Brighton & Hove Albion 4 (Natkiel 40,67, Perry 72, Taylor 74)
Sporting Club Albion 2 (Dugmore 14, Clough 87)
att 648; at Wycombe Wanderers FC
Brighton & Hove Albion were crowned as Champions of the FA Women's Premier League after beating Sporting Club Albion in a thrilling play-off match at Adams Park.
Three goals in an eight minute spell during the second half tipped the game the way of the Seagulls who are now promoted to the FA WSL, subject to them meeting the necessary criteria.
The opening minutes of the game were understandably cautious as the two teams settled down and it was Sophie Perry who created the first opening for Brighton with a good run from deep before firing a shot over the bar.
Sporting began to look the more threatening though with Leigh Dugmore hooking in a cross for Abi Cottam who headed over at full stretch but four minutes later, the Northern Division Champions were in the lead.
A Summer Holmes corner had initially been cleared by the Brighton defence but Sporting won back possession and Paige Crossman centred for Dugmore to steer a header into the corner of the net from eight yards.
Sporting continued to look dangerous going forward and a good run by Cottam ended with her cutting the ball back to the edge of the area for Holmes who drove her shot wide. Amy Taylor headed wide from a Kate Natkiel cross at the other end but at this stage, Cottam was causing problems with her pace and strength and the striker almost doubled her side's lead with another run which took her past three players before her shot came back off the post.
Brighton weathered the storm with both Kirsty Barton and Vicky Ashton-Jones playing well although Sporting went close again when Dugmore could not quite direct a header on target. A minute later, Natkiel picked the ball up inside the Sporting half and evaded two challenges before unleashing a 25-yard shot which sailed into the top corner with Becky Thomas rooted to the spot, given no chance.
Hollie Olding fired a shot over a minute later but Brighton were back on terms as the teams went into the half time interval.
The first opportunity of the second half went the way of Sporting as a cross from Crossman reached the far post where Trina Greaves slid in but her effort was narrowly wide. Back came Brighton with a free kick just outside the area where Perry lifted her shot over the bar.
Brighton were starting to get on top with the pace of Natkiel and Lucy Somes a big threat and Taylor impressing with her hold-up play up front. Olding was to try her luck again with a shot from outside the area, a low, skidding effort which was parried by Thomas but Stephanie Smith did well to clear the rebound under pressure from Taylor.
Two minutes later, a Kelly Darby clearance was charged down by Taylor and broke kindly for Natkiel who ran through on goal and kept her cool to slide the ball past Thomas and into the corner of the net to put her side in front for the first time.
Another five minutes elapsed and Brighton had taken a firm grip on the game. The Seagulls were awarded a free kick in a similar position to that twenty minutes earlier and this time, Perry lifted her shot over the wall and inside the post to make it 3-1.
Sporting made a double substitution, including replacing a limping Cottam, to try and change things round but Brighton were rampant at this stage. Perry made her way down the left and got to the line where, under pressure from Dugmore, she whipped in a cross for a stooping Taylor to glance a header inside the far post and spark wild celebrations from her team.
The same combination led to another chance but this time, Taylor's header was saved by Thomas. Sporting continued to attack though and their efforts brought reward with three minutes remaining. Dugmore's cross was nodded down by Smith and Karen Clough reacted quickest to slot the ball home from close range.
Sporting did get the ball in the net again through captain Darby but the goal was ruled out for offside, even though the defender had appeared to have made a run from deep. They continued to try and press for another goal but Brighton stood firm to avoid any chance of a nervy finish and celebrations could finally begin.
Brighton & Hove Albion: Faye Baker, Charley Boswell, Sophie Perry, Charlotte Young, Catherine Cooper, Vicky Ashton-Jones, Lucy Somes (sub Ellie Dorey 79mins), Kirsty Barton, Amy Taylor (sub Lisa Fulgence 86mins), Hollie Olding (sub Danielle Rowe 90mins), Kate Natkiel. Subs not used: Phoebe Leitch, Nina Wilson.
Sporting Club Albion: Becky Thomas, Stephanie Smith, Sammy Conroy, Summer Holmes, Kelly Darby, Kelly Highman, Paige Crossman, Trina Greaves, Abi Cottam (sub Karen Clough 72mins), Leigh Dugmore, Hazzana Parnell (sub Billie Haynes 72mins). Subs not used: Charlotte Edmunds, Amy Dicken, Kate Wright.
(top) Leigh Dugmore heads Sporting Club Albion in front
(middle) Sophie Perry takes on Kelly Darby
(bottom) Celebration time for Brighton
Southampton Women are looking to a brighter future after starting their move back up the women's football pyramid with a title success.
A club which has won the FA Women's Cup eight times in their history, in recent seasons Southampton Women's Football Club had been fighting to remain in the Southern Region League due to struggling to muster 11 players each week, but since the arrival of Fran Alonso (First Team Technical Support Coach at Southampton FC) in December 2014 and his coaching team, the club has transformed.
Even though they did not play a league fixture until October, Southampton served notice early on that they were going to be a force with a good FA Cup run which only ended when beaten on penalties by London Corinthians. When their league campaign eventually began, Southampton won their first six games including a vital 2-0 success over Chesham Utd, who were the runaway leaders at that time.
Chesham did gain revenge in their return meeting but Southampton kept winning their games in hand and clinched the title with a 4-2 victory over Wycombe Wanderers, eventually finishing clear by a margin of five points.
It was nearly a double success for Alonso's side as they reached the League Cup Final but despite having much of the game against Oxford City, they were beaten 1-0 by a late penalty goal.
The team is captained by experienced midfielder Kirsty Bell, who has had a fine career in the women's game and is still playing well for her side. Talented winger Laura Gilbank was selected as the player of the season and leading scorer is Sheree Bell-Jack with 29 goals to her name.
SWFC have recently received sponsorship from Startland and have agreed a deal with Southampton Solent University to record all home matches as well as producing a movie about the club and its history.
Tranmere Rovers completed a successful battle against relegation on Sunday when they beat Chester-le-Street 6-2 to secure their place in Northern Division One next season.
We talked to Tranmere midfielder Faye Jones, who admitted that it had been a tough few weeks for the Birkenhead side who needed to play twelve league games from the beginning of April whilst clawing back a gap on the teams above them:
WSS: Congratulations on your successful fight against survival, what is your biggest emotion on staying up - delight or relief?
FJ: We obviously feel happy to have stayed up, but also extremely relieved! I don't think anybody ever believed we deserved to go down, but unfortunately we found ourselves in that position due to lots of reasons. A massive break in the season because of the weather, having to find a new home pitch just before Christmas, and playing so many games in such a short space of time did not help us at all, and we struggled to find any consistency. But, we managed to get the job done and that's the main thing! The girls are all made up.
WSS: Even though you had matters in your hands before the Chester-le-Street game, were there nerves amongst the team?
FJ: Yes, there were nerves amongst the team, and I think that was only natural. A lot of the players had never been in that situation before so it was hard, but everyone pulled together when it mattered which is the main thing.
WSS: Three wins in your last four games, has the team been showing its best form in the last few matches?
FJ: I think we have just taken our chances when it has really mattered. Throughout the season we have played games where we have played really well as a team, but just haven't been able to take our chances and score. Again, the stop-start season we have had hasn't helped us at all, so trying to find any sort of form has been hard. We played some good football towards the end of the season.
WSS: You have had to play twelve matches since the beginning of April, how tough has it been after falling so far behind with your fixtures?
FJ: Very! We don't have a huge squad, and when you are playing so many games in such a short space of time, it really tests everyone. You have less and less time to recover after any small knocks or injuries, which then sometimes become worse. It has been hard, but everyone pulled together when it really mattered and we just got on with it.
WSS: Rachel Rigby had a great day on Sunday and Charlotte Cloy has also done well, how important have their goals been for the team?
FJ: Charlotte has scored some really good goals for us this season. She is a player who can get you a goal out of nothing, and we haven't had any players like this for a while. Rachel was unfortunately injured towards the start of the season, after playing for the army, and we really missed her. However she certainly has found some form right at the end of the season, and has done really well. Hard work and determination has played a massive part in the team staying up.
WSS: How important do you feel it was for Tranmere Rovers to stay up this season?
FJ: Nobody ever wants to get relegated, and we are no different. Staying in the FA WPL is vital for us, as we work to bring our younger players through our teams so that they have something to aim for.
WSS: Tranmere have a very good history in the women's game, are you confident that the good times can return to the club in the future?
FJ: At the minute, we have great support from the football club which is fantastic. We always aim high, and hopefully with the backing of the club, the efforts of all of our players, and hard work helping develop our youth teams we can go far.
Our thanks to Faye!
Having finished runners-up in the North West League for the second successive season in 2014-15, it was all change at Crewe Alexandra.
Director of Football Nick Pearce stepped away from the First team manager position due to work commitments and looked to pass the role to his assistant manager Ian Wood. With Wood at first accepting the role and then changing his mind, Pearce approached first team coach John Evans and Liam Salt to take the role in a joint capacity. With Evans then leaving halfway through pre-season, Salt was told during a family holiday in Australia he was the new first team manager! Pearce returned to support Liam in an assistant manager's role and was soon joined by Jack Albanese to make the first team management team, joining as coach and sports analyst.
A very new look first team squad soon started to form with Liam promoting four under-21s into the first team and with good external work from Nick signing some fresh faces to the Crewe Alex outfit, things started to take shape. The management team soon started to shape the squad with trials and intense pre-season sessions working on fitness, strength and conditioning, technical work and also gelling the team as a unit. The pre-season friendlies soon started with mixed results as current players were playing in new positions, players settling in being promoted from the under-21s and also new signings externally becoming familiar with new players, coaches, methods and surroundings.
The League campaign kicked off at home to City of Manchester. A positive pre-season and hard work on and off the pitch shone through with an emphatic 4-1 win which put a statement out to the rest of the league, Crewe Alexandra Ladies were here and they meant business. At this moment in time the players and coaches did not know it, but, they had just started something special, something that will probably never replicate in any of their playing or coaching careers, a whole league and FA County Cup campaign undefeated.
The team pushed on through their next four games, winning all comfortably, scoring at will from the front line, the midfield battling and creating chances and the defence along with the Alex keeper not leaking many goals. The Alex ladies' first true test came after six games in the form of Accrington Stanley at home. The Alex clinched a 3-2 win but were pushed all the way by another good footballing side.
The end of November and beginning of December saw two very big hurdles in the form of Blackburn Community at home followed by an away fixture on a very cold Sunday at Bolton Wanderers. On both occasions the club as a whole were galvanised and every single player and coach were there for the other through two very testing encounters. The home fixture versus Blackburn, although finished 3-1 was very close match, the Alex the team that took their chances and kept their nerve. The second of these two very testing matches put the Alex up against title chasers Bolton Wanderers who were also up to this point unbeaten, with one draw against Burnley. After two minutes the Alex conceded from a Bolton corner and for the first 45 minutes the Alex were deservedly behind. After stern words in the dressing room and minor tactical adjustments, Crewe started to dominate and create chances and with 25 minutes remaining scored twice in eight minutes, one of the highlights of the season as celebrations on and off the pitch pictured just what this result meant in the grand scheme of things, final score 2-1.
The beginning of March also saw the next big challenge for the league title, a double header against Burnley. An extremely tense encounter saw the Alex leave it late twice but demonstrated the mentality that was instilled by the coaches 'never to give up' as CALFC won 1-0 and 2-0. One result flowed into the next and soon the Alex found themselves in the FA County Cup Final after dispatching Stockport County (who are a league above) and Ellesmere Port in both the quarter and semi finals, yet again scoring late in extra time taking them through to the Cup final in April versus Warrington Wolverines where the Ladies dominated even though going down to ten players after the first four minutes. The reds on the evening of the Cup Final were electric and finished with a mighty result of 5-1. Another massive result in the 2015/16 season and one which had all the club thinking 'we're nearly there' was the 1-1 home draw against Bolton Wanderers, after being a goal down before half time and equalising late on this again showed just what a hard working and close knit unit the first team are!
The Alex finished the season with some tricky away fixtures, Accrington, both Manchester teams, Blackburn and Blackpool, drawing 2 of these and finishing an amazing season at Blackpool inside of Bloomfield Road to win and finish on a high 2-1 winners, lifting both the League and Cup trophies as worthy winners.
The club's route of progression in terms of player development was evident through the season, none moreso than the last six games, where a number of U21 players were called up and slotted in seamlessly to help out with injuries and suspensions. This is a the foundation of the club with the aim to progress players internally through the ranks to play eventually for the first team and so far is working extremely well due to the hard work of not only the coaches but also players alike. The club is going from strength to strength and as it's now moving up to the third tier of the women's national game, has to find new and more sponsorship as it is a fully self sufficient club. Not only is the club looking for more sponsorship it's successfully making closer ties with Reaseheath College where their women's academy will now have direct links to the Crewe Alexandra Ladies Football Club and this will be another route in to playing at a very high standard of football.
The club would like to thank all that have helped in any capacity to date and they look forward to the new challenges that the 2016-17 season has to bring.
Pioneers, heroes and role models of the women's game are about to stand shoulder-to-shoulder again on 12 June 2016, this time against The FA Women's Premier League National Champions that will be crowned on 29th May following The FA WPL Championship Play Off Final between Brighton & Hove Albion and Sporting Club Albion at Wycombe Wanderers FC.
Current England assistant coach Marieanne Spacey, renowned goalkeepers Pauline Cope-Boanas and Rachel Brown-Finnis will take to the field along with a host of other Allstar legends to pull on their boots once again in aid of charity. The match will be played at Leamington FC (2pm kick off).
The FA Women's Premier League Charity Trophy is at stake, but there is more to the day than that; the feast of football will also raise funds and awareness for Breast Cancer Care.
"While there is an obvious serious side to the event, I'm sure the characters involved will make it a hugely enjoyable day for all involved," said FA WPL chairman Carol West.
"This charity match will see our National Champions play against proven stars of the past which is not only a great privilege for them but for the rest of us that will be at the match too.
"We are extremely proud to be able to bring some of the players who have represented England over the years back together for this event. They are responsible for moving the women's game on so much in this country to the position that we have today."
The Allstars line-up includes:
Clare Taylor MBE
Rachel Stowell (McArthur)
Admission is £3 adults, £1 U-16 and OAPsThe match is part of the FA Women's Premier League's 'QUIDDIE - Sound as a Pound' charity initiative, now in its second year. Breast Cancer Care is the FA's official charity partner.
AFC Bournemouth have followed up last season's title success by being crowned Champions of the Hampshire County Women's League Division Two.
The Cherries lifted the title after a close battle during the season with local rivals Bournemouth Sports and Gosport Borough, who ended up in third place. They were confirmed as Champions after beating QK Southampton 4-1 in their penultimate game of the season.
"The most important result was away at Gosport, where the ladies won 5-3," manager Vince Taylor told Women's Soccer Scene. "It was the best team effort of the season and, as the ladies had already lost 4-2 to Gosport, the result proved a springboard for the rest of the season.
"The best performance came in the game against Bursledon away, where we won 10-1. It was an awesome display of passing and movement."
Taylor was full of praise for his squad, including those who had been the leading scorers. "Goals have come from Justine Mosley (29), Gill Reynolds (20) and Paula Taylor (18); they are also the top three goalscorers in the league," he said.
"Off the pitch, Rachel Taylor, Jon Flynn and Raymond Payne have been instrumental in us winning the league and I don't think I could have done it without their support.
"On the pitch, always underestimated in my opinion, is the defence; if you don't concede goals you can't lose games. The back four of Jess Cook, Charlie Hall, Kate Flynn and captain Nicola Taylor have been ever present. A new midfield of Justine Mosley, Sammie Humphries and Danni Ormensher have worked really hard to protect the back four.
"In fact, it's hard not to pick anyone that hasn't done the job that was asked of them. Alisha Hogg stepped up to replaced the injured Leah Giles in goal and never put a foot wrong. Zoe Barton and Zoe Cranmer looked calm in midfield when asked to play there and have been great in raising team spirits when needed.
"Chloe Newton scored four in one game, and Sam Mosley, who has been injured for the whole season, has done a great job writing the match reports."
There's still a chance for your team to take part in the annual Watford Ladies 6-a-side Summer Tournament - one of the most popular events of its kind in the country.
Entry fees will be kept at £35 per team until the end of May so make sure you book your place now!
In the youth competitions, Under 12 and Under 14 age categories are already full but places are available in other age groups (U9,U10,U11,U13,U15,U16). In the youth categories the winning teams will receive a team trophy and all finalists will receive medals.
In Open Age (16+) there will be a CASH PRIZE for winners of Premier Cup and there is an additional competition called the Community Cup for teams knocked out of premier cup at early stage. All finalists will receive medals and winner of Premier Cup get the Cup and cash prize, and the winners of the Community Cup get the cup.
Please contact Tina Kenney (firstname.lastname@example.org) to be placed on the waiting list if your age group is full, or discuss options to play up an age category, or simply top let her know your entry is on its way. Find application and online booking details here: http://www.watfordladiesfc.com/summer-tournament.
Come and enjoy a great day of summer football on Saturday 18th June at Fullerians RFC, Watford, WD17 3PB.
Yeovil Town Intermediate have been crowned South West Women's League Eastern Division champions at the first attempt, as well as Somerset FA Junior Cup winners.
The team is superbly led by captain Hannah Eglon and vice captain Naomi Binding. Four of the team's players finished in the top ten scorers list for the division (Harriet King, Imogen Fisher, Olivia Watts and Colette Martin), with joint top scorers Harriet King and Colette Martin both finishing on 18 for the season.
Off the pitch, the team has had brilliant support from SSVCA (South Somerset Voluntary & Community Action) who supply transport for their away games (@ssvca1 on Twitter), and from Groundworx Solutions who sponsored the team this year.
"I am so proud of the team's achievements this year," manager Wesley Gullin told Women's Soccer Scene. "It was a difficult step up from Somerset County League football and there are some fantastic footballing sides in the South West Eastern Division such as Poole Town and Keynsham Town Development among others, that pushed us hard all season.
"We suffered a frustrating defeat on the opening day of the season, losing 1-0 at home, and I think that really stunned us as we were not used losing, but the girls were fantastic in training and we quickly adapted.
"I ask a lot of my players in terms of training twice a week and playing a heavy friendly fixture list to supplement breaks in league games, but this is one of the reasons we've been so difficult to beat all season. The girls are extremely committed to their football, there is a really strong bond within the group and the rewards have been fully deserved.
"It's hard to pick a proudest moment in a season like the one we've just had. Nine of my players represented the county at senior level this year, and helped secure the South West Counties title, seeing that was really special for me. Hattie King being selected for Northern Ireland Under-19s was another big moment for us. She has had to battle back from two nasty injuries and her attitude to football is unreal.
"In fact we've had several key players injured throughout the season, with Rebecca Wakley and Georgia Mann to name a few, and they've all been brilliant in getting through tough times. Being able to coach Emma Brazell and Laura Wensley was a privilege I never thought I'd get, and they set a fantastic example for younger players. Beating Keynsham Town Development 2-0 away was my favourite league game, it was a really tough game but the girls were unbelievable.
"Finally the County Cup Final played at Street FC. We'd beaten two teams in the division above us to get there, including holders Brislington who are a fantastic side. The girls really showed how far they'd come in that game, running out 4-0 winners.
"If asked what's next for the team, I'd say to strengthen at South West Premier Division level, and help players with great potential take further steps towards our WSL Development side. That has always been the target for this team, and with young players such as Imogen Fisher, Olivia Watts etc coming through, I am confident in delivering on that target. It's been a great three years with the team, and I look forward to seeing them achieve even more in the future."
Yeovil Town Ladies Intermediate Team squad: Hannah Eglon, Naomi Binding, Lucie Nurse, Georgia Mann, Eva Smith, Rebecca Wakley, Shelby Overington, Chloe Williams, Jenna Evans, Emma Brazell, Laura Wensley, Imogen Fisher, Colette Martin, Olivia Watts, Beth Smith, Nicole Flourentzou, Harriet King, Elise Saysell, Claire Goodson.
Basingstoke Town will be looking forward to Premier League football for the first time next season after finishing on top in a well contested title race in the Southern Region League.
"After a successful pre-season campaign, we started the season in good form, winning our first three games without conceding a goal," Basingstoke manager Rob Quilter told Women's Soccer Scene. "We showed great character by winning 2-1 away to Milton Keynes City with a depleted squad in and torrential weather. This was the turning point where the players began to believe we could win it all.
"A key part of our league success has been the way we defended as a team to keep eleven clean sheets out of sixteen league games.
"Towards the end of the season, we had two key results which were a 1-0 win at home against title contenders Marlow and our last match, which finished 3-2 against Newbury. To win these games under great pressure shows the character we have at Basingstoke."
The team is captained by Michelle Kimber and leading the scoring charts for the new Champions were Katie Randell and Lindsey Beverley, with 22 and 18 goals respectively.
"With a squad of 14 players (plus several injured) it has taken a huge effort from everyone involved to achieve what we have," added Quilter. "We are now concentrating on adding to our squad for next season."
East Midlands League
Long Eaton Utd completed the League and Cup double when they defeated Mansfield Town 6-1 in the League Cup Final. Marie Wayne gave Mansfield a first half lead before Long Eaton hit back to lead at half time thanks to goals from Precious Hamilton and Cara Newton. After the break, Hamilton went on to complete a hat-trick and she was joined on the scoresheet by Alena Moulton and Kim Evans.
The League Plate Final was an all-Division One North affair and it was Sleaford Town who were 4-1 winners over Gedling Town. Catherine Beaver, Natalie Clarke, Amy Kilgannon and Kirsty Elliott scored the goals for Sleaford.
The last two matches in the Premier Division were played on Sunday, Ellistown and Kettering Town exchanging victories in a double header. Charlotte Burrows netted all four goals as Kettering won the first meeting 4-2, with the return going 3-2 in Ellistown's favour.
Eastern Region League
Colchester Town lifted the League Cup with a 4-0 victory over Silver End in the Final at Letchworth. Alex Brewis-Shephard, Georgia Box, Paige Wakefield and Lucy Jones were all on target for Colchester.
The Division One Cup went the way of Writtle who defeated Colney Heath 2-1. Leanne Stubbings and Sophie Vale scored the goals to land Writtle their second trophy of the season, adding to their Division One East title success.
North East League
Brighouse Town picked up the point they required in order to clinch the Premier Division title and promotion to the FA Women's Premier League next season when they shared a 2-2 draw with Whitley Bay in their final game. Jodie Redgrave and Rachael White netted the all-important goals for Brighouse, while Leanne Anderson and Steph Ord replied for Whitley who will end up in fourth place. That is because York City guaranteed themselves a top three place by scoring eleven times without reply past Wetherby Athletic. Kayleigh Davis led the scoring with a hat-trick, Rebecca Dawson and Natasha Eustance each weighed in braces and there was one apiece from Ruth Brazier, Sara Renfrew, Bryony Welsh and Nicola Brown.
The destiny of the Northern Division title was up for grabs in the last match of the season and it was Gateshead Rutherford Ravens who confirmed themselves as Champions with a 4-0 victory over Blyth Town Lions, who have to settle for runners-up. Lynsey Wilkinson netted all four goals to seal the title for her side.
West Midlands League
Lye Town finished off a good first season in the Premier Division following promotion with a 6-2 victory over Wrockwardine Wood, ending up in third place.
Stockingford AA Pavilion are confirmed as runners-up in Division One North after running out 4-0 winners away to Shrewsbury Town. Meanwhile Shrewsbury Juniors are up into fourth place as they won a high scoring affair 10-4 against Florence.
Coundon Court are all but assured of winning the Division One South title, bringing themselves to the brink with a 6-2 victory over Solihull Ladies Res. Only Worcester Utd can still catch them by winning their remaining games and they kept those hopes alive by beating Coventry Development 4-0, lifting themselves above their opponents into second place. Droitwich Spa won 2-0 at Malvern Town and are in fourth, followed by Rubery Ladies who scored five without reply past Marston Green. Wyre Forest Phoenix picked up a rare point when sharing a 2-2 draw with Kenilworth Town.
The outcome of the Northern Division title race was finally decided on Sunday, when Newcastle Utd beat Stockport County 6-1 to overhaul Blackburn Rovers at the top of the table. The Lady Magpies needed nothing less than a victory going into the game and Siobhan Jones hit a hat-trick to spearhead the win with Alisha Smith, Carly Davies and Lauren Driver joining her on the scoresheet.
The last match of the season was played in the FA WSL Development League Northern Division and it ended with honours even as Birmingham City and Liverpool shared a 1-1 draw, Emily Joyce scoring for Birmingham before Kirsty Hanson grabbed a last minute equaliser for the Reds.
On Wednesday night, Arsenal made sure of the Southern Division title with a 5-0 victory away to Millwall Lionesses. Charlotte Devlin gave the Gunners an eighth minute lead with Taylor Hinds and Rianna Dean adding further goals before half time. After the break, Dean netted her second goal and Anna Patten rounded off the scoring with the fifth goal.
Arsenal get an opportunity to land a League and Cup double this coming Saturday when they take on Northern Division runners-up Sheffield FC in the Development League Cup Final. Arsenal were the inaugural winners of the competition two years ago whilst Sheffield have reached the Final at the first attempt.
The Final takes place at Sutton Coldfield Town FC and kicks off at 2pm.
Chelsea 2 Sunderland 1
Chelsea defeated Sunderland 2-1 to narrow Manchester City's lead at the top of FA WSL 1 to four points.
Once again the Blues conceded the first goal but were almost immediately level and had taken the lead before a quarter of the game had gone. The biggest surprise was that they were unable to add to their lead despite numerous chances and relentless pressure on the Sunderland goal. Resolute defending and brilliant goalkeeping by Rachael Laws kept the final outcome in doubt right up to the end.
Sunderland took the lead on six minutes when Beth Mead did well to win the ball and play in Stephanie Roche who hit a crisp low shot past Hedvig Lindahl from the edge of the area for her first WSL goal. The lead lasted less than two minutes though, Sunderland were penalised on the left and Karen Carney's free kick was met with a firm header by an unmarked Katie Chapman.
Gilly Flaherty headed against the bar but was flagged offside, then Carney played a delightful ball for Eniola Aluko but Laws was out well to close down the angle and save. Chelsea then took the lead on 21 minutes when Aluko centered from the left and Fran Kirby angled a delicate header beyond Laws.
Lindahl had to be quick off her line to clear from Beth Mead immediately following Chelsea's second but the focus of the game was still at the other end. Ji So-Yun went close from the edge of the area then Laws blocked a Kirby effort. Aluko hit a volley wide and Chelsea went to the break with a single goal advantage.
Chelsea's dominance was even more marked in the second period as they pushed for a third goal. Laws denied Aluko from close range on 53 minutes then Kirby went close with an overhead kick from Chapman's cross. Ji fired across goal when well placed, then Laws made two fine saves from Aluko, showing great reactions to reach and turn away powerful drives.
As the minutes ticked down, the visitors must have felt capable of rescuing an unlikely point but, in truth, they were rarely able to fashion any meaningful threat, apart from a freak deflected clearance which spun over Lindahl's bar on 79 minutes. Mead worked hard but was isolated in attack and it was Chelsea who continued to press right to the end, but were unable to add to their slender advantage.
Chelsea were impressive in everything but finishing and Sunderland were indebted to Laws for some fine saves to keep them in the game right to the final kick.
Chelsea: Hedvig Lindahl, Hannah Blundell, Niamh Fahey, Gilly Flaherty, Claire Rafferty (sub Ana Marques Borges 26mins), Katie Chapman, Ji So-Yun (sub Drew Spence 70mins), Gemma Davison (sub Beth England 80mins), Karen Carney, Enolia Aluko, Fran Kirby. Subs not used: Rebecca Spencer, Millie Bright, Jade Bailey, Laura Rafferty.
Sunderland: Rachael Laws, Danielle Brown, Stephanie Bannan, Hayley Sharp, Victoria Williams, Lucy Staniforth, Brooke Chaplen, Kelly McDougall (sub Rachel Furness 67mins), Keira Ramshaw (sub Krystle Johnston 61mins), Stephanie Roche, Beth Mead. Subs not used: Hilde-Gunn Olsen, Abbey Joice, Megan Beer, Charlotte Potts, Abby Holmes.
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
Photo - Danielle Brown clears under pressure from Ana Marques Borges (www.jamesprickett.co.uk).
Liverpool 0 Manchester City 0
Liverpool became the first club to take points off Manchester City this season after holding them to a goalless draw, but the WSL 1 leaders' remarkable run of clean sheets has now been stretched to seven matches.
Liverpool had the first chance of note six minutes in, when Caroline Weir latched onto a ball over the top but shot straight at Karen Bardsley. The hosts enjoyed the better early moments but City responded a minute later and Siobhan Chamberlain had to be at full stretch to tip a 20-yard strike from Nikita Parris round the post.
Liverpool were happy to soak up the City possession but on 34 minutes a shot from Jane Ross was deflected wide, before Toni Duggan blazed over the bar from the resultant corner.
Both sides had a bit more purpose after the break and Jennifer Beattie fired a 25-yard volley wide on 55 minutes for the league leaders. Lucy Bronze then drilled a left foot shot straight at Chamberlain, before the England international forced the Liverpool stopper to tip a fiercer effort over the bar moments later.
The best chance of the match arrived for Liverpool twelve minutes from time, when Rosie White headed a corner from Laura Coombs onto the bar.
Liverpool: Siobhan Chamberlain, Satara Murray, Gemma Bonner, Sophie Ingle, Alex Greenwood, Kate Longhurst, Laura Coombs, Natasha Harding (sub Niamh Charles 89mins), Shanice Van De Sanden (sub Ashley Hodson 90mins), Caroline Weir (sub Emma Lundh 84mins), Rosie White. Subs not used: Danielle Gibbons, Mandy Van Den Berg, Mayumi Pacheco, Katie Zelem.
Manchester City: Karen Bardsley, Lucy Bronze, Steph Houghton, Abbie McManus, Demi Stokes, Jill Scott, Jennifer Beattie, Kosovare Asllani (sub Isobel Christiansen 59mins), Nikita Parris (sub Georgia Stanway 81mins), Jane Ross, Toni Duggan. (sub Daphne Corboz 73 mins). Subs not used: Marie Hourihan, Megan Campbell, Zoe Tynan.
(Report by www.fawsl.com)
Rachel Daly and Nikita Parris have been handed call ups for England Women's Euro qualifying double-header against Serbia next month.
It is the second call up for both Daly, 24, and Parris, 22. Houston Dash forward Daly was part of the England squad that travelled to La Manga in January 2014 while Manchester City's Parris featured in head coach Mark Sampson's last squad.
Sampson has made five changes in total to the squad that faced Belgium and Bosnia & Herzegovina in April, with Birmingham City's Jade Moore, Arsenal forward Jodie Taylor and recently-named PFA Women's Player of the Year Isobel Christiansen all returning after injuries.
England will first face Serbia at home at Wycombe Wanderers' Adams Park on Saturday 4th June (5.30pm BST KO), before travelling to Stara Pazova for the away tie, which takes place on Tuesday 7 June (4pm BST KO).
The Lionesses are currently unbeaten after four games in their qualifying campaign, second in Group F to Belgium but with a game in hand.
Sampson said: "We have selected a squad that I believe can get us the six points we want against Serbia.
"Serbia will be coming here full of confidence after getting a hard earned draw in Belgium, so we will need to produce a good performance to get the win.
"It's great to welcome back Jade, Izzy and Jodie who have been fantastic for England every time they have been called up and they will have a big, positive impact on the group.
"Rachel has been playing very well in the NWSL with Houston Dash and really fits the profile of a Lioness so I am delighted to welcome her into the group.
"Our focus is to be a together group and work hard to improve in every area. Each opportunity that we get to spend time together only helps us to grow and develop as a team.
"We are excited to play in Wycombe. It's a fantastic stadium and I know we will have many Lionesses fans who will be there to support the team."
Tickets for the home match, which is also live on BBC Two, are on sale now priced £7.50 for adults and £3.50 for children. A family ticket priced £15 (two adults and two children) is available and group booking discounts apply.
Tickets can be bought via www.TheFA.com/Tickets or by calling (01494) 441118.
Oxford City won the Southern Region League Cup with a hard earned 1-0 victory over Southampton Women in the Final at Scours Lane.
April England held her nerve to score the winner from the penalty spot with three minutes remaining but City's heroine was goalkeeper Natalie Morris who made a string of great saves to keep the Division One title winners at bay.
Southampton settled the quicker of the two sides and created the game's first opportunity when Zoe Hughes-Jones' ball into the area picked out Sheree Bell-Jack who fired over the bar.
With the experienced Kirsty Bell pulling the strings in midfield, Southampton continued to have the better of things with Bell-Jack producing a shot on the turn which Morris held at the second attempt. The keeper was to do even better a minute later when an inch perfect through ball from Bell released Karleen Hellard on goal who struck a firm shot at goal but Morris did superbly to tip the ball onto the bar.
Abi Fletcher drilled a free kick over the bar and a scare for City when Morris was unable to hold onto a cross from Hellard was averted as Aliyah Anthony was well placed to clear from in front of goal.
Southampton continued to attack and look dangerous going forward but Oxford stood firm under the pressure with Steph Mobbs making a number of important interceptions, particularly against the dangerous Bell-Jack.
The pattern continued at the start of the second half and Southampton were to go close again. Fletcher drove a shot which brought out a great fingertip save from Morris who pulled off another great stop from a powerful left foot strike by Laura Gilbank after the resulting corner had been half cleared.
Oxford were then dealt a blow when an awkward landing forced Anthony off with a knee injury and she was replaced by Becci Bostock, who gave a fine display at the back after coming on.
Morris was called into action again as Fletcher made a strong run forward and slid a fine pass into the path of Jane Yeates who ran through on goal before being denied by a good smothering save.
Oxford attacks had been fairly sporadic but as the game went into the last half hour, they became more of a force. The tireless running and work rate of Nicole Miles helped spur them on and Jane Younger was becoming more of a threat down the left, the winger being inches off target with a shot and then a minute later, after being found in the area by Laura Allsop, Younger's shot was just wide after taking a deflection off Tash Angel.
Back came Southampton with Fletcher finding Yeates on the right, her low cross picked out Hellard who looked certain to score but Dara Austin's challenge was just enough to make her divert her shot wide. Yeates and Fletcher both sent shots off target but Southampton attacks were less frequent now.
Oxford began to press with Younger and Heather Young attacking down the flanks and this time it was Southampton's turn to stand firm under increasing pressure.
The game looked to be heading towards extra time but with three minutes left, a quickly taken corner by Allsop picked out Lindsay Pinker who was tripped just inside the area by Fletcher. A penalty was awarded and England stepped up to drill her shot down the centre of the goal past Rachael Cash to give her side the lead.
Southampton needed to throw players forward as the game went into injury time but they could not force an opportunity as the Oxford back four ensured that Morris was well protected. At the other end, Cash twice needed to race out of goal to clear under pressure from Younger and Miles but the spot kick proved to be just enough to earn Oxford their second trophy of the season.
Oxford City: Natalie Morris, Dara Austin, Marisa Chamberlain, Lindsay Pinker, Aliyah Anthony, Steph Mobbs, Heather Young, Laura Allsop, April England, Melissa Farrow, Jane Younger. Subs: Nicole Miles, Becci Bostock, Tina Higgs.
Southampton Women: Rachael Cash, Zoe Hughes-Jones, Shereen Cordy, Tash Angel, Kirsty Bell, Amie Barnett, Abi Fletcher, Karleen Hellard, Sheree Bell-Jack, Darcey Read, Laura Gilbank. Subs: Sam Vokes, Sophie Solloway, Jane Yeates, Marie Underwood-Clarke, Millie Peake.
(top) Marisa Chamberlain shields the ball from Darcey Read
(middle) Jane Younger takes on Kirsty Bell and Amie Barnett
(bottom) Oxford City with the League Cup
Chesham United completed a successful season by lifting the Chairman's Cup with a 4-1 victory over Team Solent in the first match of the Southern Region League's finals day at Scours Lane, Reading.
In a match which was more even than the result indicates, Chesham defended well and had the edge in finishing as the sides who had finished second and third in Division One went head to head.
Solent started well but the first effort on goal was a deflected 30-yard effort from Gemma Fraser which flew narrowly over Lauren Webb's bar. Solent were very unlucky not to open the scoring when, after good work from Emma Pinner and Tasha Kenny, Daryanne Ryan hit a volley which rebounded off the inside of the post straight to keeper Lucia Masella on 11 minutes.
Fraser again went close when free on the left edge of the area but hit the side netting on 17 minutes. Solent's Pinner had a run and shot well held by Masella as play flowed from end to end. Hannah McKenzie, who had a fine match for Solent, made a vital interception to foil Fraser but Chesham took the lead on 26 minutes when Katie Squire outpaced the defence, rounded Webb and finished coolly.
McKenzie set up the Solent equaliser on the half hour with a well aimed 40-yard pass to Philippa Holden who took the ball down and shot low past Masella. Holden was then denied a second by a good tackle from Chantelle O'Grady but it was Chesham who took the lead on 41 minutes with a superb goal. Squire ran down the right and centred perfectly for Fraser to guide a diving header wide of Webb.
Another headed goal, this time by Dawne Campbell up from defence to guide in Laura Barton's inviting free kick, increased Chesham's lead on 57 minutes, following a lengthy delay for an injury to Chesham keeper Masella immediately after the break.
Chesham were defending strongly and breaking effectively as the second half developed. Webb saved well from Fraser and sub Natasha Smith shot wide when clean through on goal on 73 minutes. Solent's Mel Saunders made a fine interception to stop Fraser and Smith hit a post with a header as Chesham looked to add to their lead.
Fittingly it was player of the match Fraser who rounded off the scoring on 88 minutes with her second running through to slot home, though there was a suspicion of offside.
Victoria Carleton with a free kick had a late effort for Solent well held by Masella but the Southampton based team had been well contained by Chesham back line despite good build up play and some threatening moments.
In addition to gaining promotion to the Premier Division of the Southern Region League, Chesham United were thus able to celebrate cup success after a fiercely contested and entertaining match to open finals day in front of enthusiastic support for both teams.
Chesham United: Lucia Masella, Anna Imrie, Livi Harris, Laura Barton, Sarah Tyas, Dawne Campbell, Paul Lambert, Kirsty Gladwin, Katie Squire, Gemma Fraser, Chantelle O'Grady. Subs: Charlotte Herson, Natasha Smith, Sarah Hazel.
Team Solent: Lauren Webb, Bobby Lynch, Daryanne Ryan, Ellie Hellyer, Courtney Downey, Victoria Carleton, Hannah McKenzie, Mel Saunders, Philippa Holden, Tasha Kenny, Emma Pinner. Subs: Emily Crook, Ayuma Asira, Basia Dudek.
Photos by www.jamesprickett.co.uk:
(top) Gemma Fraser hurdles a challenge from Hannah McKenzie
(middle) Sarah Tyas blocks a cross from Tasha Kenny
(bottom) Chesham United with the Chairman's Cup
Tranmere Rovers will be playing Premier League football again next season following a 6-2 win against Chester-le-Street which sealed their place in Northern Division One.
Tranmere went into the match needing to avoid defeat for survival at the expense of Stockport County and a four-goal blast from Rachel Rigby, plus one apiece from Anna Stones and Ceri Holder, ensured they will finish outside of the bottom two.
Blackburn Rovers claimed themselves a third place finish in the Northern Division, thanks to a 2-1 victory over Newcastle Utd. Two first half goals from Leah Foster gave Rovers the result they needed, with Newcastle's consolation coming from Sophie Williams.
Ipswich Town will finish in fifth in South East Division One after notching up one of their best results of the season, a 3-0 win away to third placed Milton Keynes Dons. Zoe Cossey, Aimee Harrison and Natasha Thomas all scored a goal apiece.
To complete a good day for the East Anglian sides, Norwich City ran out 5-1 winners over Old Actonians. Chelsea Garrett netted twice for the Canaries along with Kate Parsons, Ellen Swift and Natasha Snelling, with Actonians' consolation coming from Chelsea Berlin.
Hibernian narrowed the gap on SWPL 1 leaders Glasgow City to five points after they scored six times without reply against Rangers.
Hibs got off to a flying start with Lucy Graham opening the scoring with a minute on the clock and Abigail Harrison quickly scored a second. An own goal increased the lead before Graham netted her second and Joelle Murray scored a fifth before the interval. Heather Richards joined them on the scoresheet during the second half to round off her side's biggest win of the season.
Celtic consolidated themselves in third place by winning 3-2 away to Forfar Farmington. Kirsty Howat gave Celtic a first half lead but after the break, Jade McLaren and Tori Sousa both scored to turn matters in Forfar's favour. Chloe Craig levelled matters once again from the penalty spot and Suzanne Mulvey gave Celtic the points with a late winner.
Aberdeen picked up a much needed second victory of the season and did so in style, 4-0 against Spartans. Nikki Smith put the Dons in front midway through the first half and Cheryl Anderson added a second before half time from the penalty spot. Smith went on to find the net twice more after the break to register a hat-trick and move her side to within two points of her opponents.
On Monday night, Glasgow City restored their lead of eight points with an 8-1 victory over Stirling University. Erin Cuthbert and Julie Fleeting each scored twice for City along with Joanne Love, Savannah McCarthy, Hayley Lauder and Brogan Hay. Nicole Pullar grabbed a consolation for Stirling.
Hamilton Academical kept hold of the leadership of SWPL 2 by scoring eleven times without reply past Inverness City. MT McGuiness led the scoring for the Accies with a hat-trick and there were doubles from Lori Gardner, Mhairi Lyle and Gillian Inglis, with Amy McCafferty and Lauren Kerr completing the tally.
Glasgow Girls made sure of keeping pace with Hamilton, thanks to a 2-0 success away to Hutchison Vale. Both of their goals came during the first half, Lauren Coleman putting them in front with Lauren Evans adding the second.
Hearts remain one point behind the leading duo in third place following their 4-1 victory over Buchan Ladies. Ashley Carse netted two of the goals and there was one apiece from Louise Moultray and Rachel Walkingshaw.
Jeanfield Swifts follow on in fourth after recording the biggest win of the day, 13-0 over Queen's Park. Danni McGinley was on target four times and Jade McDonald weighed in with a hat-trick, Eilidh McIntyre netted twice and they were joined on the scoresheet by Nicola Martin, Erin Thatcher, Emma MacLean and Alex Fox.
Birmingham City are delighted to announce that forward Isabelle Linden has joined the club from current Champions League holders FFC Frankfurt.
The club fought off strong competition from major European sides for her signature.
The 25-year-old, who started her career at SGS Essen before spending five years at Bayer Leverkusen and later FFC Frankfurt, has represented her country at every level, most notably winning the 2013 European Championship.
Her goalscoring exploits at Bayer Leverkusen, and subsequent performances at international level, winning Euro 2013 along the way, earned her a move to the record Champions League holders FFC Frankfurt.
Blues Ladies manager David Parker said: "I am over the moon at bringing such a high calibre player not just to Birmingham but the FA WSL.
"It further outlines our intentions and vision of what we want to achieve at the Club. It's also a signal of the development the Club is making not just in England but also in Europe, in that we are now attracting the top European players.
"When watching Isabelle we knew the profile and ability that would impact the pitch, but when talking to her and flying her over, it was very clear that we would also be adding a very charismatic character off the pitch which will fit in perfectly with our group.
"I can't wait to get her on the training pitch in June and attack the second half of the season."
On her move to Birmingham, Linden said: "I am proud that I have signed for Birmingham City Ladies.
"The conversations with David, Marcus Bignot and Tim Andrews convinced me about the project and ambitions at the Club.
"I'm looking forward to the new challenge to play in another country and I have always wanted to play in England. The team is ambitious and I'm very excited to join up with the girls in June."
The second annual Welsh Premier Women's League annual presentation dinner was held at Belle Vue in Aberystwyth on the evening of May 21st.
The Welsh Premier Women's League were invited to accept their awards and celebrate another successful season.
The 2015-16 awards were won as follows:
Following the awards ceremony, Cardiff Met captain and WPWL Player of the Season Emily Allen told the league's website: "It was nice to be recognised. I wasn't expecting the be nominated or to even win it!
"We've had a few ups and downs throughout the seasons, like most do. I think overall we had a really good season and we played some good football.
"We lost one game and drew two out of the whole season only conceding 19 goals. There were a few points where we found it a bit tricky but in the end we were deserved champions.
"I really enjoyed the WPWL Awards dinner. It was nice to see some familiar faces from the season but also to be recognised as league winners."
New to the WPWL scene, Wales Women's senior international Chloe Chivers joined Cwmbran Celtic for her first competitive season, becoming their top goalscorer and this season's Young Player of the Season. Chloe said "It was great to be nominated considering its my first season with Cwmbran and my first season competing in the WPWL. I have a cabinet for my awards, it's going straight in there when I get home.
"When I was nominated I was hoping to get it. It felt really good when my name was announced, out of 300 players then down to 3 and then me.
"My first season at Cwmbran has gone well. We got off to a bit of a rough start, we didn't win many games. But we pulled through.
"I'm looking forward to next season, hopefully we can push up the table and become Champions of the WPWL in 2017.
"We had some great wins against Llandudno, Newscastle Emlyn, PILCS, Cyncoed and Port Talbot but we also had some big losses.
"The target is to beat Cardiff Met and Swansea next year. But my next challenge is Wales v Norway on June 7th. I need to get in to that match day squad."
Top Goalscorer, Shannon Evans of Cardiff City said: "I'm usually in defence at left back but due to injury they chose me up front. I scored 37 in total and bringing home the award was a proud moment.
"My season highlight was getting the opening goal in the semi final and then adding another to go on and beat Swansea in the semi final of the FAW Cup. Also scoring a hat-trick in the Final and winning player of the match, that was pretty good.
"As an individual, I had my best season yet scoring plenty of goals and also being involved in many cup games and being recognised by other teams. As a team, I thought our togetherness was awesome towards the end of the season and we finished strong as a result.
"Plenty of players shone and showed their talent and some even got picked for the Wales squad. I was proud to be a part of the team this year and look forward to next season."
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