quantrill the wrong way from the resulting penalty.
Durham Women: Katie Luther, Ellie Christon, Lauren Jordinson, Jen King, Becky Hanratty, Caroline Dixon, Beth Jennings, Beth Hepple, Zoe Ness, Jess Round, Stacy Crooks. Subs: Yasmine Hardy, Meg Lawson, Rosie Young, Jennifer Jennings.
Millwall Lionesses: Sarah Quantrill, Naomi Cole, Kylie Davies, Dionne Lennon, Sophie Perry, Lily Agg, Leeta Rutherford, Lilli Maple (sub Francesca Strugnell 74mins), Shauni Griffiths (sub Shirvae Edwards 65mins), Lillie Fenlon-Billson, Cherrelle Albert (sub Kim Stenning 51mins).
(Report by www.fawsl.com)
Watford 1 (Wilson 32) Aston Villa 1 (Merrick 60)
A superb second half free kick by Beth Merrick earned Aston Villa their first point of the season and ensured that Watford drew for the second time in a matter of days.
Watford had taken the lead shortly after the half hour mark through Jo Wilson, a blow for Villa who were beginning to ask questions of the hosts' defence. Cally Rowell's corner was swiped in by Wilson as she made just enough contact with a volley to hit the target. Maddy Cusack was positioned on the goal line but unfortunately for Villa she was unable to stop the ball from rippling the net as it bobbled on the pitch.
The home side had created more going forward and captain Sarah Wiltshire was looking dangerous as she carved out attacks from midfield. Defender Jade Richards dealt well with an early right sided run from the Welsh international, while Kate Natkiel almost found her team mate with a low ball in from the right which managed to evade everyone in the box.
Goalkeeper Caitlin Leach also reacted well as Natkiel bore down on goal, shielding the loose ball and scooping it to safety in the area.
Sherry McCue dragged a long-range shot well wide as Villa's efforts in the final third were lacking in sharpness - something which they certainly improved on after the interval.
There weren't many who would have expected Merrick to score directly from the set piece on the hour, such was the distance between her and the net. But the midfielder did just that as her 30-yard curving strike evaded the pack inside the box and nestled into the back of the net to Watford keeper Shayla Burgess' left.
Erin Vaughan and Mayling entered the fray in place of Cusack and goalscorer Merrick as the visitors gained a tremendous boost from the equaliser and looked determined to show what they could do.
Alicia Robinson was always threatening and kept Burgess busy as her tricky strike forced the 'keeper into a diving save with twenty minutes left.
An agonising miss by Chloe Jones was the peak of Villa's attacking efforts as the midfielder guided a Walker cross just over the bar. Watford were restricted to a few half chances by substitute Josie Green and leader Wiltshire, who came close late on but her quickfire shot was placed wide.
Watford: Shayla Burgess, Georgia Mays (sub Chloe Gunn 79mins), Ellie Butterwick, Renee Hector, Sarah Wiltshire, Bonnie Horwood, Jo Wilson (sub Magda Mosengo 75mins), Kate Natkiel, Megan Wynne (sub Josie Green 66mins), Cally Rowell, Emma Beckett. Subs not used: Lauren Davey, Emily Heaslip.
Aston Villa: Caitlin Leach, Maddy Cusack (sub Erin Vaughan 58mins), Lauren Walker, Sherry McCue, Dani Petrovic, Jade Richards, Beth Merrick (sub Sarah Mayling 68mins), Katy Moran, Carly Davies (sub Olivia Fergusson 79mins), Chloe Jones, Alicia Robinson. Subs not used: Elisha N'Dow, Natalie Courtney.
(Report by www.fawsl.com)
Yeovil Town 4 (Cook 36, Pearson 40,46,72) London Bees 1 (Wakefield 58)
Stacey Pearson scored a hat-trick to give Yeovil Town their first ever FA WSL victory at Sherborne.
In a match played on a heavy pitch and in a torrential downpour, the hosts had goalkeeper Rachel Simkin to thank for producing a stunning double save to firstly deny Sydney Hinchcliffe and then Lucy Loomes on the rebound on 25 minutes. Ten minutes later, Yeovil edged ahead as Katie Cook slotted home from close range before Pearson headed in her first on 40 minutes.
She was on target again shortly after the break after the Bees' defence failed to clear their lines following a corner.
While the Bees pulled a goal back on 58 minutes through Wakefield, who headed powerfully in from a corner, Yeovil restored their three-goal lead when Pearson pounced after Polly Wardle's effort was saved by Bees' keeper Sophie Harris.
Yeovil Town: Rachel Simkin, Helen Bleazard, Rachel Edwards, Natalie Haigh, Jade Kirby, Katie Sherwood (sub Kirsty Whitton 81mins), Jade Lorton-Radburn, Polly Wardle, Paige Stewart, Katie Cook, Stacey Pearson (sub Laura Bray 77mins). Subs not used: Alice Evans, Emma Brazell, Justine Lorton-Radburn, Jemma Tewkesbury, Shauna Cossens.
London Bees: Sophie Harris, Samantha Chappell, Charlotte Herson, Billie Brooks, Vanna Lee, Paige Wakefield, Aoife Hurley, Andria Georgiou (sub Dawn Mallett 45mins), Lucy Loomes (sub Megan Goss 69mins), Sydney Hinchcliffe, Amber Gaylor. Subs not used: Cherie Rowlands, Chontele Lawrence, Katherine Huggins.
(Report by www.fawsl.com)
Cardiff Met Ladies require five points from their final four games in order to regain the Shared Access Welsh Premier Women's League title after winning 3-0 away to Llandudno Junction.
The students took the lead just after the half hour through Emily Brown and Sophie Sherschel added a second goal before half time. Chloe O'Connor rounded off the scoring with the final goal, early in the second half.
Cardiff Met were further boosted with the news that their two nearest rivals, PILCS and Cardiff City FC, battled out a 4-4 draw which did neither side any favours. A Bethan White own goal gave City an early lead and they increased their lead by the break through further goals from Shanelle Edwards and Sadie Harry. The game was turned on its head during the second half when PILCS netted four times in fifteen minutes to put themselves in front, Harry this time scoring an own goal before Lyndsey Davies, Shauna Pentney and Hope Suominen all scored in quick succession. City were not finished though and Siobhan Walsh earned them a share of the spoils with a late, late equaliser.
Port Talbot Town are in the top five after running out 7-1 winners over Aberystwyth Town. Gemma Evans opened the scoring in the eleventh minute with Ffiona Evans equalising shortly afterwards, but Courteney Thomas ensured that the home side led going into the break. Three goals in six minutes after the restart from Sian Scannell, Rachael Ball and Thomas put matters firmly in Port Talbot's control and they went on to seal the win with Evans completing her double and Jessica Curran netting the final goal late on.
Wrexham moved back above Newcastle Emlyn after beating them 3-0. Amber Bailey gave Wrexham the lead with the only goal of the first half and they went on to wrap up the points through second half strikes from Ash Hayes and Emma Roden.
Caernarfon Town gave their survival hopes a huge shot in the arm as they defeated Llanidloes 3-0. It was not until twenty minutes from time that the deadlock was broken through Shan Jones and Caernarfon went on to add further goals in the last ten minutes from Amy Roberts and Ffion Roberts.
Hibernian remain on top of the Scottish Women's Premier League on goal difference after beating local rivals Hutchison Vale 4-0.
Lucy Graham was on target twice for Hibs along with Susan Fairlie and Rachel Walkingshaw to make it four wins out of four for their side.
Glasgow City also maintained their 100% record as they scored nine without reply against Forfar Farmington. Joanne Love, Fiona Brown and Leanne Ross all netted doubles for City, with one apiece from Denise O'Sullivan, Eilish McSorley and Abbi Grant.
Rangers meanwhile went one better with a 10-0 victory over Buchan Ladies which keeps them in third, two points off the pace. Suzanne Mulvey led the scoring with a four-goal haul and Sophie Riley weighed in with a brace, while Natalie Ross, Natalie Cunningham, Lisa Swanson and Kathryn Hill completed the tally.
Things were a lot tighter at Celtic where the home side edged out Spartans 1-0. Abigail Harrison scored the only goal of the game midway through the second half to leave her side in the top four, just three points behind the leading duo.
Hamilton Academicals moved themselves above Inverness City after winning 3-2 in a closely contested game. Katey Turner netted twice and Clare Gemmell the other for the Accies, while Inverness replied through Natalie Bodium and Rachel McLauchlan.
Aberdeen meanwhile notched up their biggest win of the season so far, 5-0 away to Queen's Park. Hannah Stewart bagged a brace for the Dons and she was joined on the scoresheet by Cheryl Anderson, Nikki Wright and Rachael Small.
Brighouse Town Ladies are currently recruiting for the 2014-15 season.
After the success of this season, claiming the league title in the North East Regional Women's League Southern Division with an unbeaten record, Town have announced the decision to add a reserve team to their ranks. The team will play in the West Riding County Women's League and create an opportunity for even more girls to represent the club.
If you are motivated ambitious and looking to join a friendly but competitive club, please visit www.brighousetownladies.webs.com for more information.
Alternatively contact manager Rob Mitchell on (07449) 342651 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Doncaster Rovers Belles 4 (Cresswell 45,63, Thomas 69, Mills 71) Oxford Utd 1 (Osborne-Ricketts 42)
Doncaster Rovers Belles made it two wins out of two in FA WSL 2 with an easy win over Oxford United in a match they dominated at the Keepmoat Stadium.
The Belles might have found themselves several goals to the good at the break were it not for some wasteful finishing.
Jess Sigsworth failed to convert at the end of two separate slaloming runs through the United defence, and skipper Leandra Little put a free header over the bar.
Oxford punished that profligacy three minutes from the break when Sahara Osborne-Ricketts just about squeezed the ball over the line from six yards after Donny failed to clear a cross.
But Oxford didn't manage to take that lead into the break after Demi Lambourne picked up Jemma Connor-Iommi's back pass in first half added time, allowing Lauren Cresswell to find the top corner from Sue Smith's indirect free kick.
Cresswell added her second from another set piece to give Doncaster the lead on 63 minutes, curling a fantastic 25-yard free kick into substitute keeper Hannah Cox's top corner.
The Belles' improvement in front of goal continued with two goals in two minutes as Reanne Thomas found the top corner from Sigsworth's square ball, before substitute Ashleigh Mills chipped Cox from a tight angle.
Doncaster Rovers Belles: Nicola Hobbs, Lyndsey Cunningham, Rhiannon Roberts, Leandra Little, Lauren Cresswell, Millie Bright (sub Ashleigh Mills 61mins), Kasia Lipka (sub Emma Johnson 79mins), Beth England, Reanne Thomas, Jess Sigsworth, Sue Smith. Subs not used: Megan Govier, Victoria Williams, Molly Johnson.
Oxford United: Demi Lambourne (sub Hannah Cox 58mins), Steph Mobbs, Rosanna Lane, Jemma Connor-Iommi, Amy Chivers, Sahara Osborne-Ricketts (sub Ella Franklin-Fraiture 73mins), Kayleigh Hines, Katie Stanley, Helen King, Laura Low (sub Lindsay Pinker 83mins), Lauren Allison. Subs not used: Holly Pickett, Louise Fellows, Nell Boxall.
(Report by www.fawsl.com)
Birmingham City 0 Tyreso FF 0
A dogged and well organised performance has kept Birmingham City's dream alive in the UEFA Women's Champions League as they held Tyreso FF to a goalless draw in the first leg of their semi final at Solihull.
After a nervous start, the Blues' back four defended brilliantly against their renowned opponents to keep a clean sheet but sadly the outstanding Kerys Harrop will miss the return leg in Sweden after being ruled out through suspension.
Tyreso dominated the early possession as Birmingham took a little time to settle in and could have gone ahead in the sixth minute when Marta shot wide after a corner had not been cleared.
Marta to have an even better chance four minutes later from Caroline Seger's long pass and took the ball away from Harrop but her shot went wide of the far post.
Malin Diaz turned the ball past the post from a Marta cross and Veronica Boquete struck the outside of the post after cutting in from the right as Tyreso continued to seek a breakthrough.
Linda Sembrant headed over from close range following a corner and Christen Press had a shot charged down by Aoife Mannion but the Blues rode out the early storm and began to look more threatening themselves when going forward.
Karen Carney and Melissa Lawley were becoming more of an attacking threat down the flanks but the chances continued to go Tyreso's way as the half came to a close. Meghan Klingenberg curled a shot wide of the far post and a powerful strike from Marta was bravely headed away by Harrop as Birmingham kept the scoreline goalless at the interval.
Early in the second half, Birmingham were dealt a blow as Harrop was booked for handball, meaning she will miss the second leg next week.
Tyreso again pressed hard for an early strike but once more the young Birmingham back four stood firm with a succession of interceptions and good challenges. The Swedish side were to come close just after the hour mark though, Marta striking a free kick over the Birmingham wall but Rebecca Spencer dived to her left to pull off a good save.
Two minutes later, Birmingham went agonisingly close themselves when, following good hold up work by Kirsty Linnett, Jade Moore worked herself an opening and drove a shot from 25 yards which flew past the diving Carola Soberg but inches wide of the post.
This near miss gave the Blues side great confidence and they enjoyed their best spell of the game, driven on by the tireless Moore while Carney and Jo Potter were having a bigger influence. Lawley was having a fine match on the left and after turning away from Klingenberg, she sped into the area but Seger did really well to get back and block her shot.
Back came Tyreso and they created their best chance so far. Line Roddik lifted a pass over the Birmingham defence and released Christen Press on goal but the striker lifted her shot harmlessly over the bar with only Spencer to beat. A free kick pumped into the Blues area also caused problems as the ball bobbled around before Mannion did extremely well to get a block in to deny Marta as she looked poised to score.
A strong run by Carney at the Tyreso defence led to another opportunity for Moore but she couldn't get enough power into her left foot shot and it went wide.
Birmingham won a succession of corners in the late stages but, although they could not make a breakthrough, they will be more than happy to take the goalless scoreline into the second leg.
It was a huge occasion in front of a sell out 1,580 crowd for most of the young Birmingham side but they came through with flying colours. Mannion had a fine match alongside Harrop in defence whilst 16-year-old Jess Carter showed astonishing maturity both in defence and possession throughout the match. Tyreso will start the second leg as hot favourites but Birmingham are sure to be in an equally determined mood when the teams meet again.
Birmingham City: Rebecca Spencer, Chelsea Weston, Jess Carter, Jade Moore, Aoife Mannion, Kerys Harrop, Melissa Lawley, Remi Allen, Kirsty Linnett, Karen Carney, Jo Potter. Subs not used: Sophie Baggaley, Meaghan Sargeant, Hannah Keryakoplis, Emily Simpkins, Emily Westwood, Katie Wilkinson, Cristina Torkildsen.
Tyreso FF: Carola Soberg, Meghan Klingenburg, Whitney Engen, Linda Sembrant, Line Roddik (sub Madelaine Edlund 86mins), Caroline Seger, Lisa Dahlkvist, Christen Press, Veronica Boquete, Marta, Malin Diaz (sub Rilany 86mins). Subs not used: Tinja-Riikka Korpela, Elisabet Klinga, Thaisa, Johanna Rytting Kaneryd, Mayara.
(top) Melissa Lawley is pursued by Marta
(middle) Kirsty Linnett tries to wriggle away from Linda Sembrant
(bottom) Jade Moore is inches wide with this effort on goal
Sheffield FC won the Northern Division title for the second successive season on Sunday when they beat Preston North End 5-0 and both Nottingham Forest and Stoke City had lost, meaning they could no longer be caught.
Sheffield captain Carla Ward talked to us about their achievement and the squad's determination for further success before the end of the season:
Congratulations on winning the league title, how does it feel to be confirmed as Champions?
Thanks, it's a bit surreal at the moment. It was a bit of a strange situation, having come off the field after the 5-0 win, we were happy knowing a win at home next week would seal it. Then news started to come in that other results were going our way. By the time the news had been confirmed, some of the girls had left the changing room and the few of us that were there were a bit shell shocked. Obviously we're all very happy but a strange feeling to say the least. We have worked so hard as a group this year on and off the pitch trying to play the right way so it's pleasing to cross the line early and regain the title.
Was it also good to clinch the title in style with a 5-0 win over Preston North End?
Very. However, people will look at that as a big result, but to be fair to Preston they had a much weakened side to the team we played two weeks ago with forced wholesale changes. We knew they had a young side out, so our game plan was to try and put them on the back foot from the word go and it worked. It was pleasing to be clinical in front of goal and I felt we killed the game off by half time.
Given that some teams have effectively come down from the division above, do you think that this title is an even bigger achievement than last season?
Yes, definitely! I think at any level, retaining the title is always difficult, especially like you said with teams having dropped down. I also think the teams that have come up have been tough opposition - Bradford City and Stoke City both having good seasons, and Bradford in particular I think will finish strongly.
You are at home to Derby County this week, do you see it as very important that the teams keeps on winning?
One thing we don't want to do is let our foot off the gas now. People might think we will ring the changes now we have won it, but I don't think that will be the case. We have a huge Cup Final coming up, so I'm sure everyone will be playing for their shirts so I don't see any let up. I guess the only thing you can say is the pressure is off so we can go and enjoy it, but our girls have a winning mentality so I don't see anyone wanting anything but to keep winning.
That's two trophies in the cupboard now with one to play for, the Premier League Cup Final against Cardiff. How determined is the team now to make it a trophy hat-trick?
This for me is the big one. There are a number of players in the dressing room that have never got to the FAWPL League Cup final and a few that have got there and lost, so amongst us not one of us has actually won it, which gives us huge desire to go and try and win it. I think it would be a great finale to what has been a very good season all round.
Is there anyone at the club that deserves credit as a part of your success, someone who is often unsung?
The gaffer, Helen Mitchell! Sheffield FC have grown a very good reputation over the years and it all comes down to the standards she sets. Most clubs have a manager, secretary, treasurer, social media manager and even more staff...we have Mitch who does it all, and so many people don't see that. The club certainly wouldn't be where it is today without the gaffer.
Bristol Academy 0 Chelsea 2 (Ogimi 7,32)
Yuki Ogimi scored both goals as Chelsea made an impressive start to their FA WSL 1 campaign with a convincing in over last year's runners-up at Stoke Gifford.
There was a sign of things to come as early as the fourth minute when Eniola Aluko ran at the Academy defence before bringing out a save from Mary Earps at her near post.
There was no escape for the home side shortly afterwards though as Hannah Blundell floated in a cross from the left for an unmarked Ogimi, who made no mistake in guiding her header past Earps from six yards to put her side ahead.
Chelsea continued to look slick going forward with Ji So-Yun at the heart of most of their passing moves and the South Korean international fired over after Aluko had laid off Jackie Groenen's cross into her path.
Academy mustered up their first attempt with Angharad James sending a shot over the bar following a corner but in general they endured a nightmare first half in which they gave away possession on numerous occasions.
Ji tried her luck from long range with a shot that was gathered by Earps but Chelsea were finally rewarded with a second goal just after the half hour, when Aluko and Ji combined to set up Ogimi who gave Earps no chance with an unerring left foot finish inside the far post.
It could have been three just a minute later as Aluko beat Corinne Yorston and raced towards the edge of the area but her shot flashed across the face of goal.
Academy's most threatening moment of the first half came shortly before the break when Natasha Harding did well to work space down the left and drill in a low cross which just evaded Yorston in front of goal.
Aluko went close within one minute of the restart as she chased a long ball and sent in a shot which was tipped over the bar by Earps.
The home side came into the game much more in the second half but it was Chelsea who continued to carve out the chances and Ogimi was inches away from a hat-trick before the hour mark when she collected a pass from Danielle Buet and drilled a low shot against the post.
Academy responded with Harding shooting over after intercepting a pass out of defence but Chelsea had a great chance to extend their lead when Aluko won a 50-50 challenge with Jaz Matthews and went clear on goal but the striker probably should have done better as she took her shot early, although Earps did deny her with a smart save.
The introduction of Laura Del Rio gave Academy extra attacking impetus and she threatened with some good runs down the wing. One such run almost led to a goal as her centre was headed back across goal by James and although Harding had an open goal in front of her, the ball had come slightly behind her and she was unable to direct her header into the net.
Chelsea hit back with Buet crossing for Ogimi whose header brought out an excellent save from Earps, who also made another fine stop to her right from Aluko who had been found in the area by a good sliding pass from Ji.
Natalia Pablos Sanchon had a downward header saved by Marie Hourihan from a Nikki Watts cross and James, who worked hard in midfield, blazed a shot over but it had not been a good night for Academy and Chelsea ran out very worthy winners.
Bristol Academy: Mary Earps, Grace McCatty, Corinne Yorston, Jaz Matthews, Jemma Rose, Frankie Brown (sub Nikki Watts 53mins), Natalia Pablos Sanchon, Angharad James, Natasha Harding, Sophie Ingle, Loren Dykes (sub Laura Del Rio 64mins). Subs not used: Ann Marie Heatherson, Ellie Curson, Vera Bernabe.
Chelsea: Marie Hourihan, Danielle Buet (sub Anne Meiwald 75mins), Hannah Blundell, Laura Bassett, Gilly Flaherty, Emma Wilhelmsson, Yuki Ogimi, Laura Coombs, Eniola Aluko, Ji So-Yun (sub Rosella Ayane 85mins), Jackie Groenen (sub Jodie Brett 82mins). Subs not used: Rachel Williams, Katie Chapman, Laura Rafferty, Sara Moreira.
(top) Laura Bassett makes a clearance away from Sophie Ingle
(middle) Angharad James attempts an unusual challenge on Eniola Aluko
(bottom) Corinne Yorston can't quite get on the end of a cross under pressure from Marie Hourihan and Laura Bassett
Liverpool 1 (Dowie 71) Manchester City 0
Liverpool got their Women's Super League title defence off to the perfect start as Natasha Dowie's second half strike clinched victory over newcomers Manchester City.
Dowie, who was WSL top scorer last year, broke the deadlock for the Reds after Kate Longhurst had a goal chalked off for handball in the first half.
Liverpool came flying out the blocks and could have gone in front after just four minutes, but Dowie steered Fara Williams' header wide.
They went closer still after the ball rebounded off Longhurst and into the net from Andrea Worrall's attempted clearance, but referee Amy Fearn ruled handball against the striker.
Just before half time, it was City's turn to spring forward as forward Isobel Christiansen forced a fine stop out of Libby Stout.
After the restart, Gemma Davison saw a close range effort cleared off the line by Steph Houghton before Amanda DaCosta, Dowie and Williams all missed chances.
Then on 71 minutes, Dowie latched onto a through ball from Lucy Bronze before slotting the ball past the onrushing Worrall and inside the far post for the only goal of the game.
City's Toni Duggan hit a rasping shot in the closing stages but Stout was equal to the effort as Liverpool held on for the three points.
Liverpool: Libby Stout, Martha Harris (sub Becky Easton 69mins), Corina Schroder, Fara Williams (sub Hannah Dale 88mins), Gemma Bonner, Lucy Bronze, Gemma Davison, Katrin Omarsdottir, Natasha Dowie, Amanda Da Costa, Kate Longhurst. Subs not used: Danielle Gibbons, Ellie Stewart, Ashley Hodson.
Manchester City: Andrea Worrall, Steph Marsh, Chelsea Nightingale, Jess Holbrook, Emma Lipman, Steph Houghton, Krystle Johnston (sub Natasha Flint 81mins), Jill Scott, Toni Duggan, Issy Christiansen, Betsy Hassett. Subs not used: Alex Brooks, Kim Turner, Nicki Harding, Lynda Shepherd.
(Report by www.fawsl.com)
Durham Women 2 (Ness 50, Dixon pen 86) Sunderland 4 (Joice 27, Greenwell 44, Mead pen 69, Wilson 78)
Sunderland made a winning start to their FA Women's Super League 2 campaign, but satisfaction at their victory over north east rivals Durham Women was tempered by a nasty injury to goalkeeper Rachael Laws.
Laws, who spent some of last season on loan at WSL champions Liverpool, was stretchered off before the break after coming off worse from a heavy challenge with Beth Jennings.
The injury was the only sour note on an otherwise successful night for Sunderland, who lived up to their billing as one of the pre-season promotion favourites.
Abbey Joice opened the scoring in the 27th minute, slotting home precisely after unlocking the Durham defence following a one-two with Beth Mead. Vicky Greenwell doubled the Lady Black Cats' lead on the stroke of half time, curling home a direct free kick from the edge of the area.
Durham were only formed in the summer, but they performed creditably throughout and clawed a goal back five minutes after the interval when Zoe Ness spotted replacement goalkeeper Helen Alderson off her line and floated home a 40-yard strike.
Sunderland restored their two-goal advantage when Mead drilled home from the spot, with Gemma Wilson adding a fourth as she hooked home from a corner.
However, it was Durham who had the final say as Caroline Dixon netted a penalty with four minutes left.
Durham Women: Danielle Hill, Ellie Christon, Lauren Jordinson, Jen King, Becky Hanratty, Caroline Dixon, Beth Jennings (sub Meg Lawson 87mins), Beth Hepple (sub Rosie Young 61mins), Zoe Ness, Jess Round, Stacy Crooks (sub Yasmine Hardy 70mins). Subs not used: Katie Luther, Jennifer Jennings.
Sunderland: Rachael Laws (sub Helen Alderson 45), Megan Beer, Steph Bannon, Gemma Wilson, Vicky Greenwell, Rebekah Bass, Rachel Furness (sub Emma Kelly 78), Kelly McDougall, Abbey Joice, Keira Ramshaw, Beth Mead. Subs not used: Abby Holmes, Tyler Dodds, Rebecca Olley.
(Report by www.fawsl.com)
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