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Women's Soccer Scene
Chairman's Cup heads East  
 Women's Football News 27 Apr 2015
 
Prince of Wales 6 Abbey Rangers 2
Prince of Wales claimed the South East Counties League Chairman's Cup Final with a 6-2 victory over Abbey Rangers at Redhill FC. 
 
The competition features teams from Division One West and East and the Canterbury-based club, East Division runners-up, took the honours with clinical finishing. The highlight was a hat-trick for Caroline Rennie in an entertaining encounter as Prince of Wales lifted the Cup in their second appearance in the Final.
 
Abbey Rangers were unfortunate in the second minute as an attacker was obstructed outside the area by PoW keeper Jade Brookes when clean through on goal and the resulting free kick was sent over the bar by Steph Sale. Prince of Wales took the lead on 15 minutes when a right wing cross from Danni Ritson was laid off by Chloe Galvin for Rennie to net from close range.
 
The lead was doubled on 28 minutes when Rennie took another right wing cross past the last defender before shooting across Holly Nunn. The same player nearly completed a quickfire hat-trick but Nunn pushed her shot on to the post and away for a corner. The reprieve was short lived, however, as a towering header by Justine Newton from the set piece gave Prince of Wales a comfortable margin.
 
Abbey Rangers found new resolve to fight their way back into the match in the final third of the first half. Rachel Johnson proved the catalyst for the fightback, running powerfully from half way before setting up her sister Hannah for a neat finish on 37 minutes. Only a fine save from Brookes prevented an immediate second for Abbey, throwing herself at Rachel Johnson's feet to claim a through ball.
 
Prince of Wales skipper Maria Wharfe nearly netted with a hooked effort narrowly wide but Abbey finished the half strongly to give themselves hope for the second period.
 
Prince of Wales restarted strongly, however, and extended their lead when Rennie finished powerfully from an excellent right wing cross on 59 minutes. Abbey responded immediately when a speculative effort from Rachel Johnson evaded Brookes and dropped in the net.
 
Prince of Wales dominated the final half hour as Rennie was twice denied a fourth goal by fine saves from Nunn, blocking close range efforts at full stretch. Ritson was just wide with another effort before Victoria King made the game safe with a run and lobbed finish. Perhaps the best goal of the day came just before the end with Rennie the provider this time, setting up Galvin for a crisp 20-yard drive low into the bottom left corner.
 
Prince of Wales, so impressive in defeat in the Kent Plate Final, found the finishing touch this time to claim the prize. Results elsewhere on day confirmed their runners up position in the league, which allowed a double celebration at the presentation ceremony. Abbey Rangers, in their first season at this level, still have a chance of claiming a similar league finish after a fine season, but were second best on the day. 
 
Prince of Wales: Jade Brookes, Claire Gilmour, Liberty Prior, Emma Viscount, Charlotte Scamps, Victoria King, Danni Ritson, Maria Wharfe, Isobelle Woods, Caroline Rennie, Justine Newton. Subs: Louisa Croasdale, Ashleigh Holmes, Chloe Galvin, Kate Goddard.

Abbey Rangers: Holly Nunn, Lydia Jones, Amber Othen, Clare Walding, Alice Cherry, Steph Sale, Kerrie Parsons, Tamsin Lansdowne, Rachel Johnson, Amber Walker, Hannah Johnson. Subs: Lauren Campbell, Jenni Beckett, Alice Latimer.

(Report by Patrick Higgins)

Photos by www.jamesprickett.co.uk:

(top) Claire Gilmour is held off by Rachel Johnson
(middle) Danni Ritson and Amber Walker in a chase for the ball
(bottom) Prince of Wales with the trophy

 
 

Women's Soccer Scene
Swansea spoil Met's party  
 Women's Football News 27 Apr 2015
 
Swansea City have made Cardiff Met Ladies wait before they are able to lift the Welsh Premier Women's League trophy after spoiling their party with a 1-0 victory on Sunday. 
 
The university side needed to avoid defeat in order to be crowned as Champions for the third time in four years but with eleven minutes remaining, Katy Hosford scored the only goal of the game to keep the Swans' slender hopes alive.
 
The result means that Swansea are confirmed as finishing in the top two and they can still catch Cardiff Met on points by winning their last two games, although it would have to be by an unlikely 38 goals if they are to land the title themselves.
 
Cardiff City FC ended their campaign with a 2-0 win away to Wrexham and could yet finish in the top three. The prolific Lisa Bird netted two first half goals to earn City a result which takes them in third, where they will end up unless PILCS win their final match.
 
Rhyl & Prestatyn finished up their first season in the league with their fifth victory, a 3-1 success at Cwmbran Celtic. Tonicha Dickens gave Rhyl a first half lead which was cancelled out after the half hour by Nia Davies, before an own goal put the visitors back in front midway through the second half and Laura Williams wrapped up the win with the third goal.
 
Llandudno also made sure that their campaign went out on a high note, they won 2-1 away to Aberystwyth Town thanks to goals from Rosie Hughes and Jordanne Greenough. 
 
Photo - Sophie Owen gets in a shot for Llandudno, past Ffion Wyn of Aberystwyth Town (www.atfc.org.uk).

 
 

Women's Soccer Scene
Ji and Leah win PFA awards  
 Women's Football News 26 Apr 2015
 
Chelsea midfielder Ji So Yun completed the major awards double on Sunday night when she was named as the 2015 PFA Women's Players' Player of the Year. 
 
The South Korean international had already won the FA Players' Player of the Year and the latest award brings reward for a very impressive debut season as Chelsea narrowly missed out on the FA WSL title last year, as well as recording four straight wins at the start of this season.
 
Arsenal starlet Leah Williamson was the winner of the PFA Women's Young Player of the Year, which caps a remarkable few weeks for the talented 18-year-old who hit the headlines around the world recently with her penalty against Norway for England Under-19s - five days after her original spot kick was ruled out for encroachment and a free kick wrongly awarded.
 
The PFA WSL Team of the Year was also announced and a wide selection of clubs had players named, with only one member of last season's title winning Liverpool squad included - Lucy Bronze. The team was as follows:
 
Carly Telford (Notts County)
Lucy Bronze (Liverpool - now Manchester City)
Emma Mitchell (Arsenal)
Rachel Corsie (Notts County - now Seattle Reign)
Casey Stoney (Arsenal)
Jill Scott (Manchester City)
Jo Potter (Birmingham City)
Ji So Yun (Chelsea)
Karen Carney (Birmingham City)
Eniola Aluko (Chelsea)
Nikita Parris (Everton - now Manchester City)

 
 

Women's Soccer Scene
Reds move into top half  
 Women's Football News 26 Apr 2015
 
Liverpool 2 (Oshoala 12, Smorsgard 57) Manchester City 1 (Parris 53)
Manchester City fell to their second successive defeat in the FA Women's Super League at the home of champions Liverpool, who recorded their second win of the season. 
 
Although the Blues had cancelled out Asisat Oshoala's opener through Nikita Parris, the hosts secured the win through Line Smorgard's 57th minute header at the Select Security Stadium to leapfrog their visitors in the table.
 
In truth, this defeat could have been heavier - if the home side were more clinical in front of goal. After the hosts had retaken their lead, they rarely looked like relinquishing it and once again, City were left to rue a lack of creativity in the final third.
 
Just a point separated the sides before kick off and there was little between the two in the first moments of the clash. Neither were able to retain possession in the opening exchanges, with Beattie's driven free kick the first real chance of the game.
 
The decisive moment of the first period occurred on twelve minutes when the visitors - possibly unsighted by the sunlight - failed to clear a Liverpool corner and Oshoala, lurking at the back post, was on hand to bundle the ball home for her second of the season.
 
City responded well to falling behind but struggled to create any clear cut chances. Nikita Parris and Toni Duggan both tried their luck from range to no avail, with their efforts lacking the pace and accuracy to trouble Libby Stout in the Reds goal.
 
As was the case last weekend, Nick Cushing's side were found lacking in the final third and were unable to dominate possession the way they had in previous games. Liverpool meanwhile - Oshoala in particular - looked a constant threat on the counter attack.
 
The disappointment of the first 45 minutes was summed up moments before the break when Duggan blazed over a first time shot after the ball - for once - had fallen kindly in and around the box.
 
After the restart and with their manager's half-time team talk fresh in their minds, City started brightly and sought a more direct approach - and it paid off with the equaliser. It was the in-form Parris who scored it on 53 minutes and she certainly enjoyed her fifth of the season. City were awarded a free kick in a dangerous position after Natasha Harding was felled and Issy Christiansen executed the perfect delivery for Parris to head into the back of the net, much to the Everton loanee's delight.
 
Christiansen could have turned the game on its head moments later but, as Duggan had in the first half, blasted over the bar. The respite didn't last long though as Liverpool rallied and regained their advantage through a header of their own, as Smorsgard rose to meet Oshoala's cross.
 
Matters could have been made worse for City shortly after when Oshoala combined well will Fara Williams, only for the latter to shoot straight at Brooks. Minutes later, she would repeat that feat, forcing the young shot stopper to gather at the second attempt.
 
Smorsgard then almost netted her second of the evening but volleyed Martha Harris' delivery wide as the hosts' search for a two-goal cushion continued.
 
In a bid to rescue the game for his side, Cushing introduced Steph Houghton and Natasha Flint into the fray but although it was a real positive to see the skipper back in action, neither could inspire their side to find another leveller. Parris went closest to clinching one with three minutes of normal time remaining but her half volley flew just wide. 
 
Liverpool: Libby Stout, Martha Harris, Satara Murray, Gemma Bonner, Corina Schroder (sub Ingrid Ryland 60mins), Becky Easton, Asisat Oshoala, Fara Williams, Kate Longhurst (sub Katrin Omarsdottir 70mins), Line Smorsgard (sub Nicole Rolser 78mins), Natasha Dowie. Subs not used: Danielle Gibbons, Katie Zelem. 
 
Manchester City: Alex Brooks, Lucy Bronze, Abbie McManus (sub Steph Houghton 60mins), Kathleen Radtke, Demi Stokes, Jennifer Beattie, Natasha Harding, Issy Christiansen, Krystle Johnston (sub Natasha Flint 70mins), Toni Duggan, Nikita Parris. Subs not used: Karen Bardsley, Chelsea Nightingale, Emma Lipman, Georgia Brougham, Sarah Wiltshire.

Attendance: 1,022

(Report by www.fawsl.com)

 
 

Women's Soccer Scene
Katie gives Chelsea fourth straight win  
 Women's Football News 26 Apr 2015
 
Birmingham City 0 Chelsea 1 (Chapman 9)
Chelsea kept up their winning start to the season after an early goal from Katie Chapman was enough to give them a 1-0 victory at the Autotech Stadium in a game of few chances. 
 
The league leaders started the game brightly but it was a mistake by the home side which led to them taking the lead after nine minutes. Rebecca Spencer's pass was intercepted by Gemma Davison whose shot was parried around the post for a corner. The resulting kick was not cleared by the Birmingham defence and Chapman hooked the ball over the defence and Spencer to give her side the lead.
 
Jo Potter lifted a free kick over the bar at the other end but Chelsea's high pressing game was causing problems for the home defence and forced them to give away possession on a number of occasions. However, Chelsea were finding it hard to create any clear cut opportunities despite some promising situations.
 
Chelsea were looking at their most dangerous at set pieces and it took a good block by Meaghan Sargeant to deny Drew Spence as she pounced on a loose ball in the area. Moments later, Eniola Aluko played a great crossfield pass into the path of Davison who drove into the area but Spencer did well to keep out her shot with an outstretched leg.
 
Ji So Yun was narrowly off target with a free kick from 25 yards as Chelsea took their one-goal lead into the interval.
 
Birmingham made a double substitution at half time with Freda Ayisi and Karen Carney both making their returns to the side after spells out. Ayisi saw a shot charged down by the excellent Chapman but once again Birmingham struggled to break down a well drilled Chelsea defence.
 
At the other end, Niamh Fahey met a Ji corner with a diving header which was just wide but they were also making little impression going forward as the game became increasingly scrappy.
 
Another corner nearly led to Chelsea doubling their lead, Ji's kick was headed across goal by Millie Bright for Gilly Flaherty whose shot on the turn came back off the post.
 
Ayisi had a deflected shot saved by Hedvig Lindahl and although Birmingham introduced Kirsty Linnett as an extra striker, chances stayed at a premium at either end.
 
Chelsea successfully ran down the clock, including three late substitutions, to complete a hard earned win and preserve their two-point lead at the top. 
 
Birmingham City: Rebecca Spencer, Abbey Leigh Stringer (sub Karen Carney 45mins), Jess Carter, Meaghan Sargeant, Aoife Mannion, Kerys Harrop, Melissa Lawley, Remi Allen (sub Kirsty Linnett 75mins), Emily Westwood (sub Freda Ayisi 45mins), Jade Moore, Jo Potter. Subs not used: Sophie Baggaley, Alex Windell, Coral-Jade Haines.

Chelsea: Hedvig Lindahl, Ana Borges, Claire Rafferty, Millie Bright, Gilly Flaherty, Niamh Fahey, Gemma Davison (sub Jackie Groenen 80mins), Katie Chapman, Eniola Aluko, Ji So Yun (sub Marija Banusic 90mins), Drew Spence (sub Laura Coombs 88mins). Subs not used: Marie Hourihan, Hannah Blundell, Jodie Brett, Anne Meiwald.

Attendance: 601

Photos:

(top) Ana Borges in pursuit of Melissa Lawley
(middle) Claire Rafferty takes on Meaghan Sargeant
(bottom) Aoife Mannion slides in to tackle Eniola Aluko


 
 

Women's Soccer Scene
Natalia at the double in Arsenal win  
 Women's Football News 26 Apr 2015
 
Arsenal 4 (Natalia 5,pen 72, Humphrey 77, Carter 85) Sunderland 1 (Mead 24)
Natalia Pablos Sanchon scored twice as Arsenal overcame Sunderland in their first ever WSL match against the newly promoted side. 
 
Her first was a curling effort from out wide before she doubled her tally from the spot after Abby Holmes earned herself a red card for hacking down Kelly Smith. Beth Mead scored inbetween the Arsenal forward's goals, only the third goal the hosts have conceded all season. With the visitors down to ten, Carla Humphrey tapped in a close range shot before Danielle Carter fired home from long range to wrap up all three points.
 
Natalia opened the scoring after five minutes, cutting into the box and delicately whipping the ball in just inside the far post. Arsenal looked comfortable but things deteriorated when their captain Alex Scott had an uncharacteristic lapse in concentration allowing Mead to sneak in and equalise.
 
The hosts came out strongly in the second half and took the lead when Smith opened up the defence with some clever one-twos before being brought down by Holmes after 72 minutes. Natalia sent Rachael Laws the wrong way from the resulting kick before Carter's cross found Humphrey in space who tapped in soon after.
 
Carter fired in a powerful from 20 yards out late on to punctuate Arsenal's impressive second half display. 
 
Arsenal: Emma Byrne, Leah Williamson, Casey Stoney, Jemma Rose, Alex Scott, Vicky Losada, Jade Bailey, Lianne Sanderson (sub Kelly Smith 65mins (sub Emma Mitchell 76mins)), Chioma Ubogagu (sub Carla Humphrey 65mins), Natalia Pablos Sanchon, Danielle Carter. Subs not used: Hollie Augustus, Rachel Yankey, Caroline Weir, Chloe Kelly. 
 
Sunderland: Rachael Laws, Abby Holmes, Stephanie Bannon, Hayley Sharp, Victoria Williams, Keira Ramshaw (sub Emma Kelly 15mins), Sarah McFadden (sub Victoria Greenwell 62mins), Rachel Furness (sub Kelly McDougall 45mins), Abbey Joice, Brooke Chaplin, Beth Mead. Subs not used: Gemma Wilson, Natalie Gutteridge, Rebakah Bass, Alice Harkness.
 
Attendance: 815

(Report by www.fawsl.com)

Photo - Alex Scott up against Abbey Joice (Susan Gutteridge)


 
 

Women's Soccer Scene
Derby victory for leaders  
 Women's Football News 26 Apr 2015
 
Hibernian have gone three points clear at the top of the Scottish Women's Premier League after a 2-0 victory in the Edinburgh derby clash against Hearts. 
 
It was the first time the clubs have met at this level and goals from Lia Tweedie and Kirsty Smith gave Hibs their fourth straight victory at the start of the campaign.
 
Glasgow City sport the league's other 100% record and are in second place following their 12-0 win against Inverness City. It was a bittersweet day for the reigning Champions as they bade farewell to record goalscorer Suzanne Lappin, who marked her final appearance for the club by getting on the scoresheet, taking her career record to 231 goals in 259 appearances. Susan Fairlie led the scoring on the day with a four-goal haul and there was also one apiece from Lauren McMurchie, Courtney Whyte, Rhonda Jones, Abbi Grant, Leanne Ross, Kerry Montgomery and Erin Cuthbert.
 
Celtic notched up a 4-0 victory away to Forfar Farmington and sit in third place. Ruesha Littlejohn bagged a hat-trick, including a spectacular 40-yard strike, and Sam McManus added the other goal as the Ghirls recorded their third league win in a row.
 
Rangers had started the day in second place but went down to their first defeat of the season, beaten 2-0 at home by Aberdeen. Rachael Small capped a great result for the Dons by scoring a goal in each half - the first league goals that Rangers have conceded this season.
 
Spartans bounced back from defeat seven days earlier to score ten times without reply against Hutchison Vale. Louise Mason, Sarah Ewens and Alana Marshall all netted doubles and they were joined on the scoresheet by Ciara Barnes, Michelle Russell, Kirsty McLaughlin and Ronaigh Douglas.
 
It was a red letter day for Stirling University as they recorded their first ever Premier League victory, 3-1 against Hamilton Academical. Nicole Pullar was on target twice, with the other goal coming from Jill Paterson. 
 
Photo - Glasgow City bosses Carol Anne Stewart and Laura Montgomery make a presentation to Suzanne Lappin (Andy Buist).

 
 

Women's Soccer Scene
Yeovil keep up winning run  
 Women's Football News 26 Apr 2015
 
Yeovil Town 4 (Yorston 17, Heatherson 63,65, Hinchcliffe 83) London Bees 0
Ann Marie Heatherson grabbed a double as Yeovil Town made it three wins on the spin in FA WSL 2 with a four-star display against London Bees. 
 
The Lady Glovers made the breakthrough on 17 minutes when Corinne Yorston converted from the penalty spot after Heatherson had been felled in the area by Bees keeper Imogen Riches.
 
On the stroke of half time, Yeovil were awarded a second spot kick when Heatherson was upended by Aoife Hurley. However, this time, Riches denied Yorston with a fine reflex save.
 
The Bees made a positive start to the second half, as Gemma Fraser forced a save from Charlotte Haynes in the opening minute. The visitors threatened an equaliser four minutes later through a low drive from Cheryl Williams which narrowly missed the target.
 
Lady Glovers substitute Alys Hinchcliffe set up Heatherson for Yeovil's second on 65 minutes. Heatherson then completed her brace four minutes later with a fine individual effort from the edge of the area to extend Yeovil's lead to three.
 
The Bees were denied a consolation on 79 minutes when Fraser has a goalbound shot blocked by Nicola Cousins and with seven minutes remaining, Alys Hinchcliffe slotted home the Lady Glovers' fourth as they extended their winning run to three matches. 
 
Yeovil Town: Charlotte Haynes, Nicola Cousins, Ellie Isaac (sub Ebony Dover 82mins), Natalie Haigh, Helen Bleazard, Stephanie Williams, Paige Stewart (sub Amy Wathan 72mins), Ellie Curson, Corinne Yorston, Natasha Knapman (sub Alys Hinchcliffe 62mins), Ann Marie Heatherson. Subs not used: Shauna Cossens, Stacey Pearson, Jordan Guard. 
 
London Bees: Imogen Riches, Billie Brookes, Jade Dempster, Aoife Hurley, Paula Howells; Paige Wakefield, Gemma Fraser, Ashleigh Goddard, Rebecca Anderson, Laura Nicol (sub Sydney Hinchcliffe 82mins), Cheryl Williams (sub Lucy Loomes 72mins). Subs not used: Katherine Huggins, Hannals Samuela.

Attendance: 407

(Report by www.fawsl.com)


 
 

Women's Soccer Scene
Everton win at Watford  
 Women's Football News 26 Apr 2015
 
Watford 1 (Dear 61) Everton 3 (Magill 44, M.Turner 47, Whipp 75)
Watford were defeated 3-1 by a strong Everton side on Sunday, the Golden Girls' first loss at Berkhamsted in five games. 
 
It was an even contest through much of the first half but Simone Magill's goal on the stroke of half time changed the complexion of the game. Millie Turner doubled the lead early on after the break but Jenna Dear then gave Watford a way back into the match. However Lucy Whipp's superb strike sealed the three points for the visitors.
 
The first chance of the game fell to the Lady Hornets, a poor clearance from Everton goalkeeper Megan Walsh found Kim Farrow, who then shot narrowly wide from 25 yards. Shayla Burgess was called into action for the first time shortly after, a strike from Whipp was heading into the bottom left corner but she was denied by a great fingertip save.
 
Emily Heaslip picked up a knock with half an hour played which forced Watford into a reshuffle, Ellie Butterwick came on, with Hollie Wride moving to the right.
 
After 39 minutes, there had only been a handful of opportunities but the last six minutes of the half proved frantic. Dear looked to have played the perfect pass through to Kate Natkiel, however the linesman raised his flag in a very tight offside call. Only a minute later, Shayla Burgess was proving her worth again, this time with arguably even a better save to deny Kelly Jones.
 
The ball then went down the other end, some neat play between Stacie Donnelly and Natkiel ended with the latter finding a yard of space before testing Walsh in the Everton goal.
 
With only a minute of the half remaining, the crucial breakthrough came. Magill, who was in space six yards out could hardly miss and didn't, despite the best efforts of Shayla Burgess, who managed to get a hand to the shot. While it had been an even half for the majority, the Toffees' performance in the last five minutes saw them have the upper hand at the interval.
 
Shortly into the second half, they doubled their lead. The ball was cleared from a corner but Lindsay Johnson sent a cross back in, finding Millie Turner who powered a header home to make it 2-0.
 
Despite the setback, heads didn't drop as Watford looked to find a way back into the game, good work from Natkiel resulted in a corner for the hosts. From that, the deficit was halved. Dear sent in a teasing delivery right under Walsh which the keeper fumbled over the line.
 
The two-goal advantage could have been restored only 60 seconds later but the visitors were denied yet again by a fantastic save from Shayla Burgess, probably the best of her splendid afternoon.
 
Watford were putting pressure on the Everton defence as they looked to find an equaliser but they were proving to be stern opposition.
 
With a quarter of an hour to go, the away side got their third. Whipp cut inside before sending an unstoppable shot into the top left hand corner.
 
Dear almost got a goal back yet again in stoppage time, however on this occasion Walsh managed to hold on to her testing effort from distance. The full time whistle went and while it was a decent performance from those in a yellow shirt, there could be few arguments about the direction the points were heading in. 
 
Watford: Shayla Burgess, Emily Heaslip (sub Ellie Butterwick 29mins), Mollie Burgess, Leighanne Robe, Grace Gillard, Hollie Wride (sub Dawn Mallett 70mins), Josie Green, Stacie Donnelly, Jenna Dear, Kate Natkiel, Kim Farrow (sub Ellie Mason 45mins). Subs not used: Sasha Adamson, Maddie Scheffer. 
 
Everton: Megan Walsh, Vicky Jones, Lindsay Johnson, Gabby George, Danielle Turner, Emily Hollinshead (sub Megan Alexander 61mins), Millie Turner, Michelle Hinnigan, Lucy Whipp, Simone Magill (sub Claudia Walker 81mins), Kelly Jones (sub Paige Williams 58mins). Subs not used: Kirstie Levell, Ellie Stewart, Dani Young.

Attendance: 292

(Report by www.fawsl.com)

 
 

Women's Soccer Scene
Millwall and Durham end goalless  
 Women's Football News 26 Apr 2015
 
Millwall Lionesses 0 Durham Women 0
It ended goalless at the Den - Durham's first draw of the FA WSL 2 season - despite a second half in which both sides created chances to win it. 
 
In a quiet opening half, Durham started the stronger of the two young sides. Jemma Purfield got the first shot away with a stinging effort that Millwall keeper Sarah Quantrill saved after a deflection. Durham continued their early domination and on 18 minutes Beth Hepple came close to breaking the deadlock, firing a dangerous long range effort which grazed the top of the crossbar.
 
Millwall needed to get to grips with the game and didn't want to go behind and were unfortunate not to go in front 20 minutes later when Chelsea loanee Rosella Ayane latched onto a wonderful pass from Naomi Cole, in her new role in the centre of the midfield, but Ayane narrowly missed the Durham goal from a tight angle and an onrushing Alderson.
 
Millwall started the second half brightly coming straight out of the blocks, having attack after attack with no reward. The best falling to midfielder Ciara Sherwood who shot just wide from a half volley outside the box before stinging the goalkeeper's gloves again six minutes later.
 
Both sides had chances inside the final fifteen minutes but the contest ended goalless - Millwall's fourth draw in five WSL 2 games.

Millwall Lionesses: Sarah Quantrill, Frankie Strugnell, Dionne Lennon, Jordon Butler (sub Grace Fisk 74mins), Leanne Cowan, Naomi Cole, Dani Carlton, Ciara Sherwood (sub Lily Agg 63mins), Rinsola Babajide (sub Megan Goss 83mins), Lillie Billson, Rosella Ayane. Subs not used: Lilli Maple, Francesca Ali, Francesca Gibbs. 
 
Durham Women: Helen Alderson, Jess Havelock, Jen Jennings, Julie Nelson, Sarah Wilson, Ellie Christon, Beth Hepple, Emily Scott (sub Lauren Jordinson 72mins), Jemma Purfield (sub Courtney Corrie 83mins), Becky Beech (sub Jordan Atkinson 59mins), Amelia Pereira. Subs not used: Vic Linsley, Anna Moorhouse.

(Report by www.fawsl.com)

 
 

Women's Soccer Scene
County record first win in style  
 Women's Football News 26 Apr 2015
 
Bristol Academy 2 (Ingle 51, Watts 55)
Notts County 5 (A.Whelan 13, Williams 32,78, F.Whelan 34, Greenwood pen 89)

Notts County notched up their first victory of the WSL 1 season with a commanding win against managerless Bristol Academy at Stoke Gifford. 
 
The home side went into the game under the guidance of caretaker manager Lauren Smith and the early signs were good as Academy looked lively going forward with Loren Dykes looking sharp on the left.
 
County did have the first attempt on goal with Danielle Buet shooting wide but Academy responded well with another Dykes run culminating with Sophie Ingle bringing out a save from Carly Telford.
 
Telford needed to be alert to make a smothering save at the feet of Nikki Watts whilst at the other end, Mary Earps saved a Buet free kick at full stretch after it had skipped dangerously off the wet surface.
 
County opened the scoring with a superb passing move which started right from the back, initiated by Laura Bassett. Leanne Crichton exchanged passes with Jess Clarke and found Ellen White, whose pass released Aileen Whelan in space on the left. Whelan cut inside a challenge from Frankie Brown before burying her shot past Earps and into the corner of the net.
 
The visitors began to take control of matters and almost doubled their lead when Buet's free kick was glanced goalwards by White but Dykes was well placed to clear off the line.
 
The pressure eventually told and this time Aileen Whelan turned provider for the second goal, clipping a cross into the area where Rachel Williams swept the ball home on the volley.
 
Before Academy could recover, they found themselves three goals behind. After conceding a free kick near the touchline, Alex Greenwood's cross picked out Fern Whelan who rose highest to power a firm header past Earps.
 
Academy tried to hit back with Grace McCatty's pass finding Dykes in the area but her low shot was well saved by Telford and County took their three-goal lead going into the interval.
 
The home side came out for the second half in determined fashion and a defensive error quickly brought them back into the game. There seemed no initial danger to County from Earps' long clearance but Bassett and Fern Whelan crashed into each other when trying to clear, Watts picked up the loose ball and squared for Ingle to slot the ball past Telford.
 
Suddenly Academy grew in confidence and just four minutes later, Angharad James crossed from the left, the County defence could not clear and Watts took one touch before drilling her shot beyond Telford's dive and into the far corner of the net.
 
The spirited fightback lifted the home crowd and with Christie Murray also looking lively up front, the possibility of an equaliser became a real prospect. However, County rode out the storm without any more major scares before dealing a devastating blow with twelve minutes remaining.
 
Greenwood had had an excellent match at the back and made an interception to drive down the left before picking out Williams with an inch perfect pass in the area, the striker's first touch was an assured one and she planted her shot past Earps to restore the two-goal advantage.
 
Clarke hit the side netting after bursting down the right and White shot straight at Earps following more good work by Greenwood but the Lady Pies crowned the win as injury time approached. Academy looked to have averted the initial danger but as Brown went to clear, Aileen Whelan nipped to take the ball away and was brought down by the defender's attempted clearance. A penalty was awarded and Greenwood stepped up to thump her shot into the roof of the net to put the seal on a good night for Rick Passmoor's side. 
 
Bristol Academy: Mary Earps, Frankie Brown, Loren Dykes, Jaz Matthews, Grace McCatty, Sophie Ingle, Angharad James, Hayley Ladd (sub Gabriella Bird 87mins), Christie Murray, Nikki Watts, Georgia Evans. Subs not used: Izzy Dalton, Sharla Passariello, Alex Hurst, Alice Evans.

Notts County: Carly Telford, Amy Turner, Alex Greenwood, Danielle Buet, Fern Whelan, Laura Bassett, Jess Clarke (sub Sophie Walton 81mins), Rachel Williams (sub Dunia Susi 89mins), Ellen White, Aileen Whelan, Leanne Crichton. Subs not used: Fiona O'Sullivan, Laura-Jayne O'Neill.

Attendance: 520

Photos:

(top) Laura Bassett is pursued by Christie Murray
(middle) Aileen Whelan tries to get away from Angharad James
(bottom) Jess Clarke takes on Frankie Brown


 
 

Women's Soccer Scene
Belles edge out determined Villa  
 Women's Football News 26 Apr 2015
 
Doncaster Rovers Belles 2 (Sweetman-Kirk 44, England 75) Aston Villa 1 (Cottam 81)
Goals from Courtney Sweetman-Kirk and Bethany England got Doncaster Rovers Belles back to winning ways after a draw with Everton last time out and returned Glen Harris' side to the top of the FA WSL 2 table at the Keepmoat Stadium. 
 
Aston Villa replied through Abi Cottam's sublime half volley but could not find a late equaliser as Nicola Hobbs starred with a string of good saves.
 
Hobbs showed excellent reflexes on 35 minutes to keep out Katie Wilkinson's point blank header, before Emily Roberts nodded Sue Smith's cross against the crossbar five minutes later. Sweetman-Kirk opened the scoring though from another Smith cross a minute before the break.
 
The striker then slipped after rounding Villa keeper Caitlin Leach on 57 minutes, but was instrumental as she teed up Smith to cross for England's header to the far post with 15 minutes to go.
 
Villa deservedly pulled a goal back as Cottam steered a superb effort past Hobbs from 20 yards, before the finale was marred by a late injury to visiting midfielder Kerri Welsh, who was carried off on a stretcher.
 
Doncaster Rovers Belles: Nicola Hobbs, Lyndsey Cunningham, Rhiannon Roberts, Leandra Little, Hope Knight (sub Samantha Tierney 60mins), Sophie Barker, Kasia Lipka, Bethany England, Emily Roberts (sub Reanne Thomas 90mins), Courtney Sweetman-Kirk, Sue Smith. Subs not used: Danielle Hill, Molly Johnson, Molly Shorey, Holly Housley, Nicole Dale.

Aston Villa: Caitlin Leach, Elisha N'Dow, Jade Richards, Maisie Baker, Laura Cooper (sub Olivia Fergusson 45mins), Maddy Cusack, Katy Moran, Kerri Welsh (sub Lauren Haynes 87mins), Hannah George, Abi Cottam, Katie Wilkinson. Subs not used: Hayley Crackle, Sherry McCue, Emily Owen, Beth Merrick, Jess Myers.

Attendance: 262

(Report by www.fawsl.com)


 
 

Women's Soccer Scene
Coundon court success in second season  
 Women's Football News 26 Apr 2015
 
Coundon Court have marked their second season in senior women's football by landing the Birmingham County Women's League Division One title and promotion to the top division. 
 
The side is managed by Barry Morris, supported by Dave Bramley and Ben Isaac.  After good success at junior level over eight years, culminating in winning the CWGFL Under-16 Premier league title two years ago, Barry took the decision to take the majority of the squad straight to ladies football. This means that the squad is a very young one with an average age still only just over 18 and half - all the experience coming from the only player over 21, Alison Cropper! 
 
"Our commitment to youth is unquestioned with 18 of the 21 players having come through the club's junior ranks and the Youth and Ladies teams train together every week," Barry told Women's Soccer Scene. "The management being determined to give every opportunity to the club's junior players to play open age football.
 
"Having finished second and gained promotion in our first taste of Open Age football, we went one better this year by pipping last year's champions Stourbridge to the title in a thrilling finish.  Both teams were battling it out at the top of the table from the opening game of the season and after losing to a last minute goal against Stourbridge in the home fixture in March, we knew only a win would do when the two sides met in the last and title-deciding game of the season. 
 
"Skipper Hannah Roxburgh (18), who was playing her 200th game for her only club, typified the determination within the squad and we gave an outstanding performance to thoroughly deserve a 2-0 win. Lois Jeffries (17) scored both goals taking her tally to 31 in 16 games. The front three, including Leigh Peers (18) and Cerys Miller (16) have terrorised defences this season, scoring 69 goals.      
 
"It has been a true squad effort though, conceding just eight goals in the league despite a number of injuries affecting our back line.  There were many highlights during the season, perhaps the  best being a 15-minute spell at Black Country Belles where our title challenge had slipped the previous season. Having gone behind early in the game, we responded brilliantly with a four-goal blast playing the fast, attacking football we encourage throughout the club.  
 
"We also have a Cup Final to look forward to, having knocked out two Premier Division sides along the way, our best performance of the season coming in the quarter finals of the competition where we ran out 4-0 winners at Rugby Town, a 25-yard free kick by Tash Miles proving a real highlight."
 
Coundon Court was founded in 2002 and is an FA Charter Standard Community Club, having won many awards from the Birmingham County and even a Club of the Year title from the FA in 2008. The club currently boasts 9 boys teams, 8 girls teams and 3 disability teams and believe their girls section, with over 115 registered players, to be the biggest in the Birmingham County area. 

 
 

Women's Soccer Scene
We talk to...Joelle Murray (Hibernian)  
 Women's Football News 24 Apr 2015
 
Hibernian have got off to a good start in the Scottish Women's Premier League, winning each of their opening three league games and reaching the semi finals of the Premier League Cup with a penalty shootout win over neighbours Spartans. 
 
We talked to Hibs captain Joelle Murray, who praised her team's character during the Spartans victory and insisted that they are ready to mount a title challenge this season: 
 
Well done on winning on Sunday, was it as nerve wracking as the scoreline suggests?
Thanks, it was a very tense game. We had a lot of chances, hitting the bar twice but we couldn't seem to convert those chances into goals. I have to admit that I thought it was going to be one of those days where nothing would go in for us, until Lucy rose high above everyone else with a few minutes to go to equalise and take the game to penalties.

Was the win even more pleasing, seeing you had to come from behind on two occasions?
It showed great character to come from behind twice. We need to have the right mentality and mind set to play regardless of the scoreline and I think that was evident on Sunday. We continued to play good football throughout the 90 minutes and extra time and eventually secured our semi final place.

You have added new players to the squad since the end of last season, how have they been settling in so far?
The new signings have been fantastic, in women's football you tend to know everyone. A few of our players had played with the girls at national level or with them at the national performance centre so it was a very easy transition for them moving from their previous club to ours. The girls have added a much needed strength and depth to the squad, we now have competition in every position which was lacking last season.

Has it been a little frustrating that breaks for international matches have made it a 'stop start' beginning to the season?
The beginning of the season hasn't been ideal with international breaks and Champions League breaks and it's been hard to build any sort of momentum. However we now have a good run of games coming up where we can look to continually improve and build/grow as a team.

You made an improvement last year and went close to second place, what do you think is a realistic aim for Hibs this season?
We want to win the league, that's always our aim. I feel we have the quality to be up there challenging this season and will do everything we can to make that possible. The talent and desire in this team is incredible and we are all working towards the same goal.

This week you have another Edinburgh derby, this time against Hearts, how much are you looking forward to this fixture?
The Edinburgh Derby between Hibs and Hearts is probably more intensified and highlighted in the men's game opposed to the women's game. Being a Hibs fan it's always nice getting one up on Hearts at any level, however we will approach Sunday's game like any other and give them the respect they deserve.

Who do you think will be the main challengers to Glasgow City this season?
Other than us, I would like to think Rangers, Celtic, Spartans and Aberdeen will all be looking to compete.

 
 

Women's Soccer Scene
Gloucester City benefit from team effort  
 Women's Football News 24 Apr 2015
 

 
Gloucester City are looking forward to playing Premier League football for the first time next season after carrying off the South West League Premier Division title. 
 
The title success marks the end of what had a dark period in the club's history in which they were forced to look for a new home after their ground was a victim of severe flooding back in 2007 and the club was forced to pull out of the South West Combination and rebuild again at a lower level.
 
That rebuilding was completed this season when they won the league for the second time, after having only been promoted a year ago, under the managership of Jon Burnell and assisted by Steve Watson.
 
"One of our best performances was when we travelled to Torquay with a weakened side at the beginning of the season," says captain Helen Wood, who is a stalwart of the club. "We went a goal behind after having a goal disallowed and having a lot of the possession and better chances. We then ended up conceding again. We changed our formation and got it back to 2-2 then what we should of done it was settled for the draw but we tried to push on as we did we conceded again, with five minutes to go we continued to push and finally got the equaliser. At the end of the game it felt like a win, everyone worked their socks off on a really hot day.
 
"Emma Hart ended up playing in goal down at Torquay to help us out, she did such a good job she ended up staying in goal and helping the team so she played there for the rest of the season, but she is normally a defender! Had it not been for her going in goal, we would have struggled as we didn't have a keeper." 
 
A strong run either side of Christmas took Gloucester City clear at the top of the table, a lead that they never relinquished. "Losing 2-1 to Swindon Spitfires was disappointing as we played well and took the lead from a free kick, after half time we didn't get started and ended up losing," recalls Helen. "We made it to the semi finals of the Pat Sowden Cup against Torquay and unfortunately lost 3-2 after going down 3-0, we put up a good fight but just couldn't find that equaliser.
 
"Obviously an important game was our last home game of the season against Bristol Ladies Union and we knew it wasn't going to be an easy game, as we had to win or draw to win promotion. We started brightly having the early chances, hitting the post and then there was a blow as BLU scored! For the rest of the game, up until the last ten minutes, both teams were getting chances but I didn't think it was going to be our day. Ten minutes from the end we had a free kick which was put into the box and headed in, back on level terms, only to concede three minutes later to a free kick that we didn't clear and BLU scored from. Luckily for us we went straight back up the other end to score and all we had to do was hold on.
 
"I'm not sure how but we managed to break, a ball got played over the top and Jodi Hennessey finished it, now we were winning 3-2. We knew there wasn't long left so kept killing the game, the final whistle went and everyone was over the moon as we were promoted. It was nice to win promotion on our results and not having to wait for others to see if we won it.
 
"Every one of the girls played there part this season but it's not what just happens on the pitch its off it to. Danni Whitmore and Sam Morris have worked extremely hard off the pitch by bringing in a lot of sponsorship to buy new bags, training kit and home strip. This has made us look the part. 
 
"Also Laura Stephens who makes the games possible by arranging officials and pitch along with doing all the  paperwork and lastly Jon our manager who always comes to training and match days, he used to have a daughter that played although she doesn't anymore, but he continued to help us.  
 
"Jodi Hennessy has been our top scorer with 14 goals while Laura Meheran chipped in with 11 goals along with Laura Stephens with 10. 
 
"We are looking forward to playing in the Premier League next season. If you are interested in playing, we are always looking for new players, please e-mail gloucestercitylfc@hotmail.com.
 
"Lastly we are hosting our six-a-side tournament on 28th June. £25 entry will be a good day, closing date is 30th April. Please e-mail Laura Stephens on gloucestercitylfc@hotmail.com."

 
 

Women's Soccer Scene
Hull go one better with title success  
 Women's Football News 24 Apr 2015
 

 
Hull City have managed to gain promotion this season after losing out by one goal last season, which was very hard for the team to take, but they have come back stronger this year and got their rewards. 
 
After speaking with manager Rachel Gay, some of the key factors to the team's success this year has been the commitment and effort from everyone in the squad and behind the scenes.
 
"In previous years we have had coaches come and go," said Rachel, "but this season we have had a very dedicated, knowledgeable and passionate head coach in Danny Johnson, who has really got the players playing some good football. A very tough pre-season was well received by the players and also the new signings of goalkeeper Donna Nickolay, defender Megan Render and forward thinking midfielders in Katie Thompson and Sarah Owen were outstanding additions to the squad."
 
The season didn't start the best for the team who were favourites to go up, after losing twice in the space of five days against York City in early September, but since then, the team really came into their own and went through the remainder of the season unbeaten, but it wasn't all plain sailing for the Tigers as the club had been put through a lot this year, but this brought us even more togetherness, stronger and determined as a whole at the club. The manager's motto was "do the talking on the pitch and the rest will speak for itself" and that showed with a league record of 2 lost, 1 drawn and scoring more than 70 goals.
 
Manager Rachel Gay has ten years experience in management and knows how to get the best out of her players and is well respected in the area. Her professionalism is second to none and the club would not be where it is today without her. She has a great rapport with all at the club and she is incredibly proud of everyone involved and believes Hull now have the best backroom staff to take this club further and that the club's atmosphere is at an all time high and feels like an extended family and is looking forward to the new chapter ahead: "It was very frustrating for myself when the club was pulled through an unnecessary situation, but I am very proud of everyone on how they dealt with it and showed real professionalism and great attitude and just did the talking on the pitch. We have now moved on from that and learnt lessons and it made us all stronger and more together. It's a great club to be a part of.
 
"Just before Christmas, two tough trips away to Whitley Bay and Barnsley were the games that stick out in the mind, both games needed late crucial goals to take all three points and keep the league in our own hands. Our top goalscorer Rebecca Beech, who knocks in over 40 goals a season, was approached by WSL2 club Durham and she could not turn down that opportunity, but luckily for us we had a young striker waiting in the wings in Tonya Wild-Storr, who turned 16 in January and she stepped into the goalscoring boots of Beech with six goals on her debut for the first team and has continued to average out two goals a game since then. Towards the back end of the season it was a two horse race between Brighouse and Hull City and when the teams met in March it was a real six-pointer. That second half performance from Hull City was outstanding, everyone put their bodies on the line and we came out well deserved winners on the day, with Jo Symington scoring a couple of great goals to seal the victory. With five games remaining, the team were determined not to let it slip out of their hands again like last season and continued to pick up three points on offer each week.
 
"For the game against Wakefield away, we knew that we only needed a point to secure that top spot as our goal difference was far superior to anyone else in the league, but we went on and won that game 6-1 and we did a lot of celebrating afterwards. We still have Hessle Town left to play in our final league game of the season, so to win the league with a game to spare is a great achievement. We are also in the semi final of the League Cup, so we are certainly now looking for the double, naturally our main priority this year was promotion to the Women's Premier League, but to also win the league cup would be the icing on the cake. This year we also made it through to the Second Round proper of the FA Cup, which is the furthest the club has ever gone, beating two teams in the Premier League to get to that stage, which proves that we can take on higher division clubs.
 
"As regards to standout players this season, I truly believe that everyone who has put on the City kit has played a part in our most successful season to date, but the addition of Donna Nickolay in goal has been pivotal in our achievements, it is a specialised position and she has really made a difference to the team this year. Our defence has been very well organised and with our captain Charley McNamara playing just in front, she has been an absolute rock, breaking up the opposition play and the just doing the simple things right, she has been a real leader. We made Jo Symington our vice captain a few months into the season and she has also grown in confidence and has been so consistent in her performances. Likewise, Sarah Owen, our new signing this year, she is a very experienced and professional player and all the younger players have certainly had someone to look up to. Zoe Mitchell and Tonya Wild-Storr up front, in the absence of Beech have really made a big impact, they have scored some fantastic goals and are lightning fast up front, combining very well for the last part of the season, but it truly has been a squad effort.
 
"Not only was our first team successful, we set up a Development team, which turned out a success as it certainly has done its job on bringing young talent through and may it continue. We now look forward to moving up to the Premier League and will ensure that we have a good pre-season under our belt and are fully prepared for the challenge ahead."

 
 

Women's Soccer Scene
Oxford hold Reading to draw  
 Women's Football News 24 Apr 2015
 
Reading FC Women 2 (Bruton pen 16,73) Oxford Utd 2 (Hines 6,72)
Reading moved back to the top of the WSL 2 table despite a frustrating but exciting 2-2 draw with Oxford Utd at the Rushmoor Community Stadium on a lovely spring evening under the floodlights. 
 
Oxford took a shock early lead on six minutes when a Katie Stanley corner was punched clear by Reading Keeper Grace Moloney, only for the ball to fall to the feet of Holly Pickett, who lofted the ball over the crowd for Kayliegh Hines to nod in from right on the line. Reading were back on level terms via a Lauren Bruton penalty that was dispatched into the bottom corner, having been was bundled to the ground in the penalty area by U's defender Sahara Osborne-Ricketts on 16 minutes.
 
The second half saw the Royals take the game to Oxford Utd, who were penned back for long periods with numbers behind ball but they looked happy to defend a draw. But on 72 minutes Hines again was on the scoresheet as she found space for herself on the edge of the box fired home to make the score 2-1 against the run of play. The lead was short lived, as Lauren Bruton joined Hines with a brace of goals, finishing superbly from outside of the box.
 
From then on it was all Reading, with Lambourne in the Oxford goal keeping her team on level terms. Reading had several penalty appeals turned down in the second half for challenges on Bruton and Kirby. The Royals huffed and puffed in the final quarter of the game with Kirby also hitting the bar from a well struck free kick, but it wasn't to be as the U's held on for a point. 
 
Reading FC Women: Grace Moloney, Rebecca Jane, Kylie Davies, Molly Bartrip, Georgie Giddings, Emma Follis, Kirsty McGee (sub Lois Roche 74mins), Bonnie Horwood, Lauren Bruton, Helen Ward, Fran Kirby. Subs not used: Laura May Walkley, Bianca Bragg, Charlie Estcourt, Eloise Wilson, Rachel Rowe, Chloe Samson.

Oxford United: Demi Lambourne, Laura Nichol, Rosie Lane, Sahara Osborne-Ricketts, Isi Meade, Katherine Nutman, Katie Stanley, Kayleigh Hines, Hannah Jaadla, Holly Pickett (sub Laura Low 90mins), Lauren Allison (sub Ella Franklin-Fraiture 80mins). Subs not used: Hannah Cox, Amy Chivers, Lindsay Pinker, Helen King, Chloe Bruce.

Attendance: 282

(Report by www.fawsl.com)

 
 

Women's Soccer Scene
Edmondson leaves Bristol Academy  
 Women's Football News 23 Apr 2015
 
The Board of Bristol Academy has announced today that head coach, Dave Edmondson will leave the club with immediate effect. 
 
The decision was made following a meeting on Thursday that reviewed the Vixens' on-pitch performances and the aspirations of the club as a whole. The conclusion was at this point in time, the two aspects were not aligned and it was felt by both parties that a new coach should be appointed to deliver this vision.
 
BAWFC would like to place on record its sincere thanks to Dave for his efforts particularly for the wonderful memory of a UCL win over two legs against Barcelona in November.
 
Assistant first team coach, Lauren Smith will take over as interim head coach until a new manager has been appointed. She will be assisted by the club's goalkeeping coach, John Granville, former national team manager of Trinidad.
 
Simon Arnold, Chairman of Bristol Academy WFC said: "Success at Bristol Academy is judged by what happens within our whole Club, from the Centre of Excellence, Supporters Club, the match day experience, youth development and of course first team results.
 
"I think it is clear to everyone, we had started to lose our way and despite Dave's efforts we were seeing a decline in areas which need to be addressed sooner rather than later.
 
"It was a difficult decision for us as he is an honest, hardworking and talented coach but sometimes things just don't happen the way you want them to and we have no choice but to make a change.
 
"Dave goes with our thanks and we wish him all the very best in the future. We will now begin the task of selecting a successor and an announcement will take place when this has been completed."

 
 

Women's Soccer Scene
Coaching opportunities at Huddersfield  
 Women's Football News 23 Apr 2015
 
Huddersfield Town Ladies, who play in the FA Women's Premier League at open age and in the Sheffield & Hallamshire Girls Football League at junior level, are looking for suitably qualified coaches to work with both open age and junior players. 
 
The positions are voluntary and suitably qualified candidates (Level 2 minimum) would be required to commence with pre-season training in Summer 2015.
 
Any interested parties should submit a brief CV to the club Chairman David Mallin, e-mail dkmallin@sky.com.

 
 

Women's Soccer Scene
FA Festival a roaring success in Gloucestershire  
 Women's Football News 23 Apr 2015
 
Over 300 girls descended on Hartpury College this week to take part in a free FA Girls' Football Festival, aimed at increasing and retaining girls' participation in the game. 
 
The event was the third festival of 2015 and was organised through the support of the Gloucestershire County FA.
 
Girls aged between five and 16 years from various schools across the county were invited to test their skills in a range of activities combining football, fun and music. The festivals are a joint initiative by The FA and Continental Tyres, providing an exciting, interactive football experience for both those new to the game and regular players.
 
FA approved coaches led the event, with a number of FA staff and volunteers on hand to help out and referee. Sessions from the FA Skills team and Cheltenham Town FC included skills and drills, interactive games, mini matches and the ContiWarmUp Programme - the coaching programme from Continental Tyres endorsed by the FA.
 
Girls also chatted and enjoyed a kick-about with Mary Earps and Christie Murray from FA Women's Super League (WSL) 1 side Bristol Academy Women. The two ladies were on hand to discuss life as a semi-professional female footballer and give advice on how to get involved in the game.
 
Of the festival, Goalkeeper Earps said: "It's been fantastic, there are lots of lovely, enthusiastic girls here who clearly love football. To see them kicking a ball around in the sun and learning some new skills is great.
 
"The festival has a bit of everything for everyone with a speed cage, shoot outs and matches to hair braiding and face painthing. The festivals are a great opportunity for the girls to just enjoy the sport. This is exactly what I would have loved to do at their age."
 
Murray continued: "Hopefully, if they have a positive experience here, they'll find that it's something they want to pursue. We had nothing like this when I was young so I'm pretty jealous that they've got this but it's excellent to see how much they're enjoying it."
 
Polly Fildes, Women's Football National Project Officer for the FA, said: "Today has seen a fantastic FA Girls' Football Festival take place in the sun at Hartpury College. We had 36 schools take part today and getting this many girls attending the events shows the emphasis and commitment that the FA and Continental Tyres put into getting the message out that football isn't just for boys."
 
"Mary and Christie have been a real inspiration to the girls today and the variety of activities on offer has been great. At the festival, there are a number of exciting football-based activities, such as a speed cage and agility testing, on offer, as well as goalkeeping, refereeing and striking workshops. We also incorporate face painting, hair braiding and music to show that whatever your involvement in the sport, there is something for everyone. Our overall goal is to get all the girls that attend interested in, and playing, the beautiful game."
 
In addition to the activities available on the day, all festival attendees received a free ticket to a match at their local FA WSL club. Bristol's next game is on 25th April against Notts County at 6.30pm in Stoke Gifford Stadium. As well as this, attendees will get free child tickets for all WSL home games with a full paying adult.

 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
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