Portsmouth 3 West Ham Utd 1
Portsmouth FC Ladies marked the loss of 'Mr Portsmouth Ladies' David Coyle this week with a moving tribute before the match against West Ham Ladies and with a sparkling first half display which left the team three goals to the good.
The home team were then forced to show the resolute battling qualities for which the club is famous as the Hammers gave a strong second half showing, pulling one goal back and often threatening more. In the end, a Sarah Kempson double and one from former Hammer Emma Sherwood had proved enough to end a sad week on a positive note.
As at all FAWPL matches this week, a minute's silence was held and the West Ham team captain presented the Coyle family with a bouquet of flowers. The pre-match was enhanced by a selection of favourite music tracks and tributes, much appreciated by all.
The Pompey players rose to the occasion with a high energy display. Kempson opened the scoring on six minutes with a powerful low drive from 20 yards into the bottom right corner of Deger Zekai's goal. Excellent link up play and movement created further chances before Sherwood added the second with a lovely curled effort from the edge of the area on 22 minutes.
West Ham forward Whitney Locke had been denied by alert goalkeeping by Courtney Trodd but, at the other end, Kempson added the third on 28 minutes. Zekai saved well from Gemma Hillier on 31 minutes as West Ham struggled to contain the home attack.
Trodd made another good save to preserve the three-goal lead going into the break and West Ham continued to look more determined and threatening in the second half, which was a much more even affair. Locke was playing well for the visitors, taking the ball round Trodd on 53 minutes but unable to finish from a tight angle.
Chloe Burr reduced the arrears just after the hour with a good finish and West Ham threatened through Burr again and substitute Molly Peters, denied by a fine tackle by Leeta Rutherford as she burst through.
The match became an exciting end-to-end spectacle in the final 20 minutes. Hillier and Nadine Bazan both got in dangerous crosses, well defended, whilst Zekai produced a brilliant save after Katie James had lobbed her with a fine first time effort on 79 minutes. Racing back, Zekai somehow scooped the ball away, then cannoned at full speed into the far upright. Fortunately the young keeper was able to continue after treatment, although clearly in pain.
Trodd pulled one more good save, parrying a Peters shot wide of goal as Pompey clinched the win. Both teams can take positives from their performances and it was encouraging to see two young squads trying to play the game in the right way and in a good sporting manner, which was marked by lengthy applause from all after an emotional occasion.
Portsmouth: Courtney Trodd, Sharna Capel-Watson, Nadine Bazan, Leeta Rutherford, Paige Atkinson, Shannon Sievwright, Natasha Stephens, Sarah Kempson, Gemma Hillier, Katie James, Emma Sherwood. Subs: Charlotte Benson, Rebekah Tonks, Sophie Phelps, Brittany Jeal, Eilidh Currie.
West Ham Utd: Deger Zekai, Chantelle Mackie, Olivia Sammons, Karen Ray, Hannah Wheeler, Katie Bottom, Antonia Gregoriou, Amy Cooper, Whitney Locke, Dayna Chong, Chloe Burr. Subs: Molly Peters, Beth Griffiths, Danielle Ritson, Kathleen Clifton.
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
Birmingham City 0 Chelsea 4 (Aluko 3, Carney 5, Davison 22, Ji So-Yun 26)
Chelsea dished out a reminder that they are not finished yet in the title race with a masterclass first half performance at the Autotech Stadium.
All of their attacking players got on the scoresheet as Birmingham City's normally miserly defence was breached four times inside the opening 26 minutes, and Emma Hayes' side could well have scored more on the day.
It took three minutes for Chelsea to opening the scoring as Eniola Aluko picked the ball up on the edge of the area and drove a firm low shot which beat Ann-Katrin Berger at her near post.
Before Birmingham could recover, their other former outfield player inflicted a further blow. Claire Rafferty burst down the left and got past Marisa Ewers before whipping in a delightful cross for Karen Carney to direct a downward header into the far corner of the net. Carney's muted celebrations after scoring revealed what a bittersweet moment it had been for the England star.
Carney almost got on the scoresheet again moments later when chasing down a long ball and her attempted lob didn't quite have enough power and Berger was able to gather. Birmingham mustered up their first effort on goal, a 25-yard effort from Abbey Leigh Stringer which was held by Rebecca Spencer, before Chelsea again broke dangerously and Hannah Blundell's curling effort was blocked by Emily Westwood, Aluko firing well over from the rebound.
A third goal was looking on the cards though and it came at the midpoint of the first half. Katie Chapman won the ball in midfield and carried forward before finding Carney who in turn set up Gemma Davison for an emphatic finish from the edge of the area which gave Berger no chance.
Just another four minutes elapsed before Carney set up a chance for Aluko whose miscued shot went straight at Ji So-Yun with Birmingham appealing in vain for offside and although Berger managed to block her first shot, the South Korean international made no mistake at the second attempt to put her side four ahead.
Chelsea continued to dictate matters against a shellshocked home side but they could not add any further goals to their lead ahead of the interval.
Birmingham made two changes at half time and looked more solid during the second half whilst Chelsea were never going to find it easy to recapture the heights of the opening 45 minutes.
It was Chelsea who created the first opportunity though as Davison and Aluko combined to set up Rafferty but the angle was just too tight for the full back and her shot was narrowly off target.
Aluko shot wide following a good team build up and Carney came within inches of notching her second goal on the day, unleashing a 25-yard strike which crashed against the underside of the bar before bouncing out again.
Davison was the next to go close to extending her side's lead with a driving run which took her through on goal but, with only Berger to beat, she slid her shot past the keeper but also past the post.
Birmingham had played a lot better during the second half and almost grabbed a consolation when Freda Ayisi got to the line and cut the ball back for Kirsty Linnett whose shot was saved by Spencer. It had very much been Chelsea's day though and they will still have their sights set on runaway leaders Manchester City, with five matches left to play.
Birmingham City: Ann-Katrin Berger, Marisa Ewers (sub Alex Windell 61mins), Jess Carter, Aoife Mannion, Emily Westwood, Kerys Harrop, Freda Ayisi, Abbey Leigh Stringer (sub Chloe Peplow 45mins), Charlie Wellings, Melissa Lawley, Andrine Hegerberg (sub Kirsty Linnett 45mins). Subs not used: Sophie Baggaley, Coral-Jade Haines, Sian Johnson, Keeley Davies.
Chelsea: Rebecca Spencer, Hannah Blundell, Claire Rafferty (sub Ana Marques Borges 65mins), Millie Bright, Gilly Flaherty, Niamh Fahey, Gemma Davison, Karen Carney, Eniola Aluko (sub Beth England 77mins), Ji So-Yun (sub Jade Bailey 62mins), Katie Chapman. Subs not used: Hedvig Lindahl, Drew Spence.
(top) Karen Carney heads home Chelsea's second goal
(middle) Katie Chapman gets away from Abbey Leigh Stringer
(bottom) Melissa Lawley tries to trick her way past Hannah Blundell
Notts County 0 Arsenal 2 (Oshoala 46, Walsh og 70)
Arsenal kept themselves in the running for a Champions League place after two second half goals gave them a hard earned victory at Meadow Lane.
The home side probably shaded a keenly contested - but ultimately goalless - first-half. However within moments of the restart, Asisat Oshoala pounced on a short pass to skip past Megan Walsh and slot the ball into an empty net to give the visitors the lead, before Emma Byrne's dismissal for a professional foul on Lady Pies striker Ellen White came just after the hour.
As the game opened up, Notts County had their best period with both Jess Clarke and White going close, but they were dealt a killer blow midway through the half, when Walsh dropped the ball into her own net under no pressure.
The home side searched for an opening to get back into the game but late chances for both Aivi Luik and Clarke were well saved by Arsenal substitute goalkeeper Sari Van Veenendaal.
Notts County: Megan Walsh, Maja Krantz, Aivi Luik, Dani Buet, Fern Whelan, Jess Clarke, Rachel Williams, Ellen White (sub Taome Oliver 64mins), Jo Potter, Aileen Whelan (sub Angharad James 45mins), Laura Bassett. Subs not used: Jade Moore, Alice Hassall.
Arsenal: Emma Byrne, Emma Mitchell (sub Dominique Janssen 86mins), Casey Stoney, Vicky Losada, Jordan Nobbs, Danielle Carter, Katie McCabe (sub Sari Van Veenendaal 63mins), Jemma Rose, Danielle Van De Donk (sub Kelly Smith 71mins), Josephine Henning, Asisat Oshoala. Subs not used: Alex Scott, Natalia Pablos Sanchon, Marta Corredera.
(Report by www.fawsl.com)
A heavy defeat for Cardiff Met Ladies made it a disappointing end to the UEFA Women's Champions League qualifiers as Icelandic side Breidablik deservedly progressed to the knockout stages.
It was all to play for on the final day of the UEFA Women's Champions League Group 3 qualifiers with Breidablik and ZFK Spartak Subotica both tied at the top of the group on four points with hosts Cardiff Met just a point behind. However, Cardiff Met had their toughest challenge of the tournament ahead, with impressive Icelandic outfit Breidablik providing the opposition on the final day. Meanwhile, NSA Sofia were looking for their first point, and their first goal, as they prepared to take on Serbian side ZFK Spartak Subotica at Jenner Park. Only the group winners would progress to the knockout stages and keep alive the dream of returning to Cardiff in June for the UEFA Women's Champions League final.
The afternoon started on a sombre note as a minutes silence was held for popular photographer Rob Wilkins who sadly passed away earlier in the week. Without influential defender Sophie Scherschel through the injury suffered in the previous match, manager Dr Kerry Harris made changes to her starting line up, with captain Emily Allen returning to the side.
However, it was Breidablik who dominated matters from the start, and after forcing a string of corners, they eventually took the lead after ten minutes through Svava Gudmundsdottir. It was no more than the visitors deserved and it was Gudmundsdottir who had added a second minutes later.
Breidablik captain Rakel Honnudottir added a third midway through the half and the lead was increased further from the penalty spot when Hannah Bluck brought down Berglind Thorvaldsdottir and was shown a yellow card for her late tackle in the area. The impressive Fanndis Fridrisdottir converted the resulting spot kick before Thorvaldsdottir then added her name to the scoresheet. The captain then added a sixth before the break to make an already long afternoon for Cardiff Met even longer.
Erin Murray had Cardiff Met's best opportunities in an opening half that saw the hosts chasing shadows for long periods, while striker Robyn Pinder was switched to a central defensive role when Stephanie Turner could no longer continue. The second half proved to be slightly more competitive as Pinder kept a close guard on Fridrisdottir, but the Icelandic side remained in complete control, eventually adding to their total in the final minutes of the match through Malfridur Erna Sigurdardottir and Esther Arnarsdottir as the side booked their place into the knock-stages of the competition with ease.
Meanwhile, at Jenner Park, the Group 3 qualifiers came to a close as ZFK Spartak Subotica claimed a 2-0 win over NSA Sofia through goals from captain Violeta Slovic and the towering, attacking midfielder Alexandra Quincey to finish the tournament level on points with Breidablik but with an inferior goal difference. The defeat means that the Bulgarian side failed to find the back of the net in any of their three fixtures. Despite the heavy loss, Cardiff Met Ladies can take plenty of positives from their opening two games, with the 4-0 victory over NSA Sofia on the opening day one of the most famous results in the team's history.
(Report by www.faw.cymru)
Sheffield FC 1 (Michalska 69) Yeovil Town 1 (Quinn 88)
Lucy Quinn scored a late goal to earn WSL 2 leaders Yeovil Town a valuable point in their first ever meeting with Sheffield FC.
The draw ensures Sheffield's seven-game unbeaten run in the league continues, but they could have wrapped up the win in the first half with Hannah Cain hitting the woodwork on several occasions.
After a stalemate first half, the breakthrough came with twenty minutes to go for Sheffield when Chloe Dixon's cross evaded the defence and Jodie Michalska was there to tap home.
However her strike was cancelled out by a late equaliser from Quinn, the debutant getting on the end of a cross from substitute Kelly Aldridge to gift the visitors a point which sees them improve their lead at the top to three points.
Top of the table Yeovil could even have bagged maximum points when they had a goal disallowed from the last kick of the game.
Sheffield FC: Juliana Draycott, Sarah Jackson, Billie Murphy, Danielle Lea (sub Olivia Wild 90mins), Ellie Gilliatt, Sherry McCue, Hannah Dale (sub Emma Johnson 71mins), Jodie Michalska, Chloe Dixon, Chelsea Flanagan (sub Kenedy Owen 85mins), Hannah Cain. Subs not used: Claire Wallhead, Carla Ward, Kirsty Hanson.
Yeovil Town: Charlotte Haynes, Hannah Short, Kayleigh Green, Nicola Cousins, Lauren Townsend (sub Lucy Quinn 53mins), Steph Williams (sub Jessie Jones 61mins), Danielle Carlton, Ellen Curson, Kelly Snook, Nadia Lawrence (sub Kelly Aldridge 70mins), Ann Marie Heatherson. Subs not used: Charlotte Johnson, Ellis Hillman, Kirsten Rendall, Leah Burridge.
(Report by www.fawsl.com)
Watford 1 (Davy 53) Millwall Lionesses 2 (Hincks 2, Loomes 55)
Millwall Lionesses ended their eleven match run without a win when Lucy Loomes' second half goal game them victory over Watford in the clash between the teams at the foot of the table.
Millwall raced out of the traps and were ahead inside two minutes. Amber Gaylor's effort came back off the post but Ashlee Hincks was quickest to react, planting the ball past Lucy Gillett in the Watford goal. Bonnie Horwood went close to a second but couldn't keep her header down and Gillett twice denied Loomes as Millwall bossed the first half.
Watford levelled the scores on 53 minutes when Anne-Laure Davy rose highest to head Anneka Nuttall's precise free kick home. Parity lasted just eight minutes though before Loomes waltzed through the Watford defence before slotting home via the base of the post to put the South London side back in front.
Watford saw plenty of the ball, but were always susceptible to the counter attack and Loomes went close again when put clear but her lob cleared the bar, while Nicole Pepper had to head off her own line to deny Millwall a third.
Watford: Lucy Gillett, Lauren Jordinson (sub Mollie Burgess 90mins), Ruby Baxter, Nicole Pepper, Amber Tullett, Jordan Littleboy (sub Stacie Donnelly 81mins), Anneka Nuttall, Charlotte Kerr, Phoebe Read, Adekite Fatuga-Dada, Anne Laure-Davy (sub Otesha Charles 61mins). Subs not used: Weronika Baranowska, Hannah Samuels.
Millwall Lionesses: Sarah Quantrill, Billie Brooks, Georgina Giddings, Jordan Butler, Leighanne Robe, Leigh Nicol, Bonnie Horwood, Megan Wynne (sub Ella Rutherford 81mins), Amber Gaylor (sub Leanne Cowan 86mins), Ashlee Hincks (sub Emily Heaslip 86mins), Lucy Loomes. Subs not used: Lilli Maple, Brionne Fowle, Beth Harford, Cindy Kanto.
(Report by www.fawsl.com)
London Bees 2 (Clarke 31, Wilson 81) Aston Villa 1 (Merrick 90)
London Bees warmed up for next week's Continental Tyres Cup semi final with a victory as a goal in each half earned them the points against Aston Villa.
Evie Clarke deservedly opened the scoring in a dominant first half an hour for the Bees but then Beth Merrick and Sarah Mayling both come very close for the visitors.
Leading scorer Jo Wilson then sealed the points with her eighth league goal of the season before Merrick's perfectly weighted lob in stoppage time was too little too late for the visitors.
The result means that London Bees are now a single point behind fifth placed Villa in the table.
London Bees: Bethan Davies, Aoife Hurley, Sophie Fogarty (sub Manuela Naprta 45mins), Deanna Cooper (sub Merrick Will 77mins), Nikki Watts, Rebecca Anderson, Evie Clarke, Ashleigh Goddard, Emma Beckett, Paula Howells (sub Holly Greenwood 88mins), Jo Wilson. Subs not used: Andria Georgiou, Danielle Scanlon, Sophie Harris.
Aston Villa: Grace Moloney, Hannah George, Chloe Jones, Elisha N'Dow, Jade Richards, Sarah Mayling (sub Alys Hinchcliffe 82mins), Maddy Cusack, Amy West, Beth Merrick, Tash Baptiste (sub Kerri Welsh 65mins), Mollie Rouse (sub Nicola Potts 74mins). Subs not used: Chloe Beattie, Katy Moran, Lucy Shepherd, Chloe Harper.
(Report by www.fawsl.com)
Manchester City 2 (Beattie 48, Houghton 87) Reading FC Women 0
Manchester City are two wins away from their first ever WSL 1 title following victory over Reading FC Women at the Academy Stadium.
The kick off was moved forward to set up a double header with the men's team and attracted a healthy attendance which included men's captain Vincent Kompany.
City were quickly into their stride with Jane Ross and Daphne Corboz going close before Ross struck the bar moments later. The home side continued to call the shots with Reading hanging on determinedly under pressure and the visitors stayed strong at the back until half time.
Three minutes into the second half, City won a free kick which Toni Duggan floated into the area and Jennifer Beattie rose highest to beat Mary Earps with a downward header and give her side the lead.
Jill Scott went close to doubling the advantage but it wasn't until the dying minutes that they secured the points when Steph Houghton curled home a free kick for the second goal.
Manchester City: Karen Bardsley, Lucy Bronze, Steph Houghton, Jennifer Beattie, Demi Stokes, Jill Scott (sub Georgia Stanway 90mins), Keira Walsh, Izzy Christiansen, Daphne Corboz (sub Nikita Parris 59mins), Jane Ross, Toni Duggan. Subs not used: Marie Hourihan, Kosovare Asllani, Ella Toone.
Reading FC Women: Mary Earps, Rebecca Jane, Kylie Davies, Kirsty McGee, Harriet Scott, Molly Bartrip, Remi Allen, Rachel Rowe, Lauren Bruton, Emma Follis, Jade Boho Sayo (sub Melissa Fletcher 68mins). Subs not used: Lois Roche, Laura Walkley, Amber Stobbs, Helen Ward, Nia Jones, Chloe Sansom.
Durham Women 2 (Hepple pen 20, Atkinson 34) Oxford Utd 1 (Franklin-Fraiture 66)
Durham Women stepped up their promotion challenge in WSL 2 as two first half goals gave them victory against Oxford Utd, leaving them three points off second place and with a game in hand.
Beth Hepple broke the deadlock in the 20th minute from the spot, after Jess Frampton bundled over Jordan Atkinson on the right hand side of penalty area, scoring her seventh league goal of the season.
When Sarah McFadden's shot was parried by Demi Lambourne fourteen minutes later, Atkinson was able to slot home the rebound and double Durham's lead.
United were more prominent in the second period and chipped away at the deficit in the 66th minute, when Ella Franklin-Fraiture bundled the ball home after Helen Alderson failed to grab the ball under pressure.
It wasn't enough to deny the hosts victory though as Oxford made it one win from eight.
Durham Women: Helen Alderson, Jen Jennings, Sarah Wilson, Ellie Christon, Becky Salicki, Natalie Gutteridge (sub Sarah Eadon 90mins), Rachel Lee, Sarah McFadden, Jordan Atkinson (sub Chloe Macek 90mins), Beth Hepple, Emily Roberts (sub Tyler Dodds 90mins). Subs not used: Nicola Gibson, Mercy Darkoah.
Oxford Utd: Demi Lambourne, Jess Frampton, Madison Lee, Riva Casley, Rosie Lane (sub Charlie Deeney 17mins), Ellie Noble (sub Holly Pickett 56mins), Lauren Allison, Ella Franklin-Fraiture (sub Katherine Nutman 68mins), Laura Rafferty, Lauren Haynes, Ini Umotong. Subs not used: Hannah Cox, Steph Weston.
(Report by www.fawsl.com)
Photo: Jordan Atkinson is brought down by Jess Frampton for a first half penalty (Susan Gutteridge).
Bristol City 0 Everton 1 (Kelly pen 8)
Everton gave their WSL 2 promotion hopes a huge shot in the arm when a controversial penalty gave them three vital points against second placed Bristol City at Stoke Gifford.
It was a scrappy match of very few chances, not helped by a shocking refereeing performance, but Everton defended superbly to nullify the home side and end their unbeaten home record in the league.
After a slow start to the game, it was the visitors who were handed a great chance from a corner when Flo Allen was adjudged to have fouled Claudia Walker although the challenge appeared to be innocuous. Both sets of players looked to be bemused by the decision but Chloe Kelly composed herself well to step up and send Caitlin Leach the wrong way from the penalty spot.
City tried hard to respond to the setback, driven on by Chloe Arthur in midfield, but Everton's well organised back four ensured that goalkeeper Kirstie Levell was well protected and she was never really stretched during the first half. Vicky Jones in particular had a fine match at right back against City danger woman Claire Emslie.
Everton relied on breaks and counter attacks and one almost resulted in a second goal, Kelly finding space in the area and curling a shot goalwards but Leach pulled off a fine diving save to keep the ball out.
At the other end, Emslie whipped in a dangerous cross but no City player was in the area to take advantage and this proved to be a rare opportunity for the home side as Everton snuffed out any further attacks, taking their one-goal lead into the interval.
Everton were first on the attack at the start of the second half and Leach needed to be quick off her line to clear as Walker bore down on goal. The ball went straight to Michelle Hinnigan who cleverly tried to lob back goalwards but her effort lacked sufficient power and Leach was able to gather safely.
The home side replied with Megan Alexander hitting the side netting from a tight angle after getting on the end of a Jodie Brett free kick.
City had struggled to get their passing game going but produced a fine flowing move just after the hour mark. Charlie Estcourt released Emslie on the left and her low cross looked certain to produce a goal but Arthur and Olivia Fergusson were denied as first Levell bravely saved and Gabby George blocked on the line before Georgia Brougham hacked the ball clear to end the scramble.
George had been excellent in the centre of the Everton defence and she could have crowned her performance with a goal. Hinnigan's corner picked out an unmarked George at the far post but she sent her header harmlessly over the bar.
The home side were forced to press forward and another good block foiled the lively Fergusson, who also had a goal disallowed for a foul on Levell. Everton once more stood firm under the increasing pressure and Levell's handling was faultless when called into action.
As the game went into injury time, another counter attack almost led to a second for Everton. Rosella Ayane broke down the right and her low centre picked out Hinnigan on the edge of the area, the Toffees skipper's shot beating the dive of Leach but Grace McCatty was well placed to clear off the line.
Back came City and Arthur seized on a loose pass and worked an opening, her low shot looked destined for the bottom corner but Levell dived full length to get a hand to it.
This was the last opportunity in seven minutes of injury time and Everton held out for three valuable points which opened up the promotion race once more.
Bristol City: Caitlin Leach, Flo Allen (sub Paige Sawyer 59mins), Megan Alexander, Jodie Brett, Grace McCatty, Hayley Ladd, Chloe Arthur, Charlie Estcourt, Loren Dykes, Olivia Fergusson, Claire Emslie. Subs not used: Hannah Reid, Eloise Wilson, Georgia Evans, Katie Jones, Poppy Wilson.
Everton: Kirstie Levell, Vicky Jones, Danielle Turner, Megan Finnigan, Gabby George, Georgia Brougham, Krystle Johnston (sub Rosella Ayane 77mins), Michelle Hinnigan, Claudia Walker, Chloe Kelly, Kelly Jones. Subs not used: Jennifer Myler, Ellie Stewart, Millie Turner, Emily Hollinshead, Lauren Davies.
(top) Chloe Kelly scores from the penalty spot
(middle) Georgia Brougham battles with Olivia Fergusson
(bottom) Danielle Turner clears under pressure from Loren Dykes
Liverpool 1 (Harding 47) Doncaster Rovers Belles 0
Liverpool stretched their unbeaten run in the league to seven matches and moved to within one point of third place after a powerful strike from Natasha Harding gave them victory over Doncaster Rovers Belles, whose search for points continues.
The hosts dominated the majority of an entertaining first half at the Select Security Stadium with Nicola Hobbs performing wonders between the posts to ensure the visitors remained level.
Hobbs first denied Shanice van de Sanden before athletically tipping over a headed effort from Reds captain Gemma Bonner, who seconds later saw another chance cleared off the line.
The Belles remained a threat on the break and it was Siobhan Chamberlain who was forced into making the save of the game when she dived down low to her right to keep out Katrin Omarsdottir's shot.
After a goalless first half, it was Harding who broke the deadlock in spectacular style when she picked up a loose ball outside the Belles' area before rifling a fine shot beyond the previously unbeatable Hobbs.
Although the visitors improved after going behind, chances were at a premium as the Reds secured a welcome three points to make it seven league games unbeaten.
Liverpool: Siobhan Chamberlain, Mandy van den Berg, Sophie Ingle, Gemma Bonner, Satara Murray, Kate Longhurst (sub Rosie White 71mins), Caroline Weir (sub Katie Zelem 66mins), Laura Coombs, Shanice van de Sanden (sub Ashley Hodson 90mins, Natasha Harding, Emma Lundh. Subs not used: Danielle Gibbons, Martha Harris, Niamh Charles, Mollie Green.
Doncaster Rovers Belles: Nicola Hobbs, Rachel Newborough, Rhiannon Roberts, Kasia Lipka, Leandra Little, Samantha Tierney, Emily Simpkins, Katrin Omarsdottir, Sophie Barker, Carla Humphrey (sub Marta Bakowska-Mathews 84mins), Christie Murray (sub Rebecca Raynor 90mins). Subs not used: Anna Moorhouse, Lauren Cresswell.
(Report by www.fawsl.com)
Lewes caused a stir on the opening weekend of the Premier League season on Sunday with a stunning 7-2 victory over West Ham Utd.
We talked to Rookettes midfielder Katie McIntyre who had a fine match and created five of the seven goals her team scored. She was delighted with the team's performance on the day and feels that the club is in good shape to improve on their seventh place finish last season:
WSS: Congratulations on a great result to start the season, do you feel that the result reflected the performance overall?
KM: I believe it did, we controlled the game very well, create allot of chances and always looked threatening on the attack.
WSS: However you must have felt differently when you went two goals down early on?
KM: Going two-nil down within 20 minutes was a real shock to us, as I felt we were the better side, but I always had confidence in the team that we could pull something back and get back in the game.
WSS: Did you do anything different to turn the game around from that point?
KM: I think we all knew on the pitch that we had to react and quickly, so we started being more aggressive pushing forward and it just showed the belief and character of this team from being 0-2 down to 3-2 to 4-2 and then eventually winning 7-2.
WSS: The club has made a lot of new signings including the likes of Kim Stenning and Tammy Waine, does the squad feel a lot stronger this season?
KM: Yes, it does feel stronger as we have more strength and depth in all positions and competition to be in the starting eleven is as tough as it's ever been.
WSS: This week you play Cardiff City Ladies who are usually amongst the front runners, what sort of match are you anticipating?
KM: Cardiff have always been a very good side, strong, organised and well drilled. But we have worked hard over pre-season for games such as this.
WSS: Lewes have done very well ever since reaching the top flight, what do you think is a realistic season for the club this time around?
KM: We have done well since being in the Southern prem. The last few seasons, we haven't finished as well as we wanted, but we have clear goals and objectives for this season which this squad can achieve.
WSS: Having seen two South Coast teams win the title in the last two seasons, do you think the potential is there for Lewes to emulate that sometime in the future?
KM: Absolutely, this club is only growing and becoming a positive player pathway to one of the top flights in women's football!
Our thanks to Katie!
Cardiff Met Ladies 2 (Agg 27,45) Spartak Subotica 3 (Quincey 44, Tseng 50, Filipovic 74)
Cardiff Met Ladies' hopes of qualifying for the last 32 of the UEFA Women's Champions League hang in the balance after Spartak Subotica staged a second half comeback to take the points at Cyncoed Stadium.
Lily Agg had given them a half time lead with two superb strikes but the Welsh Premier Women's League Champions now have to beat Breidablik in their final game on Sunday and hope that Spartak slip up against NSA Sofia.
In contrast to the sweltering conditions in their first match, this game was played in steady rain throughout and Cardiff Met could have taken an early lead but Robyn Pinder failed to find the target from close range.
Cardiff Met continued to have the better of possession and territory and they were rewarded on 27 minutes when Lily Agg gave them the lead with a firm strike from the edge of the area.
Erin Murray forced a save Milica Kostic a minute later but Spartak began to come into the game more as a force as half time approached. Sara Moreira saved low down from Violeta Slovic but a minute later, Shu-O Tseng did well to get down the right and cut the ball back from the line for Alexandra Jean Quincey to fire into the roof of the net from twelve yards for the equaliser.
Cardiff Met's response was swift; as the game went into the third minute of injury time, Ellie Sargent broke down the right and combined with Pinder to set up a chance for Agg who crashed a glorious 25-yard strike into the far top corner of the net, giving Kostic no chance.
If Cardiff Met had set out to keep things tight at the back at the start of the second half, they were undone within five minutes of the restart. After failing to deal with a set piece, Tseng nipped in behind the defence to score from close range and level the scores again.
To make matters worse for the home side, captain Sophie Scherschel was stretchered off with a knee injury following a lengthy delay and she was replaced at the back by Rebecca Mathias.
Cardiff Met reacted well to the setback and carried the game towards their opponents. Chloe O'Connor had a shot saved and the strong running Murray, who again impressed up front, also called Kostic into action.
However just as Cardiff Met had had their best spell of the match, they were flattened at the other end when Spartak went in front in fortuitous fashion. Following a corner in which Sara Pavlovic had a shot blocked, the ball was cleared out as far as Tijana Filipovic on the left where her resulting cross sailed over Moreira and inside the far post.
Cardiff Met tried desperately to get back on terms but Spartak defended well with captain Slovic having a fine game in the centre. The best chance came as Sargent burst down the right and found Josiane Vasconcelos in the area where she evaded a challenge but her left foot shot hit the side netting.
Vasconcelos fired a free kick over the bar but Cardiff Met could not open up a determined Spartak defence and the Serbian side ran down the clock during six minutes of injury time to hold on for a win which gives them a great chance of going through to the next phase.
Cardiff Met Ladies: Sara Moreira, Sophie Scherschel (sub Rebecca Mathias 54mins), Chloe O'Connor, Tija Richardson, Stephanie Turner, Hannah Bluck, Ellie Sargent, Lily Agg, Robyn Pinder, Erin Murray, Aimee Todd (sub Josiane Vasconcelos 61mins). Subs not used: Yzabelle Taylor, Emily Allen, Emma Tustin, Lois Regan, Stacey Ayling.
Spartak Subotica: Milica Kostic, Alina Baka, Yekaterina Gokhman, Orsoja Vajda, Violeta Slovic, Alexandra Jean Quincey, Sara Pavlovic, Shu-O Tseng, Tijana Matic (sub Waldir 36mins (sub Adrienne Mekuko 58mins)), Tijana Filipovic, Jelena Marenic. Subs not used: Sara Cetinja, Allegra Poljak, Simona Krstanovska, Eli Jakovska, Dunja Mostarac.
(top) Erin Murray gets in a shot on goal
(middle) Violeta Slovic heads away under pressure from Hannah Bluck
(bottom) Josiane Vasconcelos is narrowly off target with this second half effort
Tottenham Hotspur Ladies had a tremendous campaign last year, reaching three cup finals and finishing with a famous cup double.
As aforementioned, the Capital Women's Cup was snatched from their grasp at the hands of the same side they beat just two weeks prior on penalties to win the Ryman Cup, and their first piece of silverware, Charlton Athletic. They followed suit by achieving their ultimate target, the FA Women's Premier League Cup, which saw them overcome eventual winners of their League, Brighton & Hove Albion, on their way to reaching the final in Kidderminster. A never-say-die attitude saw Spurs come out on top against Cardiff City in May, a 120th minute header from Maya Vio preceded Bianca Baptiste's opener in a 2-1 victory.
Karen Hills' side aren't willing to rest on their laurels, and although they hold their achievements to date in high regard, the eagerness to go one better is prevalent. To the frustration of the Lilywhites, they had a wavering league campaign finishing comfortably in sixth place, which is the driving force for this coming campaign.
The squad is full of young, hungry talent as displayed in last season's FA Cup 4th round tie (equalling their best-ever round) against WSL 2 outfit, Aston Villa, which saw them narrowly slip to defeat in extra-time by 2-3 after twice getting themselves in front. The incentive is to finish in the top three positions in the League, and although Hills' side saw Northern Ireland International Avilla Bergin go to rivals Charlton Athletic, the realism of achieving that target has been strengthened by Nikita Whinnett and Megen Lynch coming the other way.
Both players have pedigree in this league and will be sure to bring that edge of experience which could prove to be vital, alongside the arrival of WSL striker, Cheryl Williams. Added to this, the signings of Renee Hector formerly of Watford, and Jade Dempster, formerly of London Bees, will add wealth of WSL know-how to an already impressive defensive unit.
So far, so good in pre-season overcoming Middlesbrough 5-1, Enfield Town 4-0, a 4-3 North London derby win over Arsenal's highly-regarded developmental side, followed by a 3-3 draw with WSL 2 outift, Watford Ladies.
With Hills' side looking in high spirits, she said: "After a very successful season for us last year we are looking forward to reaching those heights again this year. Our aim this season is to be more consistent in the league throughout the year and to finish in the top three. We are improving on and off the field year after year and I feel we are going in the right direction. Last season we enjoyed the cup runs very much and we will be looking to retain those cups, the FA cup run is always special as it gives you a chance to test yourself against WSL teams in the later stages of the competition and something we will be working towards achieving."
By Khalid Karimullah
Eastern Region League
Bedford Ladies' first game back in the league ended in victory; a 7-3 success against Histon which means they head the opening day table in the Premier Division. Natasha Fensome hit a hat-trick, Chelcie Alleyne weighed in with a brace and there was one apiece from Hannah Bodily and Suzie Darby. Acle Utd meanwhile won 5-2 at AFC Dunstable thanks to goals from Grace Birchall (2), Alice Ladbrooke, Jody Wells and Megan Cletheroe. Billericay Town, runners-up last season, were beaten 4-1 at home by Haringey Borough for whom Julia Carruthers bagged a brace along with Jessica Appeagyei and Anele Komani. AFC Sudbury were the day's other winners, a solitary strike from Sasha Diston gave them victory against Royston Town. Great Wakering Rovers meanwhile battled out a 1-1 draw with Brentwood Town, who scored through Carla Rose.
Silver End got off to a good start in Division One, running out 7-1 winners over Hoddesdon Town Owls. Rebecca Hollocks led the scoring with a hat-trick, Lynsey Bowman added two and the tally was completed by Rebekah Henderson and Jodie Osborne. Lisa Kline was another hat-trick scorer for newcomers Hertford Town in their 4-2 victory over Stevenage Ladies Res, Laveena Betts adding the other, whilst a first half brace from Michelle Taylor-Allum earned Ipswich Wanderers a 2-1 success against Wymondham Town.
London & South East League
London Corinthians began the new season strongly with a 7-1 victory over Fulham FC Foundation. Katherine Long was on target four times for last season's runners-up, while Elizabeth Adams, Emily Hart and Hayley Mansfield added a goal apiece. Newly promoted Watford Development meanwhile opened up by winning 5-0 away to Herne Bay, courtesy of Alisha Brayer (2), Chloe Farrell, Kayleigh Humphries and an own goal. Belen Ripoli Douton, Scarlett Smith, Hayley Barton and Egle Trezzi were all on the scoresheet for Leyton Orient as they defeated Aylesford 4-0. Carshalton Athletic narrowly got the better of Eastbourne Town by the odd goal in seven, earned by strikes from Holly Nicholls, Kadeshia Rose, Laura Curtis and Tamara Graham, whilst Charlotte Barnham and Lauren Callaghan were on target for Crawley Wasps in their 2-1 win against Camden Town.
North East League
The First Round of the League Cup opened up the new campaign and three ties saw Premier Division clubs going out to lower division opponents. Ironically, all three were away victories, led by Farsley Celtic's 3-1 success away to Scunthorpe & Bottesford. Kathryn Mudge, Jade Rabjohn and Michelle Wakelin were on the scoresheet as Sheffield Wednesday beat Castleford White Rose 3-2 and Malet Lambert YC were 2-1 winners over Wakefield thanks to Alex Beardshaw and Ellie Tanser. East Yorkshire Carnegie were pushed hard by Westella & Willerby in their 3-2 victory whilst in the all-Premier Division clash, Tynedale won 3-1 at Boldon Ladies courtesy of a Christine Murray brace and Kate Hepple. York City netted eight times without reply past Harrogate Railway and York City Res were also 8-0 victors against Redcar Town, spearheaded by a four-goal haul from Ellie Randall. Georgia Marsden, Laura Porritt, Millie Templeman and Alice Turner rounded off the scoring with the other goals. Oughtibridge were 7-2 winners over Cleethorpes Town whilst Norton & Stockton Ancients triumphed 5-1 at South Shields, Anna Mawston was on target twice along with Sam McGovern, Sian Williams and Rebecca Davison. Lynsey Wilkinson bagged a hat-trick as Wallsend Boys Club defeated Prudhoe Town 6-0, Elizabeth Campbell (2) and Samantha Campion adding the others. In a battle between two of the newcomers, Hartlepool Utd were 6-0 winners over Cramlington Utd, Casey Crossman hitting a hat-trick along with Chloe Biggs, Justine Robinson and Sarah Rowbotham. Paige Conlan netted twice and Rosie Broad the other as AFC Preston beat Ossett Albion 3-1 and Doncaster Belles (Women's) won 2-1 away to Courts City thanks to Sophie Brown and Chantelle Willis.
West Midlands League
Knowle began the new season in the Premier Division with a 6-3 victory over Wrockwardine Wood. Burton Albion meanwhile marked their first league match following promotion by notching up an impressive 4-1 win against last season's runners-up Crusaders. In the other game to be played, Kingshurst Sporting Club returned from Leamington Lions with a 1-0 victory under their belts.
Cardiff Met Ladies 4 (Sargent 24, Pinder 64, Todd 76,88) NSA Sofia 0
Cardiff Met Ladies got their UEFA Women's Champions League campaign off to the best possible start with a thumping 4-0 victory over NSA Sofia at Cyncoed Stadium.
The Welsh Premier Women's League Champions are hosting their qualifying group this season, meaning that the tournament will start and end in Cardiff, with the Final being played at Cardiff City Stadium next June.
In blazing sunshine in the Welsh capital and with both the men's and women's trophies on display beside the pitch, it was NSA Sofia who settled the quicker of the sides but Cardiff Met almost took the lead in the tenth minute when captain Emily Allen crashed a long range shot against the bar.
Midway through the first half though, the hosts took the lead to delight of the large crowd. Lily Agg slid a neat pass into the path of Ellie Sargent who took a touch before calmly placing her shot past Nikoleta Kaniaka and into the far corner.
The goal was the only strike in a tightly contested and competitive first half although, four minutes before half time, there was a scare for Cardiff Met as Lili Zhekova looked to be through on goal but Sara Moreira was quickly off her line to make a vital challenge and avert the danger.
The two sides exchanged chances at the start of the second half, Agg heading just wide from a Chloe O'Connor corner whilst at the other end, Valentina Gospodinova drove past the post from the edge of the area.
Agg was pulling the strings in midfield for Cardiff Met, well supported by Allen, and a strong run into the area took her past three opponents before Sofia could finally clear.
The strong running Erin Murray up front was also a constant threat to the Bulgarian side and she was directly involved as Cardiff Met doubled their lead. Picking the ball up halfway inside the Sofia half, Murray drove towards goal and into the area, drawing three defenders before cutting the ball across goal for Robyn Pinder to tuck home from six yards.
Sofia had a great chance to pull a goal back barely a minute later as Gospodinova headed wide from Silvia Radoyska's floated cross to the far post. Tija Richardson also made a fine headed clearance from a Velina Koshuleva free kick as the Bulgarian side was forced to press forward.
The heat was also starting to take its toll with Cardiff Met somewhat bizzarely having four different players suffering with cramp at the same time, during break in play.
Far from wilting though, the Welsh side took over matters again and the introduction of Aimee Todd as substitute gave them fresh impetus. The winger almost scored with her first touch as Pinder dinked a cross to the far post but it bounced awkwardly for Todd and she could only direct her header over.
Just three minutes later, after Sargent whipped the ball into the area, the Sofia defence were unable to clear and Todd did well to trick her way past Viktoriya Mitova on the edge of the area before firing a left foot shot past Kaniaka to put her side three ahead.
Agg drove a free kick over the bar and had another effort blocked before Cardiff Met crowned their day with two minutes remaining. Allen threaded a delightful through ball into the path of Todd who finished confidently for her second goal on the day.
Cardiff Met are next in action on Thursday (6pm), again at the Cyncoed Stadium when they take on Spartak Subotica of Serbia, who drew 1-1 with Breidablik in the other group game.
Cardiff Met Ladies: Sara Moreira, Sophie Scherschel, Lois Regan (sub Aimee Todd 70mins), Tija Richardson (sub Rebecca Mathias 78mins), Stephanie Turner, Emily Allen, Ellie Sargent, Lily Agg, Robyn Pinder, Erin Murray, Chloe O'Connor. Subs not used: Yzabelle Taylor, Hannah Bluck, Emma Tustin, Josiane Vasconcelos, Stacey Ayling.
NSA Sofia: Nikoleta Kaniaka, Nelly Atanasova, Monika Razhgeva (sub Kristin Krasteva 68mins), Stanislava Tsekova, Viktoriya Mitova, Yoana Papazova, Valentina Asenova, Silvia Radoyska (sub Lora Petrova 80mins), Valentina Gospodinova, Lili Zhekova (sub Inna Dimova 77mins), Velina Koshuleva. Subs not used: Mariya Keleva, Teya Penkova, Nikoleta Karakoleva, Viktoriya Mihaylova.
(top) Sophie Scherschel gets in a challenge on Silvia Radoyska
(middle) Erin Murray takes on Yoana Papazova
(bottom) Aimee Todd fires in the first of her two goals
Glasgow City continue to power away at the top of SWPL 1 following an impressive 7-0 victory over Rangers, which maintains their lead of five points.
The game was also a momentous occasion for City captain Leanne Ross as she equalled Suzanne Lappin's all time scoring record for the club when she netted her 231st goal in City colours just after the hour mark. Julie Fleeting was on target twice, with one apiece from Cheryl McCulloch, Clare Shine, Erin Cuthbert and Hayley Lauder.
Hibernian won 6-1 against local rivals Spartans to get their title bid back on track. Lizzie Arnot and Abigail Harrison each scored twice for Hibs, whose other goals came from Sarah Ewens and Lucy Graham, while Michelle Russell netted Spartans' consolation.
Celtic strengthened their position in third by running out 5-0 winners over Aberdeen, who remain worryingly in the bottom two. Five different players were on the scoresheet for Celtic, Alex Middleton giving them the lead before adding further goals through Suzanne Mulvey, Kirsty Howat, Natalie Ross and Abbi Grant.
Stirling University made it two wins in successive weeks and their 1-0 success over Forfar Farmington sees them make up ground on the top half of the table. Rachel Donaldson scored the only goal of the game to take her side closer to safety whilst Forfar remain four points adrift.
Glasgow Girls are back on top of SWPL 2 after winning 2-0 away to Jeanfield Swifts. Lauren Evans settled matters in Glasgow's favour by scoring twice, either side of half time.
Previous leaders Hearts are back in second place following a narrow 1-0 defeat at the hands of Hutchison Vale in their local derby. Ashley Fish scored the only goal of the game to dent Hearts' promotion challenge and keep Hutchie's own hopes alive.
Hamilton Academicals narrowed the gap on Hearts to two points after goals from Katherine Jaycock and Deborah McLeod earned them a 2-1 victory away to Buchan Ladies.
The two teams at the foot of the table met each other and it was Inverness City who ran out 5-1 winners over Queen's Park, lifting themselves above the Spiders and closer towards the safety zone.
AFC Wimbledon 4 Ipswich Town 3
AFC Wimbledon marked their first match in the FAWPL South East Division One with an exciting 4-3 home victory over Ipswich Town.
Behind in the second minute, the Dons drew level before the break before easing into a 4-2 lead. A late third from the Tractor Girls, who played a full part in a very good contest, made for a nervous last few minutes but the league newcomers saw the match out effectively.
Ipswich started really brightly with a good run and finish from Natasha Thomas and created several other chances to build on their second minute lead. Molly Hall went close after breaking clear and later was denied by good work from Dons keeper Shanell Salgado and defender Sami Bock. Zoe Cossey fired wide after another good build up by Hall and a dummy by Thomas left her free.
An unfortunate injury to Ipswich's Nicole Pannifer led to a lengthy break and a reshuffle. Wimbledon came more into the contest and Laura Low had their first real chance on 27 minutes, firing just wide, Ipswich keeper Leanne Smith taking a nasty knock as she closed down the Dons attacker, leading to another long delay. The same two players were in direct confrontation for the equaliser on 40 minutes, Low again breaking clear, being initially denied by a good save, but latching on to the rebound to finish neatly.
Salgado made a fine save from Hall, leaping to her left to turn away a shot a minute after the equaliser but Dons finished the half strongly in the eight added minutes.
The second half started in amazing fashion. Dons took the lead on 47 minutes when Caroline Bisson's free kick was tipped away by Smith only for Sian Wylie to get the final touch in a scramble to turn the ball home. Ipswich were level within a minute with a delightful run and powerful shot on the turn by Hollie Clement.
Just two minutes later, Lotti Klatt delivered a right wing corner which was met by a firm downward header from Dons skipper Jess Trimnell to restore the lead for the hosts.
Play was still evenly balanced, with both teams threatening at times to add to their tally. The crucial moment came on 78 minutes when, with Dons attacking, a bouncing ball struck Ipswich's Thomas on the arm and a spot kick was awarded. Trimnell converted for her second and a two-goal cushion.
Low nearly added a fifth from sub Emma Keady's cross but it was the visitors who reduced the arrears on 87 minutes when sub Samantha Walker turned home from a tight angle after Salgado had saved the initial free kick delivery from the right.
AFC Wimbledon were able to safeguard their lead with good hold up play by Bisson and others deep in the Ipswich half and were able to celebrate a hard earned victory against a good established team at this level.
AFC Wimbledon: Shanell Salgado, Jess Trimnell, Kelly-Jade Whelan, Rebecca Sargent, Caroline Bisson, Laura Low, Sami Bock, Lotti Klatt, Sian Wylie, Georgia O'Halloran, Hannah Billingham. Subs: Hannah Searle, Abi Feaver, Emma Keady, Emma Marlow.
Ipswich Town: Leanne Smith, Sian Fagg, Nicole Pannifer, Sophie Welton, Aimee Harrison, Grace Bowman, Hollie Clement, Lindsey Cooper, Natasha Thomas, Molly Hall, Zoe Cossey. Subs: Sian Cottrell, Samantha Walker.
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
Photos by www.jamesprickett.co.uk:
(top) Jess Trimnell under pressure from Hollie Clement
(middle) Shanell Salgado and Hannah Billingham keep Sian Cottrell at bay
(bottom) Sian Fagg gets in a challenge on Kelly-Jade Whelan
Northern Division One
Chorley made it an uncomfortable first day back in the Premier League for Crewe Alexandra as they won 4-0 against the newly promoted side. A brace from Charlotte Higginson put Chorley two ahead at the interval and they wrapped up the win in the second half thanks to Vicky Coope and Rachel Hindle.
Chester-le-Street Town have also got off to a good start, running out 4-1 winners over Blackpool Wren Rovers. Laura Hockaday, Amy Kelly, Rae Taylor and Nyci Thorns all scored a goal apiece for the Cestrians.
Brighouse Town also made an unfortunate start in their first match following promotion, going down to a 3-0 defeat at home to Morecambe. Substitute Megan Doherty netted two second half goals for the Lancashire side, to add to Becky Whittingham's earlier strike.
Leeds Ladies meanwhile won an entertaining affair 5-3 at Tranmere Rovers. Arianne Parnham netted two of the goals and there was one apiece from Hannah Poulter, Jodie Hunter and Jasmine Saxton, with the home side replying via a Rachel Rigby brace and Charlotte Cloy.
Guiseley Vixens emerged as 3-1 winners in their clash with last season's runners-up Liverpool Marshalls Feds. Guiseley, looking to regain their Northern Division status at the first attempt, scored through Olivia Thackray, Chantelle O'Hara and Sarah Danby, whilst the home side's consolation came from Levi Wensley.
Midlands Division One
Loughborough Foxes are back in the division following relegation at the end of last season but they appear to making up for lost time after beating Sporting Khalsa 5-1 in their opener. Emma Pilling was on target twice for the Foxes along with Audrey Moore, Charlotte Cooper and Millie Seaton.
Rotherham Utd sit jointly at the head of the opening day table as they also won 5-1 against Birmingham & West Midlands Ladies. Nat Shaw and Amy Pollock each bagged doubles for Rotherham and they were joined on the scoresheet by Bianca Ross, with Jade Lang replying late on.
The two league newcomers met each other in their first games and it was TNS Ladies who were 5-2 victors against Long Eaton Utd. Charlotte Budd netted twice for TNS with the others coming from Laura Morris, Lia Lewis and Louisa Anderson, while Long Eaton responded through Cara Newton and an own goal.
Radcliffe Olympic picked up the points with a 1-0 success over Steel City Wanderers.
South East Division One
Ellen Swift led the scoring with a brace as Norwich City defeated East Anglian rivals Lowestoft Town to record the division's largest win. Chelsea Garrett, Ebony Wiseman and Millie Bales added the other goals for the Canaries, while the home side's consolation came from Hannah Waters.
Milton Keynes Dons are hoping to be among the challengers once again and they also started well, recording a 3-0 victory away to Denham Utd courtesy of a goal apiece from Leah Cudone, Kerry Newman and Charly Wright.
AFC Wimbledon made their return to Premier League football after a number of years away and it ended on a winning note, edging out Ipswich Town by the odd goal in seven. Jess Trimnell netted twice along with Laura Low and Sian Wylie for the Dons, while Ipswich replied through Hollie Clement, Natasha Thomas and Samantha Walker (see match report).
Actonians Ladies meanwhile claimed a fine 2-1 win away to Cambridge Utd. Jessica Byrne and Carla Williams scored their goals, while Cambridge found the net through Becky Taylor.
Enfield Town gave new manager Marc Nurse a winning start as they defeated newly promoted Stevenage Ladies 2-1. Lizzie Kent and Ellie Taladiana were on target for Enfield, before Becky Scola grabbed a late consolation for Stevenage.
Luton Town and Gillingham had to settle for a share of the spoils after battling out a 1-1 draw. Both goals came during the first half, Dionne Manning netting Luton's goal with the Gills replying through Fliss Gibbons.
South West Division One
Plymouth Argyle enjoyed their trip to the Isle of Wight to play Shanklin, opening the campaign with a 6-1 victory which sees them as the opening day leaders. Ezme Wells scored two of the goals along with Lucy Olde, Rebecca Atkins, Amber Guy-Kemp and Darcey Hepworth while the home side's consolation was netted by Kim Arnold.
Larkhall Athletic meanwhile started their season impressively by winning 5-1 away to Keynsham Town. Lizzie Barratt netted a goal in each half for the Larks along with two long range free kicks from Michelle Munro and a debut goal from Stacey Pearson. Justine Lorton-Radburn finished off a good move for Keynsham's solitary strike.
Last season's runners-up Chichester City opened up with a 4-0 victory over Cheltenham Town, thanks to a goal apiece from Lauren Cheshire, Chloe Dowdell, Cherelle Khassal and Jade Widdows.
Brislington made their first ever appearance in the league following promotion and a late goal saw them take a point away from a 2-2 draw against Southampton Saints. After Becki Bath had fired them in front during the first half, Brislington quickly equalised through Kim Maggs but Leanne Lapham ensured that Saints regained their lead before the interval. The visitors held their lead until injury time when substitute Leigha Milkins levelled the scores once again.
Lewes recovered from a bad start to record the biggest win on the opening day in the Southern Division when they ran out 7-2 winners over West Ham Utd.
Danielle Lane, Rachel Palmer and Kim Stenning all netted doubles for the Rookettes with Kelly Newton also getting on the scoresheet, despite the Hammers having taken a two-goal lead in the opening fifteen minutes through Katie Bottom and Whitney Locke.
Last season's runners-up Charlton Athletic have begun the season strongly, notching a 4-0 victory over newly promoted Swindon Town. Katie Flack and Gemma Shepherd put the Addicks two ahead early on and they went on to crown the win with further strikes after the break from Kit Graham and Charley Clifford.
The other promoted side, Crystal Palace, fared better as they battled out a 2-2 draw with Coventry Utd. Gemma Bryan twice gave Palace the lead, with Coventry hitting back on each occasion with two equalisers from Stephanie Smith to earn a share of the spoils.
C & K Basildon ensured they got off to a good start when goals from Lily Mellors and Zoe Rushen took them to a 2-0 win against Portsmouth.
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