FA WSL Champions Liverpool have strengthened their squad with the signing of full back Martha Harris.
The England Under-20 international joins the club from Lincoln Ladies, where she has been a consistent top performing defender.
Martha came through the Lincoln City Centre of Excellence, won the Lincoln Ladies Players' Player of the Year Award, Supporters of the Year Award and finished the season as Player of the Match in the Continental Cup Final against Arsenal.
She also had a very impressive tournament as England reached the Final of the UEFA Women's Under-19 Championships during the summer.
Speaking about the move, Martha said: "I am delighted to be a Liverpool Ladies player and to be a part of such a successful team. This is a fantastic move for me and I am looking forward to starting training with Matt and the entire squad."
Manager Matt Beard added: "It's fantastic to have Martha in the team; she is a very talented, versatile player who will add an extra dimension to the squad.
"Next season will be a challenging one as we fight to defend our title and it's important that we have quality players in the team who can perform to the high standard that the WSL league demands."
Sara Gregorius, Sarah Quantrill, Whitney Engen and Jess Holbrook left the club at the end of the 2013 season while goalkeeper Rachael Laws will also return to Sunderland AFC Ladies, after having been on loan.
Lois Fidler reserved special praise for her England Under-17 side after they narrowly missed out on a World Cup place, labelling them the best team she has ever worked with.
High praise indeed from a coach who has led a team to a World Cup semi final and seen several senior internationals move up from that level, but in the aftermath of their penalty shootout defeat to Italy in the UEFA Under-17 Championships third place play-off match, Lois said: "I have absolutely thoroughly enjoyed working with this team and I think Costa Rica will be a poorer place without an England side.
"I've been doing this job for a long time and had the privilege of working with a large number of players who have gone on to be senior internationals, but I don't think I've ever been prouder of, in my opinion, the best team I've ever worked with.
"The players have been fantastic, the staff have worked really hard and I've got nothing but high expectations for a number of these players moving on.
"I think the players need to remember what it feels like in this situation - you've got the whole of your careers ahead of you - remember what it feels like to see the opposition celebrating like that because it will be useful to you. Hold your heads up high, to be proud and bounce back and live to fight another day."
England captain Leah Williamson had a superb tournament and looks set to have an excellent future in the game. She reflected: "Congratulations to Italy, but we had our chances to win the game. It wasn't to be, though, and we've got to hold our heads high because we did deliver.
"We played well. England teams always get stronger as the tournament goes on. A lot of us have said that this is the tightest team we've played in.
"I'm just thankful to have had this opportunity and been part of it. It's proven to be a very valuable experience."
Leah also thanked the supporters who turned up to cheer England on during their five matches. "The support has been phenomenal," she said. "The atmosphere in the first game was crazy and something these players have never experienced.
"When you're performing on the pitch, you feel you're performing for them. It's been brilliant."
The draw for the quarter finals of the Premier League Cup has been confirmed.
With Charlton Athletic and Leeds United having not made it through the group stages, there will definitely be a new name on the trophy.
Quarter final draw: (to be played on Sunday 2nd February)
Cardiff City Ladies v Lewes
Preston North End v Nottingham Forest
Bradford City v Sheffield FC
Coventry City v Gillingham
Tottenham Hotspur ran out 4-2 winners over Brighton & Hove Albion in Group One on Sunday. The qualifiers had already been decided with Gillingham going through but goals from Wendy Martin (2), Kim Lane and Megan Wynne ensured that Spurs finished on a winning note, Brighton replying through Kirsty Barton and a Martin own goal.
Charlton Athletic and Portsmouth completed the Group Two matches by battling out a 1-1 draw. Sam Pittuck opened the scoring for the Addicks after ten minutes with Charley Wilson levelling shortly before half time. Neither side could find a winner during the second half and it is Lewes who progressed to the last eight.
Cardiff City Ladies clinched top spot in Group Three at the expense of Keynsham Town after beating them 4-0 in the group decider. The South Wales side were two ahead inside the opening ten minutes thanks to Sarah Wiltshire and Naomi Clipston, before Wiltshire went on to add two further goals after the break to complete her hat-trick and the victory.
Coventry City took the honours in Group Four, requiring a three-goal margin of victory in order to take top spot, they duly beat Derby County 4-0 to book their place in the last eight. Maz Gauntlett gave the Sky Blues a first half lead and they went on to clinch the win with second half strikes from Ashleigh Neville, Becky Anderson and Helen Dermody (see match report). There was however consolation for Nottingham Forest who, despite being pipped to top spot by Coventry's win, have since learned that they will also be in the quarter finals by virtue of being the best runners-up.
In Group Six, it was Blackburn Rovers who were 3-1 winners away to Sporting Club Albion thanks to a Nichol Forster brace and Rio Hardy goal but it is Sheffield FC who had already taken the qualification place.
Bradford City took the qualification place in Group Seven as they defeated Stoke City 4-1. Chantelle O'Hara had a great day in front of goal for City as she hit a hat-trick, with Rebecca Kendell adding the other goal.
Blackburn Rovers player Steph Marsh has completed her move to Manchester City after earning a contract for the 2014 FA Women's Super League season.
The talented left sided player, who joined Rovers from Everton's Reserves in the summer of 2012, made her 35th and final appearance for the club in Sunday's 3-1 win away to Sporting Club Albion in the Premier League Cup.
Steph was presented with a special shirt, bearing the message 'good luck' and signed by her Blackburn team mates, by interim manager Gemma Donnelly after the game.
Gillingham saw their unbeaten start to the season in the Southern Division come to an end as they were beaten 3-1 by Lewes.
The Rookettes had been beaten by Chesham Utd seven days earlier but in an entertaining game at the Dripping Pan, they stunned the league leaders as Ashleigh Goddard gave them a fourth minute lead with Naomi Cole and Kelly Newton adding further goals after the break. Gillingham did not give up and after leading scorer Charlotte Gurr missed a penalty, Nikita Whinnett grabbed a late consolation.
West Ham Utd meanwhile put an end to their worrying run of seven matches without a win by defeating Chesham Utd 3-1. Cherrelle Albert scored twice inside the opening fourteen minutes and after Dawne Campbell had given Chesham hope by pulling a goal back just after the hour, Becky Merritt secured the points for the Hammers late on.
Sheffield FC have opened up a seven point advantage at the head of the Northern Division following their 3-2 success away to Leeds Utd.
It was Leeds who got off to a good start, taking a tenth minute lead through Danielle Whitham, but Sheffield hit back dramatically with three goals in a ten-minute spell. First Carla Ward equalised and then Issy Hayes and Jodie Michalska ensured that Helen Mitchell's side were two goals ahead with one quarter of the match played. Leeds gave themselves renewed hope when Carey Huegett pulled one back midway through the second half but Sheffield held on for the win and a commanding lead over their nearest rivals.
Wolverhampton Wanderers meanwhile pulled off their best result of the season to date, winning 5-2 at Newcastle Utd to halve the gap on the teams immediately above them. Dani Selmes gave Wolves the lead on seventeen minutes but then Natalie Henderson and Beth Gardner both scored to put Newcastle in front. The game was turned on its head in the three minutes leading up to half time when Selmes restored Wolves' advantage by netting twice to complete her hat-trick. On the hour mark, Selmes found the net for a fourth time to increase her side's lead and then she turned provider to set up Jamillah Palmer for the final goal.
Chelsea manager Emma Hayes revealed further signings are on the way as she builds a team capable of winning the FA Women's Super League next season.
Hayes' charges are preparing to depart Tokyo having reached the final of the International Women's Club Championship before losing 4-2 to Japanese league and cup champions INAC Kobe Leonessa on Sunday.
Recent recruit Rachel Williams was the Blues' star player in Japan, scoring one and making one in the final as Chelsea almost pulled off a remarkable comeback having trailed 3-0 to their impressive hosts after 80 minutes.
Williams has been joined in West London by her fellow England international Laura Bassett, with both opting not to sign new deals at Birmingham City in favour of the move south.
Despite the tournament in Japan only just ending, Hayes revealed she has no plans to take a break, instead putting her time and energy in to building a side capable of topping the WSL pile next year.
"We have big expectations for next season at Chelsea and I think once everyone sees the signings we bring in you will see that we have very serious intentions to compete and win our league next season," said Hayes, who oversaw a 3-2 win over Sydney FC in the semi final in Japan.
"I think once we complete the signings of a few more players we will add good quality to the team. But we also have some good youngsters coming through and I think you will see a much more competitive Chelsea next season.
"Being here has allowed us to build a spirit, which is the most important thing. We will have more time to train when we are back in England and we will use this trip as a motivation for the players as it has been a massive success on and off the pitch as we have had time to spend in the community in Tokyo and Okayama."
INAC Kobe were the big favourites for the game and opened up a 3-0 goal lead before Williams and Hannah Blundell pegged them back, only for the hosts to catch Chelsea on the break in injury time.
Hayes believes running a side packed full of internationals so close during what is effectively pre-season for Chelsea will stand her players in good stead for next year.
"We knew it would be a difficult game against a top team and due to the time of the year we didn't have the fitness levels to play a high-pressing game," she added.
"In general I think we had good opportunities, we hit the bar and had a one on one but we missed those chances at crucial times and as we didn't convert, 3-0 was too difficult a score to come back from.
"But the team showed great character second half and I think if we played them again during our season we would give them an even better game.
"INAC are a team that have played together for a long time and that is the difference. We have similar philosophies and they have top players but the time together was the main difference."
Derby County 0 Coventry City 4
Coventry City powered their way into the knockout stage of the Premier League Cup with a 4-0 away win over Derby County at Borrowash Victoria FC.
Needing a three-goal margin of victory to clinch first place in Group Four, the Sky Blues held a single goal advantage at half time, courtesy of a 26th minute Maz Gauntlett header from Helen Dermody's inswinging cross.
Gauntlett nearly added a second two minutes after the break but was denied by a good save from Rams keeper Sarah Morgan. The introduction of Destiney Toussaint proved the catalyst or the Sky Blues breakthrough as her first involvement provided a run and right wing cross which was volleyed home at the far post by Ashleigh Neville on 56 minutes.
Coventry were in control and it seemed only a matter of time before the crucial goal came. Becky Anderson hit the bar with a long range effort but the third arrived from an interception of a wayward short goal kick. The ball was worked back into the area where Rams defenders twice blocked goal attempts before Dermody set up Anderson to rifle the loose ball home from 15 yards on 72 minutes.
Derby threatened Sue Wood's goal on occasions and a single consolation effort would have allowed Nottingham Forest to top the group. The Coventry keeper was forced into one diving save, but Morgan was still much busier, making another good stop from a lofted Dermody effort high to her right.
The final goal went fittingly to Dermody, who had been at the centre of the best Coventry pressure. Again, Derby defenders did well to block goal bound efforts but the Sky Blues forward was free to strike the loose ball left footed beyond Morgan's dive and into the roof of the net to ease any nerves.
This was a comprehensive win for a powerful Coventry outfit over a hard working Derby team which struggled to contain the pace and variety of the visitors' attacking options.
Derby County: Sarah Morgan, Louisa Abbey, Lorna Abbey, Paige Coleman, Samantha Griffiths, Emily Jeffery, Portia Badach, Natalie Reay, Hannah Ward, Melissa Johnson, Natasha Hughes. Subs: Daisy Pridden, Dayna Randall, Cecilia Webb, Camilla Newton.
Coventry City: Sue Wood, Annabel Johnson, Beth Poppleton, Hayley Ladd, Natasha Lynch, Kim Walton, Nicole Dale, Becky Anderson, Maz Gauntlett, Helen Dermody, Ashleigh Neville. Subs: Katy Male, Natalie Brace, Destiney Toussaint, Nikki Miles, Codee Applebee.
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
Photos by www.jamesprickett.co.uk:
(top) Paige Crossman is challenged by Ashleigh Neville
(middle) Natalie Reay and Ashleigh Neville battle for the ball with Hayley Ladd looking on
(bottom) Lorna Abbey under pressure from Destiney Toussaint
Germany won the UEFA Women's Under-17 Championships for the fourth time when they beat Spain on penalties following a 1-1 draw in the Final at Chesterfield.
The sides had met during the group stages with Spain winning 4-0 on that occasion and they got off to a great start when Patricia Guijarro gave them a ninth minute lead with a strike from just outside the area.
Spain continued to dominate matters during the first half but the all-important second goal would not come. They came closest just before half time when a corner taken by Andrea Sanchez was flicked on by Nahikari Garcia and Mireya Garcia Boa volleyed wide at the far post.
The pattern of the game continued after the break with Spain still calling the shots and Germany having to stand firm under pressure. Garcia went close when she put the rebound wide after Vivien Brandt had failed to hold on to a Sanchez shot as the goal continued to elude the Spaniards.
The Germans can never be written off though and with four minutes remaining, they levelled the scores with only their second shot of the half. Nina Ehegotz curled in a low cross and although Jasmin Sehan missed her shot at the near post, Isabella Hartig was on hand to slot the ball home from close range.
Spain could still have won it in injury time but Brandt came to her side's rescue with a fine save from a Sanchez free kick, taking the game into a penalty shootout.
Brandt was to continue her heroics in the shootout with saves from Garcia Boa and Garcia, despite appearing to have moved at least two yards off her line on each occasion. Elena De Toro saved from Saskia Meier but Sehan and Laura Widak scored, with Guijarro replying, before Pilar Garrote fired over the bar, leaving Hartig to find the net and secure victory for her side.
Germany: Vivien Brandt, Michaela Brandenburg, Lisa Karl, Leonie Stenzel (sub Isabella Hartig 57mins), Kim Fellhauer, Michaela Specht, Nina Ehegotz, Saskia Meier, Laura Widak, Jasmin Sehan, Ricarda Walkling (sub Saskia Matheis 39mins). Subs not used: Lena Pauels, Jana Lober, Burcu Ozkanca, Melanie Ott, Samantha Dick.
Spain: Elena De Toro, Nuria Garrote, Beatriz Beltran, Silvia Merida, Aitana Bonmati, Pilar Garrote, Nahikari Garcia, Mireya Garcia Boa, Patricia Guijarro, Andrea Sanchez, Queralt Gomez. Subs not used: Cristina Portomene, Rocio Galvez, Carmen Menayo, Laura Ortega, Cintia Montagut, Maite Oroz, Laura Dominguez.
England 0 Italy 0
Italy won 4-3 on penalties
England's hopes of playing in next year's FIFA Women's Under-17 World Cup came to an end in the cruellest of fashions as they were beaten in a penalty shootout at Burton.
A place in the Finals was on offer for the winners of the third place play-off and with so much at stake, the game was a tense affair but England will look back at one moment in the second half when Sophie Stamp had a goal controversially disallowed for offside.
The game started similarly to the sides' meeting in the group stages with Italy creating the early chances. Kirstie Levell was called into action when she saved from a Gloria Martinelli header and from the resulting corner, Martina Piemonte hooked her shot just wide.
After a frenetic start, the game began to settle down and England began to take more possession with a slow, patient build up and Keira Walsh prompting in midfield alongside the hard working Mollie Rouse.
England were finding it difficult to contain the skilful Manuela Giugliano in midfield though and she attempted to thread a number of passes for the strikers to run on to. On two occasions, Gabrielle George came to her side's rescue with two perfectly timed tackles to prevent goalscoring chances, including one excellent intervention as Martinelli made her way into the area.
The first half ended goalless but England thought they had made the breakthrough on 47 minutes as, following a corner, Walsh floated the ball into the area for Sophie Stamp to head firmly home but celebrations were quickly ruled out by an offside flag. The midfielder appeared to have made run from a deep position to the near post and the flag may have been raised against Chloe Kelly but the decision appeared to be a very harsh one.
Italy were next to go close as Federica Cavicchia clipped an excellent pass into the path of Martinelli who bore down on goal but shot straight at Levell. Then, Annamaria Serturini drove a teasing low centre across the England goal but Valentina Bergamaschi failed to get a touch in front of goal.
Lucy Porter had a shot saved and a Walsh effort was charged down whilst at the other end, Giugliano made a threatening run to the edge of the area where she curled her shot just wide.
With penalties looming very large, both teams tried frantically to win the game in the last five minutes and play surged from end to end. England needed to withstand a number of late corners but defended superbly, led well once again by the inspirational Williamson, and goalkeeper Levell impressed once again with faultless handling.
Despite a thrilling end to the match as the teams threw everything they could at each other, neither could make a breakthrough and the World Cup place was to be decided by the most unfair of methods.
Alice Hassall tried to give England an early lead but her kick was saved by Francesca Durante, Lisa Boattin's shot went in off the post. Williamson and Giugliano confidently stroked home their kicks but then Durante produced a superb save from Kelly, tipping her shot onto the post. Martinelli tucked home the next to put Italy within one penalty of victory.
Brogan McHugh needed to score to keep England alive and did so emphatically, then Levell saved from her counterpart Durante to give her side hope. Walsh did what she had to do and scored to put the pressure on Marta Vergani but she kept her cool to fire home the winner and start wild Italian celebrations, while the desolate England players could only look on.
England: Kirstie Levell, Alice Hassall, Jemma Purfield, Mollie Rouse, Leah Williamson, Gabriella George, Lucy Porter, Sophie Stamp (sub Brogan McHugh 71mins), Chloe Kelly, Keira Walsh, Atlanta Primus (sub Evie Clarke 40mins). Subs not used: Sian Rogers, Phillippa Cowley, Ella Williams, Rebecca Lloyd, Ellie Wilkinson.
Italy: Francesca Durante, Marta Vergani, Lisa Boattin, Federica Cavicchia, Nicole Peressotti, Sara Mella (sub Beatrice Abati 59mins), Federica Rizza, Annamaria Serturini (sub Marta Mascarello 72mins), Gloria Martinelli, Manuela Giugliano, Martina Piemonte (sub Valentina Bergamaschi 40mins). Subs not used: Alessia Piazza, Laura Perin, Flaminia Simonetti, Valery Vigilucci.
Photos by www.jamesprickett.co.uk:
(top) Lucy Porter gets away from Sara Mella
(middle) Keira Walsh closes down Italian captain Lisa Boattin
(bottom) Mollie Rouse gets the better of Beatrice Abati in midfield
Swansea City caused an upset in the quarter finals of the Shared Access Welsh Premier Women's League Cup when they won 2-1 away to Cardiff City FC.
The game was goalless at half time but Swansea opened the scoring ten minutes after the restart through Katy Hosford. Shanelle Edwards levelled the scores midway through the half but five minutes later, Lauren Hancock sent the Swans into the last four.
League leaders Cardiff Met Ladies successfully negotiated a tricky tie away to Newcastle Emlyn with a 4-1 victory. Ellie Sargent gave the students a fifth minute lead which was doubled by Laura Walkley, before Amanda John pulled a goal back for the home side on the stroke of half time. Walkley put Cardiff Met back in control on 64 minutes with her second goal and Sargent also completed her double to wrap up the win.
Port Talbot Town also booked their place in the semi finals with a 3-0 win against Aberystwyth Town. Two goals in a two minute spell midway through the first half, scored by Lauren Williams and Lauren Amor, helped Port Talbot on their way and they made the game safe with six minutes remaining when Lauren Smith netted the third.
The semi final line up is completed by Llanidloes who travelled to North Wales and returned with a 2-0 success over Caernarfon Town under their belts. Lowri Savage opened the scoring for the mid-Wales side, who are having a good season, on 36 minutes and Kate Thomas clinched the win with the second goal deep into the second half.
Glasgow City are delighted to announce the signing of American defender Ella Stephan.
Stephan, who turned 24 years old last week, is a former US national team player at all youth levels from Under-17, Under-20 and most recently at Under-23. The Florida born player spent four very successful years at Florida State University, one of the top performing college soccer teams in the States, along with playing for W-League side Pali-Blues before going to ply her trade with Russian side FC Ryazan.
On joining Glasgow City, Ella said: "I am very excited about the opportunity to play for the Scottish team, Glasgow FC. I have heard many great things about this team, and I look forward to being a part of this organisation."
Commenting on securing the signature of Ella, Club Manager, Laura Montgomery said: "It is a fantastic piece of business for our club to have signed a player like Ella and I think highlights not only how ambitious we are as a club to keep pushing forward, but also how we can attract players of Ella's capability to play for Glasgow City.
"Ella has spent her career so far in teams containing the likes of Alex Morgan, Kelly O'Hara, Lauren Chaney, Tobin Heath and Casey Noguiera both at international and club level and we look forward to benefiting from that level of experience at City. We had a very successful year this season, but we are already planning on how we surpass this for 2014 and having Ella on board will certainly help."
City Head Coach Eddie Wolecki Black added: "This post season I have had a little longer to target specific areas of the team I believe needed improved. Of course some players will look for new challenges abroad and some I had to make the difficult decision to let go, which in certain cases might have been surprising for those outside the club.
"This year I am determined to work with a tighter group of players and a more focused group. Knowing that we have to fill a few defensive positions in the team I am delighted that Ella has joined us for the season. She comes highly recommended and will be here for the start of the pre-season. I am looking forward to working with her and wish her well."
The FA has appointed Mark Sampson as the new Head Coach of the England Senior Women's Team.
Sampson has signed a four-year contract with the FA and will begin work with immediate effect, his first task to name a squad for the January training camp in La Manga.
Reporting to the FA's Director of Football Development Sir Trevor Brooking and the Club England Board, Sampson will work closely with the national coaches and the new Head of Elite Women's Development at St George's Park to improve England teams at all levels and support the player pathway up to the Senior Women's team.
Sampson said: "I'm very proud and honoured to be offered the opportunity by The Football Association to manage the England Women's senior team. Women's football in England is in a fantastic place right now with the growth and development of the game in the last few years and I am ready to give everything I have to build an England team that every English supporter can be proud of.
"I am also very thankful to Brent [Hills] for the excellent work he has done in helping the team get off to a winning start in the qualifying campaign for the World Cup in 2015. The aim is to build on this momentum going forwards, and I look forward to the first training camp in January.
"This is huge challenge for me personally and one in which I'm looking forward to taking on. I hope everyone in the game can unite behind me and the squad and together we can share a new and exciting journey for women's football in England."
Sir Trevor Brooking said of the appointment: "Mark is an outstanding manager with a tremendous passion and commitment to drive the game forward in this country. We were extremely impressed by Mark's vision for the England Women's team and we are all looking forward to working with him in what is a very exciting time for the women's game in this country.
"I would also like to place on record The FA's thanks to Brent Hills who, as interim manager, oversaw an excellent start to our FIFA Women's World Cup qualification campaign."
Sampson joins The FA after five successful years in charge at Bristol Academy WFC, leading the WSL club to two FA Women's Cup Finals and qualifying for Champions League football for the first time in its history. Sampson led Bristol to their highest top flight finish this year, finishing runners-up to Liverpool on the final day of the WSL season.
Previous to his role at Bristol, Sampson worked under Roberto Martinez at Swansea City as the Centre of Excellence Manager.
England Under-17 Head Coach Lois Fidler refused to be downbeat despite her side's 3-0 defeat to Spain in the semi finals of the UEFA Women's Under-17 Championships and immediately turned her attentions to Sunday's third place play-off match against Italy.
"I think for large portions of the game we were still very much in it," said Lois. "I am pleased with the way that the players took our strategy and game plan to the Spanish, I don't think we were intimidated by them and I think we gave it our best shot.
"I think overall the better technical side won and I want to congratulate the Spanish and wish them the best of luck in the Final. They hit the woodwork a couple of times early on and we created a couple of chances - it would have been nice to have got back in it and have them chase it but unfortunately today that didn't happen.
"But it was another competitive, spirited, hard working performance from the team."
Lois admitted that the latter part of the first half had been England's best spell of the game but they were unable to make a breakthrough at that stage. "It would have been great to get an equaliser before going in to the break but unfortunately it didn't happen," she said.
"When you're chasing the game, you make a few changes - it was the fourth game of the tournaments and players begin to look fatigued but that was the same for both teams. I actually think that for large spells, we looked in better shape than them to be honest, but we were taking more risks and unfortunately it was a gamble that didn't pay off today."
There is still much for England to play for on Sunday though with the ultimate prize of a place in next year's FIFA Women's Under-17 World Cup for the winners. "I said to the players that [they] can be disappointed but don't forget what we came here to do. We have to recover, preparation starts for the next game and we end the tournament as we began it with a game against Italy, ultimately trying to seal the prize that we came here for, which was to qualify for the World Cup.
"I also said to the players, 'remember what it feels like to see the Spanish celebrate and enjoy the fact they have got to the final.' We'll qualify in the next game, fingers crossed, we'll come back again after three months preparation and maybe we'll take on Spain again in Costa Rica.
"The players are quite clear and focused in what they want to achieve. The team is really tight and committed and they know they have got another bite of the cherry [so] I won't need to pick them up. They have known what they've wanted coming into it and that is still very much in our sights, so I think they'll pick themselves up.
"We did quite a lot of preparation for our opening game against Italy and we are well aware of their strengths and weaknesses. I still think we were unlucky not to get something out of the opening game and I think that will be motivation for the players going into the next one. I think they'll have a bit of a point to prove, on a mission to qualify for the World Cup, and we'll go for it.
"It's always hard when you're playing in the third/fourth place play-off but we want a podium finish. We still want to come into this tournament and get something out of it and it's our Final - and that's the way we'll prepare for it."
After losing their first two Premier League matches following promotion, Bradford City are starting to climb the Northern Division and are now in mid-table, having lost just one of their last six league matches.
Bradford's improvement has been shown in their last two games, becoming the first team to beat Nottingham Forest this season and following that result up on Sunday with a 4-0 win away to Newcastle Utd.
We talked to Charlotte Stuart, who has been a regular in the Bradford City midfield this season, and she told us that her team were always confident that they could acquit themselves well at Premier League level:
Was the win over Newcastle the best performance the team has produced so far this season?
Yes the win over Newcastle was the best team performance, team effort and our movement on and off the ball and our short passing by far the best.
Was it a particularly good result following one from the victory over Nottingham Forest?
It was a great result to carry on our performance from the Forest game.
How much better does the league table look now, seeing the team around mid-table?
Seeing us in mid-table now shows what we all know we can do. We have great players and a great team and we have now started to click.
Was it tough to adjust to Premier League football early on?
I don't think it was tough to adjust to the Premier League, we had a bad start due to players being missing and we brought new players in, so we needed to find our feet and gel as a team.
Has the team been doing anything different in recent weeks or was it a case of adapting to a higher level?
We have all continued to work hard at training, our manager working hard with our training sessions, as well as both players and management watching games back to see what improvements we need, where we were going wrong and progressing from that.
What do you feel the team are capable of achieving now?
Everyone at the club knows the capability of our players. We just needed time to gel as a team, for us the key is to continue on from our last few games and continue moving up the table.
Sarah Danby has been in good form in front of goal recently, have her goals made a big difference?
Danby is a great player and it's great to have someone on form in front of goal, she brings a lot to the team.
You have a big League Cup tie with Stoke City this week, is the club targeting a good run in the cup?
Every game is important to us but our main focus is the league and County Cup, but of course we will be looking to carry on our good form into the Stoke game.
England 0 Spain 3 (Sanchez 16,78, P.Garrote 54)
at Burton Albion F.C.
England's hopes of reaching the Final of the UEFA Under-17 Championships came to an end when they were beaten by a very impressive Spanish side in the semi finals at Burton.
Lois Fidler's side gave their best but Spain were too strong on the day and they will play Germany in the Final on Sunday whilst England will take on Italy once again for third place and the remaining World Cup spot.
Spain started the game confidently and almost got an early strike as Aitana Bonmati carried the ball forward but her shot from the edge of the area hit the bar.
On the sixteen minute mark though, it was Spain who took the lead when Mireya Garcia Boa's cross was headed in at the far post by Andrea Sanchez.
It could have been two a couple of minutes later but Nahikari Garcia's header came back off the post after she was picked out by Sanchez' cross.
England hit back with Jemma Purfield flashing a dangerous ball across the face of goal but no team mate was on hand to turn the ball home. Atlanta Primus tried her luck from the edge of the area but her effort flew straight at Elena Del Toro.
There was a scare for England just before half time as Garcia broke into the area and her low cross was cleared from in front of goal by Purfield. Kirstie Levell also needed to make a diving save from a volley by Garcia Boa as Spain finished the first half on top and a goal to the good.
Primus had an early opportunity in the second half when she bundled her way into the area where her shot was deflected wide. Spain broke away from the resulting corner with Garcia Boa playing in Sanchez who held off a challenge from Chloe Kelly before her shot crashed against the near post.
The dangerous Garcia Boa fired a shot over the bar after bursting down the right and Levell did well to hold a strike from Patricia Guijarro as Spain continued to impress going forward.
The pressure was increasing on England and it finally told on 54 minutes. England were the architects of their own downfall though by playing too many passes across the back four with the Spanish strikers pressing them constantly and this led to them conceding a corner. The initial cross was headed away by Leah Williamson but it went as far as Pilar Garrote whose 20-yard drive took a deflection and flew past Levell for the second goal.
Levell needed to make a crucial smothering save to keep her side in the game after Garcia had made a superb run on goal which had taken her past three England players. Sanchez also had a shot saved as Spain looked dangerous every time they went forward.
Spurred on by the excellent Williamson, England tried to seek a consolation goal but the game was put beyond doubt with two minutes left, although it was a fortuitous goal as Sanchez scored direct from a corner, her cross-cum-shot swerving and dipping viciously over Levell.
England: Kirstie Levell, Alice Hassall, Jemma Purfield, Mollie Rouse, Leah Williamson, Gabriella George, Evie Clarke (sub Ellie Wilkinson 57mins), Sophie Stamp (sub Rebecca Lloyd 64mins), Chloe Kelly, Lucy Porter (sub Brogan McHugh 77mins), Atlanta Primus. Subs not used: Sian Rogers, Phillippa Cowley, Ella Williams.
Spain: Elena Del Toro, Nuria Garrote (sub Cintia Montagut 80mins), Beatriz Beltran, Aitana Bonmati, Rocio Galvez,Pilar Garrote, Nahikari Garcia (sub Carmen Menayo 78mins), Mireya Garcia Boa, Patricia Guijarro, Andrea Sanchez,Queralt Gomez. Subs not used: Cristina Portomene, Laura Ortega, Maite Oroz, Laura Dominguez.
Photos by www.jamesprickett.co.uk:
(top) Atlanta Primus takes on Nuria Garrote
(middle) Lucy Porter wins the ball from a grounded Mireya Garcia Boa
(bottom) Leah Williamson is challenged by Aitana Bonmati
Manchester City have further strengthened their squad for next season in the FA WSL with the signing of England international Steph Houghton from Arsenal.
After a three-year spell with the Gunners which ended with her leading the side to F.A.Women's Cup and Continental Cup triumphs this year, Steph Houghton will join City on a three-year deal on New Year's Day.
After first coming to prominence with her local club Sunderland, Steph helped guide them into the National Division before making the move to Leeds Utd in 2007. During her time with the club, she helped them win the Premier League Cup in 2010 and two years earlier she won the FA Young Player of the Year award.
She moved on to Arsenal and the newly formed FA WSL and won a total of seven major honours in three years, as well as appearing in two UEFA Women's Champions League semi finals.
Steph also became a household name last year when scoring three times for Team GB in the Olympic Games, including the winning goal against Brazil at Wembley. Having twice missed out on major international tournaments due to serious injuries, the 25-year-old has represented England in the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup and Euro 2013 Finals.
FC Reedswood are having a fine Cup run and after having knocked out Mansfield Road in the previous round, they claimed another Midland Combination scalp as they defeated Leicester City Ladies 2-1, Kathryn Mudge and Rebecca Knight scoring their goals.
Next up for the West Midlands League outfit is a tough tie against Combination leaders Copsewood (Coventry) who were given a hard battle by Nettleham before eventually emerging as 1-0 winners, Natalie Dean grabbing the only goal of the game during the first half.
St Nicholas caused the other surprise in the First Round, the South West League leaders winning 1-0 away to Forest Green Rovers thanks to a second half goal from Becky Rexworthy. The draw has handed the Chipping Sodbury-based side a plum trip to Premier League Southern Division high fliers Cardiff City Ladies.
Jaime Duggan scored twice, with Laura Morris and Sophie Edwards adding the others as TNS Ladies eased through with a 4-0 victory over Sandiacre Town and the West Midlands League side now have the task of taking on Stoke City. Loughborough Students meanwhile defeated Cambridge Women 5-2 to earn themselves a home tie with Leeds Utd.
Huddersfield Town stormed to a fine 6-1 win away to Chorley and their reward is an intriguing Second Round tie against Coventry City. Emily Heckler was on target twice for Huddersfield along with Alice Linsell, Dominique Balmond, Shauna Messenger and an own goal.
Middlesbrough won 3-2 against Sheffield Utd Community. Lindsey Stephenson scored the winning goal via a 30-yard free kick to add to Sarah Manning's two earlier strikes. 'Boro are now at home to Tranmere Rovers who already have one successful trip to the North East under their belts, having been 1-0 winners at Chester-le-Street Town, an own goal separating the sides on the day.
Whitley Bay ended the challenge of Brighouse Town with a 2-1 victory. Julie Duggan and Catherine Shields scored the goals for Whitley who have landed a plum home tie with Blackburn Rovers.
Liverpool Feds meanwhile ran out 6-0 winners against Peterlee St Francis. Rosie Havelin led the scoring with a four-goal haul and also on target for the Feds were Aimee Hand and Jade Collins. The draw has not been the kindest to the Northern Combination side who must play away to Sheffield FC.
Nikki Berko settled matters with a last gasp goal as Blackpool Wren Rovers won a tightly contested tie 1-0 against Hull City. They have been drawn away to Premier League Bradford City in the next round.
Chichester City scored six without reply past Gloucester City, Kelly Ambler and Lauren Cheshire were on target twice along with Chantelle Strudwick and Taylor McGlashan. Chichester are now at home to Enfield Town who beat Norwich City 3-2 with goals from Nula McKevitt, Kerrie Marlborough and Sheree Oliver (see match report).
Denham Utd will travel to Lewes after they won 5-2 away to Ebbsfleet Utd, Lauren Cox bagging a hat-trick and she was joined on the scoresheet by Rebecca Scott and Natasha Stephens. Leah Cudone, Emily Mann and Eden Washington were the markswomen for Milton Keynes Dons as they returned from Loughborough Foxes with a 3-1 victory and they will travel to play former Cup winners Charlton Athletic in the next round.
Queen's Park Rangers swept through a tricky tie away to Leverstock Green and ran out 5-0 winners. Stacey Sowden netted four times and Leanne Mabey the other for Rangers who have set up a fascinating meeting with Southern Division table toppers Gillingham.
Larkhall Athletic eased through with a 3-0 victory against Swindon Spitfires. Natasha Miller gave them the lead midway through the first half with Emily Harrington adding the other two goals. The Larks will face Premier League opposition in the Second Round as they will go to Chesham Utd.
Vicky Barter, Leah Brooks and Tash Knapman were all on the scoresheet as Exeter City came through an awkward tie by beating Gosport Borough 3-1. This sets up a Devon local derby tie in the next round against Plymouth Argyle who advanced with a walkover against University of Portsmouth.
C & K Basildon ended the Cup run of Kikk Utd by beating them 2-1 with goals from Sara Sinclair and Amy Nash. The South East Combination high fliers have been rewarded with a home tie against local rivals West Ham Utd.
Crystal Palace were 2-0 winners over Maidenhead Utd and they must now travel to Bedford Ladies who received a walkover against Westfield.
Rotherham Utd have climbed into third place in the table after winning 5-0 away to Radcliffe Olympic. Amy Pollock was on target twice for the Millers along with Jade Rabjohn, Nat Shaw and Grace Birchall.
Mansfield Town meanwhile claimed their second league victory of the season, 2-1 against Curzon Ashton, thanks to goals from Charlotte Montgomery and Abbey Hawkins.
South East Combination
One match was played in the league on Sunday, Ipswich Town increasing the distance between themselves and the bottom two places via a 3-0 victory at Luton Town.
South West Combination
Swindon Town have taken over the leadership of the table following their 4-0 win against Newquay. Ellie Maynard was on target twice for the Wiltshire side along with Georgia Walters and Sally Butterfield.
Keynsham Development continued their improving form and are up into a mid-table position after scoring seven without reply past Southampton Saints. Michelle Owen, Anna Burgoyne and Charlotte Brankin each netted doubles and the tally was completed by Olivera Markovic.
East Midlands League
Steel City Wanderers preserved their lead at the top of the Premier Division and extended their unblemished start to eight games by winning 4-1 against Real Utd. Cheryl Mawhood bagged another hat trick with Jen Pearson also on target but the star player for Steels manager Ian Smith was Maria Burns with a polished display from midfield. The title battle appears to be slowly developing into a two-horse race with Pelican Ladies still chasing after the Steels, goals from Rhyiannea Anderson (2), Sheryl Gayle and Marie Wayne earning them a 4-0 success at Ellistown. Peterborough Northern Star defeated Rise Park 2-0 thanks to Julie Ikeda and an own goal, whilst Jenny Lorimer scored the only goal of the game as Arnold Town won 1-0 away to AFC Trinity.
Solar Ladies stay six points clear in Division One North following their 4-2 win at Ruddington Village. Toni McHamilton bagged a hat-trick with Lisa Cromey adding the other goal. Sleaford Town remain on Solar's heels in second after a Megan Collings hat-trick, Hannah Brewis (2), Lauren Flint and Tracey Duxbury-Mead gave them a 7-1 success away to Retford Utd. Courtney Walters was another hat-trick scorer as Notts County Development defeated Teversal 6-0, Anna-Marie Casey-Horton, April Bingham and Lauren Yeomans completing the tally. Hannah Dutton, Grace Galloway and Brigitte Warrender scored the goals as Alfreton Town beat West Bridgford 3-0 and Mansfield Hosiery Mills won 3-1 at Grimsby Town thanks to an Amy Jones brace and Jade Curtis.
Division One South leaders Gedling Town beat Kettering Town 2-0, Hayley Brown and Natalie Watson scoring, to maintain their two point advantage over second placed Oadby & Wigston Dynamo who won 2-1 against Raunds Town thanks to Holly Gendall and Eve Lomasney. Rothwell Corinthians won for the first time, 5-2 over Loughborough Students (2006), Leah West hitting a hat-trick with Dannielle Ives and Christine Waite adding the others.
* On Tuesday night, Pelican Ladies narrowed the gap on leaders Steel City Wanderers to one point by beating Arnold Town 3-1.
Eastern Region League
Barking went through to the quarter finals of the League Cup as goals from Carly Copplestone and Katie Whitehead gave them a 2-1 victory over Lowestoft Town. Sophie Hopkin hit a hat-trick with Becky Charter and Kate Saunders adding the others as Great Shelford defeated Colchester Town 5-1. Leighton Utd also scored five against Haringey Borough whilst Sawbridgeworth Town came through a difficult tie away to C & K Basildon Res, Rebecca Maybury grabbing the only goal of the game. Sophie Tullett was the hero for Bar Hill, her hat-trick seeing them edge out Norwich City Res 3-2 and the other tie between AFC Sudbury and Peterborough Sports finished level at 2-2 after extra time but penalties were abandoned due to bad light.
Ipswich Wanderers progressed in the League Plate with a 4-1 victory over West Billericay, courtesy of an Emma Goldsmith hat-trick and Beth Liles. Sherri Evans, Katherine Hale, Tayla Huckle, Mary Lisle and an own goal ensured that Stevenage Borough Res won 5-2 against Acle Ladies and Royston Town came away from Witham Town with a 3-1 win, goals coming from Joanne Rutherford, Amy Shepherd and Grace Leslie. Hutton made it through with a 2-1 extra time victory over Baldock Town, Rachael Agombar and Lucy Hudson scoring, and AFC Dunstable also needed extra time as they beat Hoddesdon Owls 4-2, Dionne Manning netting twice along with Tracey Blake and Holly Skinner.
In the Premier Division, Billericay Town moved to within two points of leaders Bedford Ladies by winning 2-0 away to Stevenage Borough, Nicola Dunsdon scoring both goals.
London & South East League
Maidstone Utd returned to winning ways and stay seven points clear after beating AFC Wimbledon 5-0. Claire Williams netted twice for the Stones whose other goals came from Abigail Spragg, Nichola Morris and Aimee Churchill. London Corinthians keep up the chase in second following a 4-1 victory away to Fulham Compton. Crawley Wasps won 2-1 at Old Actonians to consolidate their fourth position whilst at the other end of the table, Eastbourne Town doubled their points tally for the season when they shared a 2-2 draw with Hassocks.
Things remain tight at the top of Division One (London) where Carshalton Athletic won 6-3 away to Camden Town to lead the way by three points from Watford Development, who moved above Queen's Park Rangers Development into second place via a 2-1 success at Regents Park Rangers. Colne Valley are up into fourth following their 4-1 victory against Battersea & Wandsworth and Tottenham Hotspur Development were 3-0 winners over Chertsey Town.
North East League
Norton & Stockton Ancients extended their Premier Division lead to five points on the back of a 7-3 victory away to Guiseley. Bianca Owens hit a hat-trick, Nyci Thorns added two and there was one apiece from Victoria Hutchinson and Becky Stephenson. Third placed York City lost ground when they were beaten 2-0 by Lepton Highlanders for whom Rachel Lockwood netted both goals. Laura Burgess and Jessica Burton were on the scoresheet as Barnsley won 2-0 at Scunthorpe & Bottesford and Hessle Town defeated Castleford White Rose 7-3 thanks to a Liberty Bott hat-trick, Ellie McKenzie (2), Emily Rymchuk and Victoria Stonehouse.
Northern Division leaders Lowick Utd were beaten for the first time this season, 5-2 by Tynedale who reduced their advantage to four points. Birtley St Josephs kept in touch by beating local rivals Birtley Town 6-1 with goals from Sinead Ord (2), Kirsty Poulter, Tammy Forster, Amy Lynn and Heather MacKinlay. Sophie Cox and Zara Johnson were on target as Kader FC won 2-1 at Redcar Athletic and Prudhoe Town beat Middlesbrough Lionesses by the same scoreline with strikes from Jenny Wilkes and Layla Zahawi. Whickham Fellside meanwhile climbed above Easingwold Town by defeating them 3-1 courtesy of Elizabeth Campbell, Tracey Embleton and Emily Tate.
Wetherby Athletic have gone five points clear in the Southern Division after winning 5-1 away to Malet Lambert. Millers Ladies scored six without reply against Rovers Foundation Ladies, Briony Pinchess bagging a hat-trick along with a Bradie Wild brace and Chelsea Kitchen. Ossett Albion are up into mid-table after Claire Popplewell and Nicola Swift gave them a 2-1 victory over Westella & Willerby.
North West League
Crewe Alexandra have doubled their lead at the top of the Premier Division after they defeated Wigan Athletic 3-0. Bolton Wanderers also won 3-0 against Preston North End, a result which takes them level on points with second placed Morecambe. Blackpool continue their charge up the table and are now in fifth after scoring twelve times past Irlam. Northwich Vixens lifted themselves above Burnley Girls & Ladies by beating them 2-1.
Blackburn Community's winning start to the season was halted when they were held to a 1-1 draw by Accrington Girls & Ladies. Their lead therefore has been trimmed to six points by Stockport County Res, 2-1 winners over Carlisle Utd, and Manchester City A who beat Kendal Town 5-0. Leigh RMI moved out of the bottom three as they edged out Padiham by the odd goal in nine.
Birkenhead power on at the top of Division One South and they now head the table by nine points following their 2-1 win at Winsford. Manchester University moved above Ellesmere Port into fourth after beating them 3-1. AFC Liverpool ran out 5-1 winners over AFC Urmston Meadowside and Mossley Hill Res came away from Manchester Stingers with a 3-0 victory under their belts.
South West League
With the top two not playing on Sunday, Cheltenham Town took the opportunity to catch up ground with a 4-0 victory over Weymouth Town. Rhona Donaldson was on target twice in the first half and the result was rounded off by further strikes from Katie Walker and Megan Lloyd. Cheltenham are currently fourth, just behind Downend Flyers who ran out 5-1 winners away to Bridgwater Town. Kate Michael led the scoring with a four-goal haul and Carley Corcoran added the other. Toni Blenkinsopp bagged a hat-trick and Sarah Gregory also found the net as Bristol Ladies Union won 4-1 at Cleeve West Town and Frome Town defeated Stoke Lane Athletic 3-0 thanks to Naomi Nash, Steph Isaacson and Lucy Dinham.
In the Eastern Division, Bishop's Lydeard narrowed the gap on leaders Brislington to a single point, ahead of their meeting this coming Sunday, as they defeated Forest Green Rovers Res 6-1. Holly Miller led the scoring with four goals and the other markswomen were Amy Clegg and Abigail Payne. Kylie Allen, Amber Coates and Laura Tugwell netted the goals as third placed Bitton won 3-1 against Forest Green Rovers Res and Poole Town were 5-2 victors at Cirencester Town courtesy of a goal each from Faye Hawkins, Stacey Ayling, Sasha Paynter, Katelyn Wyatt and Abigail Rigler.
The withdrawal of Torpoint Athletic has caused a re-calculation of the Western Division table but it does not affect the leadership, Torquay Utd having a five point advantage over their nearest rivals after Hayley Chamberlain and Laura Gough gave them a 2-0 victory over Charlestown. Marine Academy Plymouth are in second after beating Illogan Ladies 4-1, Eden May scoring twice along with Sam Drewery and Kate Nicholls. Dobwalls were held to a goalless draw by Taunton Town whilst Kat Marment (2) and Jodie Shipton were on target for Callington Town in their 3-0 success at Plymstock Utd. Launceston meanwhile won a high scoring affair 5-3 against Bude Town thanks to a Chloe Williams hat-trick and Amy Hemingway double.
Southern Region League
Woodley Utd further extended their lead to eight points with a 5-1 victory over Oxford City. Laura Woodley hit a hat-trick and she was joined on the scoresheet by Jess Grimmett and Nicole Sandhu. Second placed Aldershot Town went down to a 2-0 defeat at home to Andover New Street, Nikki Barnes scoring both goals. Rachel Mariam and Holly Bridge were on target as Mansfield Road beat Basingstoke Town 2-1 and Bracknell Town came back from Parley Sports with a 6-4 win after having trailed 4-1 at half time. Caroline Bisson and Emma Constable both scored twice along with Caz Gardner and an own goal.
Newbury Ladies have taken over at the top of Division One following their 3-1 victory at Fleetlands. Previous leaders Milton Keynes City were beaten 2-0 by Marlow for whom Abi Canvin bagged a brace. Zoe Boote, Lucy Durnin and Catherine Howse scored the goals as Banbury Utd won 3-2 away to Ascot Utd and Southampton Women were 1-0 winners over Tower Hill, Kirsty Bell grabbing the only goal of the game.
West Midlands League
B & WM Police won 9-0 at Wednesfield Town to open up a lead of two points from Hereford Pegasus, who went second by beating Coventrians 2-0. Leamington Lions moved into the top four after scoring thirteen against Bradwell Belles and Allscott were 3-2 winners away to Walsall.
The top two in Division One North did not play and they are now followed by Lichfield Diamonds who went third by beating Wyrley Ladies 3-2. Lichfield moved above Bilbrook after they were held to a 2-2 draw by Coseley Town. The point was not quite enough to take Coseley out of the bottom two as Cresswell Wanderers finished level at 1-1 with Shrewsbury Ladies.
Marston Green continue to stretch the pace in Division One South and their 4-0 victory over Lye Town has seen them open up a lead of three points. Crusaders were held to a 1-1 draw by Studley but they still hold on to second place on goal difference from Knowle, who were 2-0 victors at Redditch Utd. Coventry Development notched up a 5-1 win away to Worcester Utd to stay just ahead of Kenilworth Town who beat Solihull Ladies Res 2-0. Malvern Town and Wyre Forest Phoenix occupy the mid-table positions after their meeting saw them share four goals.
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