After a difficult time during 2013, this year has been a much better one for Gloucester City.
After having been relegated back into the South West League from Combination level, City were promoted into the Premier Division and currently lead the table by a margin of ten points after beating rivals Torquay Utd 2-0 on Sunday.
We spoke to City defender Emma Hart who admitted to being a little surprised by her team's success so far and her hopes of securing Premier League football by winning the title:
That was a big win against Torquay on Sunday, how tough a game was it against a side that hadn't been beaten?
It was a very important game for us, one we considered to be a six pointer. We were a little tentative going into the game as we hadn't played for a few weeks and we knew Torquay were a good side who hadn't lost a game as yet.
Was that the best result of your season so far?
Although we considered this an important win, the best result of our season so far has to be the Torquay away game, although we did not win the game it was a great point to get against a very difficult team. We only had 11 players on the day and with such hot conditions we consider that one of our best games of the season.
You will take a ten point lead into the holiday break, have you been at all surprised by the way things have gone?
We have been surprised how things have gone as we were only promoted last season, so to come up into a new league and take such a dominant lead is pleasantly surprising. It is something we will certainly appreciate over the Christmas break and into the New Year.
What were your expectations at the start of the season after having won promotion?
We had sets our sights low this season, maybe a mid-table finish as we are still regrouping as a team from a couple of years ago when we lost some players. We knew we had a strong team and just wanted to take each game as it came.
After a couple of weeks break, you return with an away match at Bridgwater Town, how important a game do you see that being?
After the Christmas break we return with a game against Bridgwater, we are yet to play them so we don't know what their strengths are. We see each game as a 'must win' and we want this league to be won by us and not have to rely on anyone else to get us to the title.
What do you think has been the most important factor in your success so far this season?
The most important factor in our success this season has to be the ability to rotate players when needed. We have a squad of around 20 players, so we have been fortunate to call on many different players throughout the season. We have a great bunch of girls at Gloucester City, the majority of whom have bonded together when growing up through the youth teams.
Who do you see ending up being your main rivals in the title race?
At the moment our closest rivals are Torquay and Truro so we are aware of how important their fixtures and results can be, however anything can happen throughout the remainder of the season.
After losing your status a couple of years ago, you have a chance to go up to the Premier League. What would that mean to yourself and to the club, if you can achieve it?
We chose to drop down a couple of leagues a few years ago as we had lost some players and as a club we weren't ready to play at that level of football. It's a great achievement to play in the Premier League and it's something we are striving for as a club. We are hopeful it can happen this season and look forward to returning to football after the Christmas break.
Glasgow City are excited to announce the signing of goalkeeper Megan Cunningham.
The 19-year-old stopper joins from Hamilton Accies and comes with an impressive resume having represented Scotland at all youth levels, most recently as the Scotland Under 19 keeper, where she made a total of 15 international appearances including keeping goal at the Under 19 European Championship Finals earlier this year.
Commenting on joining City, Megan said: "I'm really excited to be joining Glasgow City for season 2015, it brings new challenges and the opportunity to develop and train with new players and under new management.
"I have loved the past three years at Hamilton Accies and can't thank the coaches and the players I have played alongside with enough. They have played a huge part in my development as a player and as person and I wish them all the best of luck for the future. I'm ready for the competitive and challenging environment that's lies ahead and can't wait to learn and be challenged by the players around me."
City Head Goalkeeping Coach Willie Spence added: "I am excited by the signing of Megan and I very much look forward to working with her. It is a fantastic prospect to have two of the country's top keepers at the same club competing against each other. Not only is it good for the club and the players themselves, but I also think the national squad will benefit from it."
Glasgow City Head Coach, Eddie Wolecki Black was also delighted to welcome Megan to the first team. He said: "I believe the influence of goalkeepers are vastly under rated and the work of goalkeeping coaches is vital. As a club we are well aware of how players are doing at their respective clubs.
"Throughout the season our goalkeeping coach Willie Spence has analysed every keeper in the League and we believe that Megan has the potential to play at the highest level. We have had great reports of her attitude towards training and playing and she comes with glowing praise from anyone who has worked with her. We hope this move will help her develop further in her career. Having two quality goalkeepers at the club will ensure the competition for places is fierce as it should be at any ambitious club. I would like to welcome Megan to the club and along with Hayley (Lauder) I am sure she will fit in well with her new team mates."
Photo - Graeme Berry
East Midlands League
Eastwood Community are continuing to set a hot pace at the top of the Premier Division and they now head the way by ten points after winning 2-0 at Rise Park, thanks to second half goals from Katie Prendergast and Monica Bowley. Jessica Parker bagged a hat-trick with Anna Horton (2), Holly Steeples and Courtney Evans joining her on the scoresheet as Notts County Development defeated Arnold Town 7-2 to stay just ahead of Long Eaton Utd, 4-0 winners at Gedling Town. Joanne Campbell hit a hat-trick for Long Eaton with Laura Sears adding the other.
In Division One North, Sleaford Town cemented themselves in second place by beating Teversal 6-2. Amy Kilgannon led the scoring with a hat-trick, Laura Jones added a brace and Kimberly Scurr completed a result which sees them trim Winterton Rangers' lead to eight points. A 3-2 victory over West Bridgford has taken Ruddington Village up to third, Faye Brown, Abbey Gimson and Holly Brindley were their markswomen. Underwood Villa crashed 4-0 at home to Lincoln Moorlands Railway who put a run of defeats behind them to record a shock result, courtesy of a Naomi Johnson treble and Lauren Churcher.
Oadby & Wigston Dynamo remain at the top of Division One South despite suffering a 7-1 defeat to Bedworth Utd. Kirsty Farnsworth was on target four times for Bedworth along with Jodi Hunter, Mairead O'Hara and Sophie Wilson. Second placed Burton Park Wanderers drew 1-1 with Kettering Town, Hollie Coulson scoring their goal with Nicola Hardwick replying. Raunds Town came away from Rothwell Corinthians with a 5-3 victory under their belts, Hayleigh King (2), Karen Britchford, Abigail Lawman and Samantha-Jo Pebody netting their goals. Holly Gibson and Rachel Lutman were on target for Loughborough Students (2006) as they shared a 2-2 draw with Corby S & L, who replied through Rebecca Boath and Leanne Lowden.
Eastern Region League
The top of the table clash in the Premier Division went the way of Colchester Town, who extended their lead to four points with a 5-1 victory over Billericay Town. Great Shelford are two points further adrift in third after Becky Taylor gave them a 1-0 success at Brentwood Town. Lowestoft Town remain placed just behind the leading sides, with several games in hand, following their 4-0 win against Barking in which Zoe Cossey, Jodie Drake, Chloe Hoffman and Hannah Waters all scored.
One match was played in Division One North, Bury Town beating Bar Hill 2-1 to go nine points clear at the top. Helen Cryer and Jessica Morgan netted Bury's goals, with Natalie Shenton replying.
Division One South also saw the top two meet and once again the table toppers triumphed, Southendian Ladies winning 5-1 away to Hoddesdon Owls. Georgia Holdaway hit a hat-trick with Laura Stone and Nikhol Chapman adding the others to give Southendian a lead of four points over Hoddesdon and Stevenage Ladies Res, who defeated Little Thurrock Dynamos 2-1 with goals from Jade Eaton and Tayla Huckle.
London & South East League
Fulham FC Foundation preserved their three point lead at the top with a 4-1 victory away to Hassocks. Emma Lawrence, Megan Lovelock, Helen Ogle and Verity Snow accounted for the goals which kept their side ahead of AFC Wimbledon, who defeated Aylesford 3-0 thanks to Jess Trimnell, Caroline Bisson and Kelly-Jade Whelan. Natasha Cree scored a hat-trick and Sharon Odofin the other as Old Actonians kept up their challenge by winning 4-1 at London Corinthians. Carshalton Athletic also remain in touch with the leaders after Laura Curtis and Alison Hall gave them a 2-0 victory over Maidstone Utd. Bexhill Utd leapt out of the bottom two with a 4-1 success against Eastbourne Town, who were brought back down to earth following the previous week's FA Women's Cup win. Laura Bolton scored twice for Bexhill along with Caroline Burke and Anne-Marie Pier.
In Division One (London), Colne Valley beat Watford Development to close the gap on leaders Camden Town to three points. Francesca Beeks, Donna Janssen, Francesca Prangley, Natalie Spencer and Debbie Watson all netted a goal apiece for Colne. Brentford won an entertaining affair 6-4 against Queen's Park Rangers Development courtesy of hat-tricks from Dana Johnson and Gemma Lucero. Crystal Palace Development meanwhile defeated Regents Park Rangers 5-0 to move themselves off the bottom of the table.
North East League
One match managed to survive the weather in the Premier Division, with Barnsley having an opportunity to return to the top of the table. It was not to be though as visitors Hull City ended their ten match unbeaten run with a 2-1 victory which takes them above Barnsley and into second place, one point behind leaders York City. Katie Thompson and Ellice Jackman netted for Hull, with Rebecca Hale replying for the home side.
Boldon have gone five points clear in the Northern Division after scoring eight without reply away to Birtley Town. Allison Leach and Elizabeth Thompson-Clarke each netted twice along with Jocelyn Raine, Alex Ross, Jade Murray and an own goal. Blyth Town Lions were beaten for the first time, 3-1 by fellow challengers Lowick Utd for whom Jenny Patterson, Michelle Stewart and Georgia Thompson were on target. Birtley St Josephs edged out Middlesbrough Lionesses 4-3 thanks to Becki Miller (2), Megan Clark and Elisha Jones. Sophie Cox bagged a brace along with Rebecca Degnen and Ashleigh Suggitt as Kader FC won 4-0 at Easingwold Town whilst Prudhoe Town defeated Redcar Town 3-0 with strikes from Natasha Johnstone, Catherine Johnston and Samantha Garcia.
Westella & Willerby continue to blaze a trail in the Southern Division, beating Farsley AFC 7-2 to extend their lead to eleven points. Natasha Linford scored a hat-trick along with Amy Ward, Lauren Holmes, Amy Thompson and Charmaine Pinder. Wetherby Athletic are now in second after a solitary strike from Rebecca Davies gave them victory at Courts City. An own goal ensured that Doncaster Belles (Women's) won 1-0 away to Sheffield Wednesday whilst Rovers Foundation Ladies and Malet Lambert YC finished level at 1-1, Jenna McGee netting for Rovers with Natalie Gray replying.
North West League
The top two did not play on Sunday and this enabled Blackpool to catch up ground in third place by running out 6-0 winners over Birkenhead. Bolton Wanderers meanwhile moved back into mid-table via a narrow 4-3 victory against Northwich Vixens.
One match went ahead in Division One North, the North West derby game between Carlisle Utd and Workington Reds which finished in a 2-2 draw.
South West League
League leaders Gloucester City boosted their challenge with a 2-0 victory over previously unbeaten Torquay Utd, Jodie Hennessey and Helen Wood scoring the goals which take them ten points clear at the top of the table. Downend Flyers meanwhile notched up their second win in successive weeks, 4-2 against Swindon Spitfires.
In the Western Division, AFC Plympton kept themselves on the fringes of the promotion race by winning 5-2 away to Illogan Ladies. Stacey Gill and Sam Metters each netted twice, with Charlotte Jeffery adding the other goal.
The Bristol Soccerworld Cup made a welcome return on Sunday with the two Preliminary Round ties taking place. Forest Green Rovers Res won 2-0 against Bude Town to set themselves up with a home tie against Keynsham Town Res. Jodie Millett meanwhile netted both goals as Alphington advanced with a 2-1 victory over Newquay Celtic, who replied through Leanne Manley. Alphington will now host Cleeve West Town in the next round.
Southern Region League
Mansfield Road are up to third, their highest position of the season so far, after they scored nine times without reply against University of Portsmouth. Oxford City also leapt up the table with a 2-1 win away to Parley Sports.
In Division One, Marlow denied Chesham Utd an opportunity to return to the top of the table when they defeated them 1-0, Amy Pollard scoring the only goal of the game. Samantha Bevan-Talbot and Carly Thomas were on the scoresheet as Tower Hill won 2-0 away to Banbury Utd and Stony Stratford Town were 6-3 victors over Milton Keynes City, Kerry Stapleton and Tamsin Graveson each netting twice along with Siobhaun Layne and Leanne Burns.
Fleet Town caused a surprise in the Chairman's Cup when they won 4-1 against Newbury Ladies from the division above. Newbury did take an early lead through Leanne Creese but Fleet hit back strongly with strikes from Joanne Harfield (2), Katie Jones and Charlene Rooney.
West Midlands League
B & WM Police went further ahead at the top of the Premier Division, going sixteen points clear with a 5-2 victory away to third placed Kingshurst Sporting Club. Knowle meanwhile are in fourth after pipping Allscott by the odd goal in seven. Wrockwardine Wood also won 4-3 against Leamington Lions to move to within a single point of their mid-table opponents.
Burton Albion bounced back from their defeat seven days previously to run out 6-0 winners over Kingshurst Sporting Res and narrow the gap on leaders Walsall to six points. Lichfield Diamonds are starting to regain form as they won for the second week in succession, 5-1 against Coseley Town.
Rubery Ladies got back to winning ways in Division One South following a couple of days, beating Redditch Utd 3-1 to move to within two points of the leadership. Lye Town remain handily placed in third after winning 5-1 away to Worcester Utd. Solihull Ladies Res and Marston Green are in the next two positions after their meeting culminated in a 1-1 draw.
Newcastle Utd inflicted a second defeat of the season on Northern Division leaders Bradford City. Beth Diamond, Lauren Driver and Myriam Neaimeh scored their goals with Abigail Lee replying for Bradford whose lead has been trimmed to a single point. Sheffield FC are a further four points in adrift in third after scoring nine without reply past Leeds Ladies. Jess Heald was on target four times and Sydney Shugafi weighed in with a hat-trick, with one apiece from Brooke Chappell and Nikki Hogg.
Cardiff City Ladies moved into second place in the Midland Division following a 5-1 success away to Coventry City. Sophie Gidley netted twice for Cardiff, who now trail leaders Nottingham Forest by four points, with Zoe Atkins, Hannah Mills and Heather Strating adding the others. Dayna Randall and Emily Gillott scored the goals as Derby County defeated Leicester City Women 2-1.
Southern Division leaders West Ham Utd crashed to a 3-0 defeat at the hands of Charlton Athletic for whom Francesca Tye (2) and Olivia Cole. The Hammers still have a four-point advantage over the Addicks and Brighton & Hove Albion who stay second after beating Crystal Palace 2-1, thanks to a Paige Baker double. A Charmaine Benham brace and an own goal saw Queen's Park Rangers to a 3-2 victory over Gillingham whilst C & K Basildon defeated Lewes by the same scoreline with a goal apiece from Paidamoyo Debza, Lauren Knight and Nicola Carty. Chichester City made it two wins on the trot when scoring six without reply against Bedford Ladies. Lauren Ellis bagged a brace and there was one each from Levi Thorpe, Juliette Teague, Gemma Halford and Skye Gould.
One match was played in the FA WSL Development League, two strikes from Latoya Bailey giving Millwall Lionesses a 2-0 win at London Bees which lifts them into fourth place in the Southern Division.
Natalia Pablos Sanchon has signed for Arsenal from Bristol Academy.
The 29-year-old Spain international scored nine goals in 19 appearances for the Vixens last season and was also leading scored the year before when they finished as runners-up in both the FA WSL and FA Women's Cup. .
The forward previously played for Rayo Vallecano Femenino in Spain under the Gunners' manager Pedro Martinez Losa. The pair won the Spanish Cup together in 2008 - the first major trophy in the club's history - and league titles in 2009 and 2010.
Losa is delighted to be reunited with Pablos Sanchon at Arsenal and told www.arsenal.co.uk: "Natalia is a player I know very well from our time together at Rayo Vallecano.
"She was a natural goalscorer in Spain and she has proven she can score goals in England too with Bristol. She has a great character and will add a lot to our team. I am very pleased she has decided to join us."
Natalia is the second Bristol Academy player to move across to Arsenal in less than a week, with Vixens captain Jemma Rose having also joined the Gunners. She is the third new signing confirmed by the club since the end of last season after Lianne Sanderson returned following a spell in the United States.
Nottingham Forest LFC helped to raise awareness of homophobia in football in partnership with the University of Nottingham and Stonewall last Sunday.
Claire Henson, a good friend of Forest Ladies, and Equality and Diversity Events Co-Ordinator at the University of Nottingham, has organised events that will run next year focusing on sexuality, gender, race and disability in sport. To launch the event series, The University of Nottingham presented fifty pairs of Rainbow Laces to Nottingham Forest Ladies Football Club at Sunday's game. The initiative is backed by Stonewall, the biggest charity in Europe campaigning for lesbian, gay and bisexual equality, and the Gay Football Supporters' Network, the national membership organisation of LGBT football fans, teams and supporters' groups.
Claire Henson adds: "NFLFC were a huge support to The University of Nottingham 2014 Diversity in Sport events, so I was delighted to be able to present them with the laces as part of the 2015 event series. The University of Nottingham values inclusivity for all and we are happy to support the Stonewall Rainbow Laces Campaign. "
Club Chairperson, PJ Andrews endorsed the initiative with NFLFC and said: "It can take time to change people's mind-set on many things and for different reasons for what you hope is for the better and greater good. Nottingham Forest Ladies gifts football to so many and has done over many, many years. Team Sport brings about its own diversities and understandings and if we can continue to promote an equal and welcome environment in Nottingham Forest Ladies football club, and on a wider scale, then we will do whatever we can to support that initiative."
Photograph courtesy of Alexandra Johnson Photography
Glasgow City are thrilled to announce that midfielder Denise O'Sullivan has signed up to extend her stay at the club for another two years.
The 20-year-old Republic of Ireland international first joined City in the summer of 2013 and has simply got better and better becoming a pivotal part in the club's success this season, which saw Glasgow City lift the domestic treble and reach the quarter finals of the UEFA Women's Champions League.
In addition to winning the Glasgow City Club Awards of Players' Player of the Year, Coaches' Player of the Year and Fans Player of the Year, the Cork native also picked up the SWPL Players' Player of the Year to round off a fantastic season for City's number 7.
Commenting on securing Denise at the club, Head Coach Eddie Wolecki Black said: "There is no doubt that 2014 was personally a superb campaign for Denise. The true reflection upon any season is how your fellow team mates view your performances.
"The fact that Denise cleaned up the club's three senior awards speaks volumes. However whilst it is a great accolade I am sure Denise would be the first to acknowledge the part her team mates played in her success. Therefore it does not surprise me that she has turned down lucrative offers elsewhere to remain at this club. The old saying of the grass ain't always greener seems quite appropriate at the moment.
"We are well aware of what this coming season means to us in terms of the League and also the European challenge. I am sure everyone associated with the club will be delighted to see Denise wearing the tangerine jersey again next season and I hope it proves to be another successful season for all."
Denise said: "I am delighted to sign back with Glasgow City. I have really enjoyed my time at the club so far. I definitely think I'm improving as a player from being at this club and I look forward to the Champions League and the new season with City."
Yeovil Town manager Jamie Sherwood has already boosted to his squad ahead of the new 2015 WSL season, with the confirmed arrival of Ann Marie Heatherson.
Annie, a former Bristol Academy player, has committed to the Lady Glovers for the 2015 campaign, in a new season which will see the top two teams in WSL2 in with the opportunity of gaining promotion to WSL1.
The Hackney-born 30-year-old striker has already had a successful career so far, playing at Charlton Athletic and being named FA Young Player of the Year whilst also winning the League Cup. She was an FA Women's Cup winner after back to back appearances in the final and Heatherson has also experienced football in Iceland for Stjarnan along with American W League club Buffalo Flash. In October 2010, Heatherson signed for Bristol Academy, after a spell at both Millwall and Chelsea with her 20 goals in 20 games helping the Lionesses to promotion.
Heatherson has also been involved in the international England Under-21 squad and Sherwood is certain she will bring a wealth of experience to Yeovil, ahead of a season where the club are looking to continue with its progression, after being named as WSL2 Club of the Year.
Sherwood was delighted with the news of Heatherson committing to the club and said: "Annie embodies everything that I want to see in my players. She always plays with her heart on her sleeve and she demonstrates a willingness to work hard and sacrifice herself for the team. In addition to this she brings the experience that has been lost in the retirements of both Rachael Edwards and Katie Sherwood which is crucial in the WSL.
"This signing more importantly brings that potential for goals and again after last season this is an area we wanted to improve on. Annie has a hunger and desire to remind people of the qualities that she can bring to a team and I am extremely pleased that Annie sees the potential of the club and has chosen to play as a Lady Glover for 2015."
Heatherson was also delighted to be joining the club and said: "It has been a tough year retiring from football after leaving Bristol Academy WFC and the last few months I've missed the beautiful game a lot and I have to thank a lot of clubs that have shown an interest in me but having Jamie and Yeovil contact me and having a lot of conversations about mine and the clubs future in the WSL I'm excited to be joining. I've known Jamie for a while and knowing and understanding his passion to want to achieve the best and play at the highest level of WSL is something we have in common.
"It's an absolute pleasure to be a part of a club that has a family atmosphere and takes care of their fans and players but the most important thing is understanding me as a player and what I can bring to the team. I'm excited and raring to start the 2015 campaign!"
The Women's Super League begins in March, but before the league campaign kicks off, the Lady Glovers are involved in the Third Round of the FA Women's Cup with a tie to be played on Sunday 1st February.
Middlesbrough manager Lindsey Stephenson has strengthened her side by adding Bianca Owens from neighbours Norton & Stockton Ancients.
Bianca made her debut for 'Boro on Sunday afternoon against Morecambe in the league and instantly opened up her goal count, scoring twice in the game
Bianca spoke to Andy Lamb about her move and her debut joy:
Welcome to 'Boro and we suppose the first question is how difficult was the decision to move?
Yeah it was hard! I really enjoyed it at Norton - however I knew it was time for a change and Middlesbrough seemed to be going in the right direction for me!
How did you feel when you were asked to sign for Middlesbrough Ladies?
I was really happy.
How did you first start playing football, was it at Norton?
Yes! I knew some of the girls that played there and they managed to get me to play! I've played at Norton for years, I left last season to join Sunderland but then re-joined them at the end of the season. The last few seasons have been really good for me. Obviously last year I was playing for Sunderland so I got chance to play with some unreal players!
There was the success in Futsal playing at the Copperbox too....
It was an amazing achievement and great experience, I even managed to get myself a scholarship with Gloucestershire University playing futsal with them too!
How good is the college team at the min, Becks, Fran, Anna are just a few of the current MFC Ladies team - are you still easily winning 10-0 week after week?
Yeah it's a really good team, unbelievable players!
The fact you play with them during the week will benefit the team loads - what about the rest of the squad?
I've played with [Jenni] Duffy a few times too! She used to play 5aside with me! I've seen the others play and I'm looking forward to playing with them!
The move might seem surprising to some because as we write, Norton are higher in the league - what would you say to that?
I think both teams will be safe comfortably! My dad is a massive 'Boro fan as well so it will make him proud seeing me play! I am looking really looking forward to the opportunities ahead and getting some more goals, I was really pleased to be able to score two goals on my debut and can't wait to score in front of the MFC Ladies home crowd.
Brighton & Hove Albion regained the leadership of the Southern Division by winning 3-0 at Copsewood (Coventry).
Fliss Gibbons opened the scoring for the Seagulls in the second minute and after the break, Danielle Carlton netted from a free kick and Amy Green added the third to give Brighton their seventh straight victory in all competitions.
Cardiff City Ladies are in second place after running out 7-1 winners away to Gillingham. Kelly Aldridge and Naomi Clipston each netted twice for the South Wales side and there was one apiece from Michelle Green, Kelly Isaac and Cori Williams with Natalie Crinean grabbing a consolation for the Gills.
Charlton Athletic had started the day on top of the table but are back in third after their local derby with West Ham Utd culminated in a thrilling 3-3 draw. The Hammers led at half time through a goal from Sarah McCrea and they doubled their advantage early in the second half when Kelley Blanchflower scored. Charlton then staged a fine comeback with the prolific Kit Graham netting twice and Charley Clifford then putting them in front, before Vicky Kinsman hit back to earn West Ham a share of the spoils.
Portsmouth remain well in contention after they defeated Tottenham Hotspur 4-1. Molly Clark and Ini Umotong gave Pompey a two-goal lead inside the opening quarter of the game, before Bianca Baptiste reduced the arrears for Spurs. Charley Wilson headed in the third early in the second half and Umotong wrapped up the win with her second goal just after the hour mark. Portsmouth remain three points off the pace, with two games in hand.
The happiest team in the division though were Keynsham Town as they broke their duck with a 3-3 draw against Plymouth Argyle. They needed to withstand a disastrous start though as Emily Mousley and Ellana Moseley put Argyle two ahead inside the opening five minutes, but Pilar Garcia struck twice to bring Keynsham back on level terms and Leanne Lapham gave them a half time lead. Plymouth levelled matters early in the second half through Rebekah Rose and neither team could force a winning goal from there in an entertaining clash.
Queen's Park Rangers made sure their week ended on a high note as they beat Lewes 2-1. The Rookettes had taken a first half lead through Catherine O'Hagan but after the break, Natalie Adams equalised for Rangers and Kasha Petit went on to give her side three valuable points with the winning goal.
Photo - Plymouth Argyle striker Emily Mousley takes on Jade Radburn-Lorton of Keynsham Town.
Newcastle Utd lifted themselves away from the bottom two in the Northern Division with a 3-0 victory away to Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Leading scorer Stacy Crooks fired Newcastle in front on seventeen minutes and the Magpies sealed the points when Dannika Purdham added two further goals in the final quarter of an hour.
Newcastle are now four points ahead of the relegation positions, still currenly occupied by Nottingham Forest after their clash with Derby County finished level at 2-2. Derby, playing under the interim management of Ash Abbey and Jack White following the departure of Jenny Sugarman last week, took a first half lead through Louisa Abbey with Forest hitting back to equalise after the break, Isabel Sullivan scoring. Forest looked to have taken the points late on when Audrey Moore put them in front but Derby rallied to earn themselves a crucial points, thanks to an injury time leveller from Sam Griffiths.
Preston North End meanwhile stormed to a 6-2 success at Huddersfield Town. Sarah Cadwick netted twice to put Preston ahead but Town recovered and were back on level terms by half time with strikes from Katie Lockwood and Emily Heckler. Within a minute of the restart, Cadwick had completed her hat-trick and Preston went on to take the points with additional second half strikes from Chelsea Flanagan, Emily Hutton and Holly Rawcliffe.
Northern Division One
With leaders Liverpool Marshalls Feds not in action, Guiseley AFC Vixens took the opportunity to narrow the gap on them to four points by beating Tranmere Rovers 5-0. Tanya Rich, Aimi Beresford, Rebecca Kendell, Emily Maguire and Caroline Hulme all scored to give Guiseley their fourth straight league win.
Leeds Ladies are also in good form recently and they made it seven wins on the trot in all competitions with a 5-2 victory over Mossley Hill. Carla Lee did give Mossley a first half lead which was cancelled out by Shelby Morris but after the interval, Emma Bentley and Carey Huegett earned Leeds a two-goal advantage. Paige Whitehead pulled one back for the visitors but Huegett then scored her second and Emily Starkie sealed the points with the fifth goal.
Middlesbrough are out of the bottom two after winning 3-0 away to Morecambe. All of the goals came in the second half, new signing Bianca Owens netting twice with Jenni Duffy joining her on the scoresheet to give 'Boro a welcome result.
Midlands Division One
Loughborough Foxes put their disappointment in the F.A.Women's Cup last week behind them to beat Leafield Athletic 5-3 and open up a lead of three points at the top of the table. Jodie White scored two first half goals for the leaders along with second half strikes from Emma Pilling, Lindsey Tugby and Shauna Chambers while Jade Hewitt, Charlotte Hughes and Jess Lippiatt replying for Leafield.
Meanwhile the Leicester derby ended in a goalless draw, a result which keeps Leicester City Women in second place with Leicester City Ladies remaining in mid-table.
South East Division One
One match managed to beat the weather in the division on Sunday, at Bedford Ladies where visitors Cambridge Women returned home with the points and a 1-0 victory under their belts. Laura Baker scored the only goal of the game to lift Cambridge up into fourth place (see match report).
South West Division One
Swindon Town continue to set the pace and preserved their lead of three points by running out 5-0 winners over Shanklin. Ellie Maynard, Chyna Collings, Meg Vella, Sarah Uzzell and an own goal ensured that made it four wins in a row in the league.
Forest Green Rovers kept up the chase in second place with a 4-0 victory over Southampton Saints. Forest Green recorded their second win of the Saints in as many weeks, following on from their F.A.Women's Cup success seven days earlier, Ellie Olds giving them an early lead before Naomi Marshall added a second after the break, substitute Sarah Stacey then rounding off the win with a brace.
Exeter City moved up into third place on the back of a 4-0 win away to Cheltenham Town. Tash Knapman netted a goal in each half and she was joined on the scoresheet by Lola Sanchez and Vicky Barter.
Larkhall Athletic occupy the mid-table position following their 3-0 success against Chichester City. All of the Larks' goals came in the first half, Michelle Munro putting them in front before adding further goals from Adele Hooper and Kate German.
Chorley booked their place in the Second Round of the F.A.Women's Cup with a 5-2 victory over Rotherham Utd.
In a clash between two teams going well in their respective divisions, Vicky Coope spearheaded the win for the Lancashire side as she hit a hat-trick and their other goals came from Scarlett Smith and Sam Cadwallader. Chorley will now be at home to another Midlands Division One in the shape of FC Reedswood.
C & K Basildon ended the Cup hopes of Southern Region League leaders Maidenhead Utd by beating them 6-2. Sara Sinclair and Zoe Rushen each netted twice, with further strikes from Claire Lacey and Karissa Rodney for C & K who are away to Plymouth Argyle in the next round.
Bedford Ladies 0 Cambridge Women 1
Cambridge Women battled their way to a hard earned single goal away win at Bedford Ladies & Girls' Wootton Blue Cross FC home in the FAWPL South East Division One, a result which lifted them to fourth in the table.
A Laura Baker free kick just before the break proved decisive in this encounter where both goalkeepers distinguished themselves with crucial saves in a highly committed and even contest. Bedford, in their first season at this level, gave their all to try and get through a strong defence but could not find the key to an equaliser.
Cambridge started with confidence and an attacking threat. Home keeper Lauren Webb saved well from an early Dawn Mallett shot and then turned away a fierce near post effort from Emma Jenkins. The home team grew into the match and started to move the ball with greater fluency and chances started to come. Eden Washington had an effort on goal well held by Verity Crook, then Tasha Fensome put over a good cross from the left which led to a shot just over by Cyeanne Eaton from the edge of the area on the half hour.
Cambridge's Sophie Thompson was denied by Webb moving quickly off her line to clear but the clearest chance so far came on 40 minutes. A perfect through ball by Bedford's Chloe Scott sent Fensome clear in front of goal but Crook somehow managed to divert her finish just wide of the post.
The value of Crook's save was doubled when the visitors won a free kick on the edge of the Bedford area two minutes later. Baker sent a low shot beyond Webb into the bottom left corner to give Cambridge an interval lead.
Crook kept Cambridge ahead on 48 minutes when Scott lofted a 25-yard effort which the keeper rose to tip onto the bar and to safety at full stretch. The corner was cleared from under the bar and Cambridge looked to push on and extend their advantage. In fact both defensive units were very alert and the game became deadlocked with chances hard to find until the last few minutes.
Fensome was the main threat for the hosts, her pace twice taking her clear of the Cambridge defence. On the first occasion, Crook was quickly out to gather the ball, then the striker was adjudged offside as her stinging effort was tipped over by the Cambridge keeper. At the other end, a great run and cross by sub Becky Russell was met at the far post by Baker, who was unable to finish on the volley from a tight angle.
A final corner for Bedford came to nothing and Cambridge nearly doubled their lead deep into added time when Mallett was denied by an excellent Webb save at point blank range. Cambridge had defended very well and both teams had worked very hard throughout but the visitors had taken the honours to overtake Luton Town and Enfield Town and move into fourth place.
Bedford Ladies and Girls is an all-female club established in 1998 and the adult team has progressed to their highest ever level this season after a good FA Women's Cup run and taking the Eastern Region League title last season. Cambridge Women have been playing at Combination and FAWPL Division One level for a number of seasons and are competing well this time around under manager Steve Edwards.
Bedford Ladies & Girls: Lauren Webb, Chloe Scott, Sophie Britton, Suzie Darby, Lottie Burton, Nicky English, Becca Vass, Tasha Fensome, Cyeanne Eaton, Eden Washington, Maisie Wyatt. Subs: Charlie King, Shannon Carroll, Hannah Stoodley.
Cambridge Women: Verity Crook, Emma Jenkins, Liv Abbott, Kayleigh-Anne Burt, Becca Fay, Faith Hewitt, Laura Bright, Laura Mills, Dawn Mallett, Laura Baker, Sophie Thompson. Subs: Becky Russell, Hannah Bodily, Carrie Bennett.
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
Photos by www.jamesprickett.co.uk:
(top) Becca Vass closed down by Laura Bright
(middle) Becca Fay slides in on Cyeanne Eaton
(bottom) Emma Jenkins and Maisie Wyatt in a chase for the ball
Cardiff Met Ladies' nine-match winning start to the season was brought to a halt as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Swansea City.
The Swans actually drop a place in the table to fourth but went very close to inflicting a first defeat of the season as they led for much of the game through a 35th minute strike from Chloe Lloyd. With twelve minutes remaining, Sophie Scherschel grabbed an equaliser for Met which preserved their unbeaten record.
Second placed PILCS narrowed the gap on Cardiff Met to seven points as they defeated Port Talbot Town 3-0. All of the goals came in the first half, Lyndsey Davies giving her side the lead with twenty minutes on the clock, before Katrina French netted a brace ahead of half time to seal a seventh win in eight games for PILCS.
Cardiff City FC's climb up the table has taken them into third place, their highest position of the season so far, as they scored six times without reply against Wrexham. Shannon Evans put City in front midway through the first half with Danielle Broadhurst adding a further two before the break. Broadhurst completed her hat-trick early in the second half, with Hattie Flawn-Powell and Siobhan Walsh also getting on the scoresheet to round off an impressive win.
Cwmbran Celtic picked up another good result to cement themselves in the top half of the table, a 4-2 victory away to Rhyl & Prestatyn. Lauren Boyd and Alana Murphy gave Cwmbran a two-goal lead during the first half, a scoreline which remained until twenty minutes from time when Lauren Smith netted a third. Laura Williams pulled one back for Rhyl & Prestatyn but Murphy quickly restored the three-goal advantage with her second, before Zoe Stopford grabbed a late consolation for the home side.
Llandudno WFC are out of the bottom three following a 2-0 win against Aberystwyth Town. Both of the goals came during a five-minute spell leading up to half time, an own goal putting Llandudno ahead with Rosie Hughes adding the second shortly afterwards.
Arsenal have completed the signing of Jemma Rose from Bristol Academy.
The 23-year-old defender spent the past four seasons with the Vixens in her second spell with the club, captaining them from summer 2014 and leading them into the UEFA Women's Champions League quarter finals.
An England youth international, Rose was named the FA WSL Young Player of the Year at the 2011 FA Women's Awards. She also collected the Goal of the Season award for her long range free kick against Doncaster Rovers Belles. Plymouth-born Jemma received a call up to the senior England squad earlier this year but is yet to win her first full cap.
Gunners manager Pedro Martinez Losa told www.arsenal.com: "Jemma is a player who will fit in very well at Arsenal. She is a good technical player, able to play out from the back. She is good in the air and athletic too. She is a young player with lots of potential and I look forward to working with her."
Manager Dave Edmondson said: "We're disappointed to lose Jemma after the contribution she has made, both as a player and as a team captain this year. We wish her well in her move to Arsenal.
"As a club we will move on and plans are in place to not only replace players leaving but to strengthen the playing squad for the coming season."
There was better news for Academy in that Welsh international midfielder Sophie Ingle has renewed her contract for next season.
The New Saints took the headlines on Sunday with a 5-2 victory over Midlands Division One leaders Loughborough Foxes in the F.A.Women's Cup, taking the West Midlands League side through to the Second Round where they will face Derby County.
We talked to TNS defender Nicola Walford, who has been a part of the team's fantastic defensive record so far this season, and she told us that they will be full of confidence going into the next round as well as concentrating on their league title challenge:
Many congratulations on a great win, do you feel it was a result you merited?
Thank you! Yes I think we fully deserved the win as we were creating more chances and had most of the possession throughout the game. We were passing the ball around well and we were all comfortable on the ball which helped.
Loughborough Foxes are having a good season in the Premier League but were you confident of causing an upset ahead of the game?
Yes we were all confident as we are playing well as a team in the league, winning all seven games as well as getting to this stage of the FA Cup, beating Leafield 2-0 in the round before who are also in the same league as Loughborough, so as a team we were all confident of getting the win.
What do you think was the key to your victory, did anyone play well or was it a good all round team effort?
The key to our victory was because we all played well as a team. We all help each other on and off the ball. The team played well as a team from the goalkeeper right through to the strikers and the subs who came on showed the talent we have as a whole squad.
Now you have the chance to take on Derby County in the next round. Can you create another upset there?
Of course we can!! We beat Stoke City in a pre-season friendly and they are in Derby's league, Loughborough Foxes were on top of their league and this season we are confident of beating anyone. We will go into the game as underdogs but that will suit us as we will go out play our usual game and enjoy the occasion. As long as we play like we have been all season, we will be looking to cause another major upset in this season's FA Cup.
You have a fantastic defensive record this season in both league and cup, is it something that you have worked on?
We have been working on set pieces in our defence and it has certainly paid off. Our defence of Hannah, Kate and myself have been playing together for a number of seasons and all our hard work is showing on the field this season. It also helps having a goalkeeper behind you who we are all very confident with. We have only conceded three goals from open play this season, having played 13 matches including cup games so far.
This week you don't have a league game but play Wednesfield Town next week, presumably the league is the main priority for you?
The league is our priority but it is also a good experience for us all to be playing at this stage in the FA Cup. Our cup run has also generated a lot of local interest and we are expecting a larger than usual crowd for our home game against Derby County but promotion is our main aim and we would prefer to be playing every week rather than having free weeks to keep our momentum going.
Can you see your division staying as a two horse race between yourselves and B & WM Police for the rest of the season?
I think in all honesty it is looking like a two horse race between ourselves and B & WM Police. We have games in hand on them and we have yet to play them home and away. If we can be successful against B & WM Police and win our games in hand then promotion will be within our grasp.
What would Premier League football mean to your club if you are able to get there?
Premier League football would be a great challenge for our club and put us up there with the standard we believe we are capable of matching. This season we have a new management team of Joe and Wil and they have installed in us a belief and to have confidence in our ability which I think we have lacked in previous seasons. It would be a great test of our ability and strength to be playing Premier League clubs every week and to see what standard of football we can achieve.
Hibernian have boosted their squad for next season with the signings of Chloe Arthur and Heather Richards from Celtic.
20-year-old Heather made her Scotland debut last year against South Korea in the Cyprus Cup and has won a further cap for the senior side since then. She has also played for the Under-19 on 20 occasions, scoring eight times.
Chloe Arthur, 19, has made 22 appearances for Scotland Under-19s and is rated as one of the country's brightest prospects.
Millwall are delighted to confirm that Millwall Lionesses will host the majority of their FA Women's Super League and Cup fixtures at The Den in the 2015 season.
The Lionesses enjoyed great success at The Den in 2014 and also provided the backdrop for the Super League 2 title-deciding fixture with Sunderland Ladies in October.
"We are delighted to offer Millwall Lionesses the opportunity to play at The Den for a second successive season," said Millwall CEO Andy Ambler. "We hope that the use of our stadium and its facilities, along with our ongoing support, helps them have a really successful season and hopefully claim one of the two promotion spots."
harley Mitten, General Manager of Millwall Lionesses, added: "We are thrilled that Millwall have continued to be so supportive of the Lionesses.
"There aren't many Football League clubs that would show such a level of commitment and we are looking forward to playing at The Den again in what promises to be a really exciting season ahead."
You can guarantee your seat for every home game in 2015 for the bargain price of just £24 - just £2 per match. If you are Over 65 or U16 your season ticket is priced at just £10! Your season ticket gives you entry to all nine of Millwall Lionesses' home Super League matches against the likes of Everton, Watford and Aston Villa. You will also gain admission to a further three Continental Cup and FA Women's Cup fixtures, including a mouthwatering clash with Arsenal Ladies.
Spartans manager Debbi McCulloch has unveiled two close season signings as the SWPL Manager of the Year begins her preparations for the 2015 campaign.
With a fourth place league finish and an inaugural Scottish Cup Final appearance in 2014, McCulloch has bolstered her squad with two exciting new recruits as they look to improve on things further next year.
Michelle Russell has made the move across the Capital from Hutchison Vale, whilst 18-year-old Canadian Nicola Mawson joins the club after having played for Edinburgh University.
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