Over 320 girls from 33 clubs across the country attended the FA Girls' Football Festival at Wembley Powerleague on Sunday, before heading inside the stadium to cheer on the Lionesses against Germany.
The players have all started playing football in the past year through the FA's Women's and Girls' Programme, which is run in partnership with Sport England, the Premier League and the Football League Trust.
The festival was the last in the 2014 series of FA Girls' Football Festivals, run in partnership with Continental Tyres to encourage more girls to try out football. More than 8,000 girls, aged between 5 and 16, have taken part in the festivals in 2014.
All of the participating Under-16 teams were specially invited by the Premier League and Football League Trust to take part in a special five-a-side tournament. Each of the clubs invited to the festival have all delivered sessions as part of the scheme, which has welcomed almost 21,000 young women into football since October 2013.
The tournament culminated in two finals, with Crawley Town running out 3-2 winners against Hull City in the Championship Final. Elsewhere, Peterborough beat Man City 3-1 in the Plate Competition.
The players were also joined by the injured England and Notts County Ladies player, Sophie Bradley, who took part in all of the activities on offer, including a question and answer session, giving the girls an insight into what it's like to play for England and Notts County in the FA WSL.
The format of the day combined football, lifestyle and music. FA approved coaches led the festival, and there were a host of activities on offer inbetween matches. These ranged from skills and drills to interactive games (target shoot, speed cage, batak boards)
Refereeing ambassadors Brittany Smith and Natasha Wilson delivered a refereeing workshop, while girls also had the chance to pose with the Barclays Premier League trophy.
Sophie Bradley said: "Events like this are fantastic, especially with the festival being held at the Power League just outside Wembley, before a landmark match for women's football.
"It gives all the girls who have come along today, an opportunity to see where they could progress to and could find themselves playing one day."
Middlesbrough are pleased to announce the signing of Super League player Becky Hanratty from Durham Women FC with immediate effect.
Durham finished mid-table last season in their debut season in FA WSL 2 and MFC Ladies manager Lindsey Stephenson admits she's incredibly pleased with the signing to her Northern Division One side.
"It is great to know that Becky has decided to join us and sees what we are trying to do at 'Boro," she said. "It's nice to see that players from the Super League can appreciate the game at our level and share our ideas.
"Becky will add experience and knowledge and be a huge support to everyone in our plans to climb the league. It will be great to welcome her back."
Becky has spent time with Middlesbrough in the past and also South Durham & Cestria before signing for Durham.
"I am grateful to Durham for the time I spent there and it was an amazing opportunity to be playing alongside internationals every other week," said Becky.
"The time was right to come back to Middlesbrough Ladies and hopefully help them move forward and climb the table. Thanks to Durham players and management for making my time there an important part of my career and I send them my best wishes for next season."
Middlesbrough Ladies twitter @mfcladies2012 will bring further information on Becky's debut home appearance for MFC Ladies which could be as soon as Sunday at Teesdale Park against Guiseley AFC Vixens.
Regents Park Rangers Ladies FC are currently seeking to strengthen their squad by seeking an experienced centre back and a striker.
As a club we take part on the Greater London League, South East Region Division One. We train on Tuesday evenings in North West London (Maida Vale) from 7pm-9pm on a 3g 8-a-side pitch. Our matches take place on Sundays afternoons with our home pitch based in Putney. Away matches are anywhere in the London region.
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It was a case of 'lucky thirteen' for Wolverhampton Wanderers as they recorded their first victory of the season in the Northern Division with a 4-0 success against Huddersfield Town.
Wolves got off to a great start with two goals inside the opening eighteen minutes, Dani Selmes giving them the lead with Natalie Widdal adding a second four minutes later. Huddersfield tried to rally and struck the bar but Jennifer Kilomeko put the home side three ahead before half time. Selmes wrapped up a great day for Wolves midway through the second half when she scored her second from the penalty spot.
Bradford City climbed into fourth place by winning 3-2 away to Newcastle Utd. Paige Crosby and Sarah Danby put Bradford two goals ahead with Stacy Crooks pulling one back for the home side. Rachel Lee netted a third for Bradford with seven minutes remaining and despite Beth Gardener giving Newcastle late hope, Bradford saw the game out for three important points. However the game was marred when Newcastle goalkeeper Laura Wareham was taken to hospital with what appeared to be a serious neck injury.
In the only match to go ahead in the Southern Division on Sunday, two of the bottom three met each other with Copsewood (Coventry) playing host to Gillingham.
In the end the points were shared from a 1-1 draw, which keeps the Gills three points above Copsewood. Louise Lorton netted the goal for the Gills, with Nicola Foskett on target for Copsewood.
Northern Division One
Leeds Ladies are in the top three following their 2-0 victory away to Mossley Hill, who remain one place above them. Bridie Hannon gave Leeds the lead shortly before half time and Carey Huegett wrapped up the points with the second goal, midway through the second half.
Morecambe meanwhile made sure that the long journey to Norton & Stockton Ancients turned out to be a successful one, winning 2-1 with Megan Doherty scoring a goal in each half, despite Nyci Thorns pulling one back for Norton late on.
South West Division One
Swindon Town have opened up a lead of three points by winning 1-0 against Forest Green Rovers in their top of the table clash, Meg Valla grabbing the only goal of the game (see match report).
Premier League Plate
The one remaining First Round tie was finally played on Sunday with Leicester City Ladies making it through by winning 1-0 away to Chichester City.
Amanda Whalley scored the game's solitary goal to take her side into the Second Round where they will be at home to Radcliffe Olympic.
Chelsea Ladies FC is delighted to announce that England international Gemma Davison is joining the club from Liverpool.
Winger Davison will officially link up with manager Emma Hayes's side on New Year's Day, having agreed a two-year deal.
The 27-year-old was part of the Liverpool team that won the FA Women's Super League 1 title on goal difference ahead of Chelsea last season, having previously won multiple honours with Arsenal. Davison also boasts experience of the Women's Professional Soccer League in the USA, where she represented New York Magic and Buffalo Flash among others before returning to England.
"It's unbelievable to join this club. It's a big club and the Ladies team have really improved and nearly won the league last season," said Davison. "There are some great players here and a great coaching staff that I'm looking forward to working with.
"Emma Hayes has been brilliant throughout my career, always supporting me and I've always wanted to work with her again, she's a great coach and I can't wait to start working with her again."
Having played for England at Under-19, 21 and 23 level, Gemma has been capped twice at senior level, with her most recent appearance during the Cyprus Cup in March.
Chelsea manager Emma Hayes worked with Davison during her time as Arsenal's assistant manager, with the winger forming part of the quadruple winning team in 2006 alongside current Blues captain Katie Chapman and defender Gilly Flaherty.
"Gemma is a player I've had the pleasure of working with before and I am delighted to do so again," said Hayes. "She is a winner and will add that mentality to the squad we have and help move us to the next level.
"Her one-on-one ability is as good as anyone in the world and she is now ready to become a top player for Chelsea and England.
"She played a huge part in Liverpool's success last season, contributing the joint most assists in the league.
"Our goal is that Gemma becomes a regular at the national team level because on her day she is unplayable. I want more goals from Gemma and I look forward to working with her again on the training pitch."
Coventry City have bid an emotional farewell to Natalie Wilcox, who has made the decision to hang up her boots after a prolonged and difficult recovery since rupturing her ACL just fifteen minutes into a 3-0 victory at Tottenham Hotspur in September last year.
Nat joined the club from Villa as a promising 16-year-old in 2004. She became a first team regular in 2005 and was an ever present throughout the four seasons that the Sky Blues came runners-up in the Midland Combination, before storming the division with a record breaking 61 points from 66 to win promotion to the FA Premier League Northern Division in 2009-10.
Nat had half a season with Forest in 2010-11, but rejoined her beloved Sky Blues for the 2011-12 campaign in the FA Premier League National Division, the highest tier in women's football. A lifelong Villa fan, this was the season that the Sky Blues famously celebrated their first ever Birmingham County FA Cup Final win...against Villa.
The highlight of her career though, was a memorable game played in torrential rain on a Tuesday night in May 2013, in front of a big crowd at Villa Park. Coventry came from a goal down to beat Villa 4-1 in spectacular style and Nat Wilcox wore the biggest smile ever seen at Villa Park.
"It's been an honour to play for CCLFC for the last ten years, with so many amazing achievements, memories, great team mates and staff," said Nat. "I feel the time is right to refocus my time following injury, and take on a new challenge away from football.
"I would like to thank everyone at the club; particularly the medical team for helping me back to full fitness, and wish the club every success for the future in its pursuit of Super League status, where it belongs."
Photo - Marc Evans
England 0 Germany 3 (Scott og 5, Sasic 11,45)
att: 45,619; at Wembley Stadium
Three first half goals saw Germany spoil England's party at Wembley Stadium as the former World Champions proved too strong for Mark Sampson's side.
After weeks of intense publicity for the England women's team's first appearance since the stadium was rebuilt, they were outclassed by an impressive German side in the opening 45 minutes. England improved a lot in the second half but, despite their efforts, could not quite produce a goal for the record 45,619 crowd.
It was also a memorable occasion for Karen Carney, who was making her 100th appearance for her country. Before the game she was presented with a golden cap by FA Head of Women's Football Rachel Pavlou, assisted by Pte Charlene Rooney, a former captain of Larkhall Athletic.
It could have been a sensational start though as England won the ball straight from the kick off and Jordan Nobbs unleashed a shot from 30 yards which crashed against the bar with Almuth Schult beaten.
Germany counter attacked less than a minute later with Melanie Leupolz breaking down the right, the England defence backed off as she burst into the area and her shot brought out a fine save from Karen Bardsley.
There was no respite for England three minutes later though as Melanie Behringer floated a corner into the area and Simone Laudehr won a header which took a huge deflection of Alex Scott and went inside the far post for the opening goal.
Things got even worse as Fara Williams tried to intercept a through ball but only succeeded in diverting it past Steph Houghton and into the path of German captain Celia Sasic. Once again the England defence did not try and close her down and Sasic duly carried the ball into the area and slid a left foot shot past a hopelessly exposed Bardsley.
Alexandra Popp had a header saved by Bardsley following more good work by Sasic as Germany, looking in ominous form, dominated the midfield areas and possession.
England did have a shout for a goal as Nobbs met a Scott cross with a looping header which almost dipped over Almuth Schult but she was able to gather safely.
Germany were to get the ball in the net through from another set piece but this time an offside flag came to England's rescue, Leupolz heading in from Behringer's kick but she was a yard offside.
Sasic forced Bardsley to make another save after being picked out by a good ball from Lena Goessling but England responded well with Williams hitting a volley at full stretch but Schult dived and gathered well low down.
However on the stroke of half time, Germany underlined their superiority with a superb third goal. After exchanging several passes inside the England half, Laudehr slid a pass out to the right which was dummied by Leupolz and Kemme sent in a delightful cross for Sasic to give Bardsley no chance with a downward header.
Germany made three substitutions at the break and the tempo of the game slowed as a result, seeing fewer opportunities at either end.
Sasic was close to a hat-trick when her header was saved by Bardsley as she met an Anja Mittag cross at the far post but the heavy pitch was now starting to take its toll on the two sides and the Germans looked happy to sit on their three-goal lead.
Fran Kirby almost worked an opening on the edge of the area but lost her footing and the Germans were able to clear, then Jodie Taylor raced onto a long clearance for her first touch of the ball after coming on but dragged her shot wide of the far post.
As the game went into injury time, England had their best chance of the game after a good run down the right by Bronze ended with her cutting the ball inside for Jill Scott who skipped past a defender but lashed her shot into the side netting with only Schult to beat.
It was not the result England would have wanted on a special occasion but they will have learned several valuable lessons if they are to close the gap on the teams at the highest level.
England: Karen Bardsley, Alex Scott (sub Jo Potter 83mins), Demi Stokes (sub Alex Greenwood 83mins), Fara Williams (sub Jill Scott 70mins), Steph Houghton, Lucy Bronze (sub Laura Bassett 90mins), Jordan Nobbs, Karen Carney, Lianne Sanderson (sub Jodie Taylor 80mins), Toni Duggan, Eniola Aluko (sub Francesca Kirby 61mins). Subs not used: Siobhan Chamberlain, Claire Rafferty, Jade Moore, Carly Telford, Jess Clarke.
Germany: Almuth Schult, Tabea Kemme (sub Luisa Wensing 45mins), Josephine Henning, Jennifer Cramer (sub Babett Peter 87mins), Annike Krahn, Simone Laudehr (sub Pauline Bremer 75mins), Melanie Behringer (sub Dzsenifer Marozsan 45mins), Lena Goessling, Alexandra Popp, Celia Sasic (sub Verena Faisst 87mins), Melanie Leupolz (sub Anja Mittag 45mins). Subs not used: Laura Benkarth, Lisa Weiss, Meike Kamper, Bianca Schmidt, Kathrin Hendrich, Lena Petermann, Sara Dabritz.
Swindon Town 1 Forest Green Rovers 0
Swindon Town won the top of the table clash with Forest Green Rovers through a single Meg Vella goal to open up a three point lead in the FAWPL South West Division One table.
Going into the match level on points and with identical goal differences, it was the Wiltshire side who made the crucial breakthrough on 40 minutes in a hard fought contest between two well organised and highly committed teams who will surely be rivals in the promotion race throughout the season.
On a Fairford Town pitch in remarkable shape given recent weather, the visitors opened brightly but it was not long before Swindon started to find their rhythm and passing range. Forest Green were resolute in defence all through the game but the hosts were still able to carve out chances. Vella released Beth Thompson on the right and her inviting cross was headed just over by Sally Butterfield on 10 minutes.
Michelle Rich delivered dangerous corners from both flanks and a Chyna Collings far post header was narrowly wide on 21 minutes. Two minutes later, Thompson fired in a low shot which evaded keeper Georgina Macey's grasp but slowed in the muddy goalmouth and was retrieved just in time.
Both teams were mainly restricted to long range efforts from open play by excellent covering from both midfield units and defenders. It was always likely that a set piece or piece of luck might prove the decider. In fact, both came into play for Swindon's opener.
Rich delivered her sixth corner of the half which was initially well defended. The ball fell to Vella on the edge of the area who hit a low shot on target, a deflection off a defender's heel wrong footing the keeper on 40 minutes.
Forest Green went close to equalising right on the break with their best effort of the half, a Sammy Hallsworth cross shot flying narrowly wide of Robyn Levett's left post but Swindon had just about deserved their lead for the extended pressure they had exerted on the visitors.
A one-goal lead would never allow Swindon any comfort and again Forest Green started brightly, Levett moving quickly from her line to gather at Charlotte King's feet. The Swindon keeper showed good handling from a 20-yard Hallsworth effort whilst her opposite number got down well to hold a Vella shot on 66 minutes. Swindon sub Meg Attenborough shot just over the bar with a first time effort from 25 yards out on the right on 74 minutes but both defences were very sound and chances were at a premium.
Forest Green pushed forward as time ran out, looking for a vital equaliser. Several promising moves were thwarted either by an offside flag or a final pass being intercepted and they never managed to break clear or threaten the home goal directly. At the other end, the second Swindon sub Sarah Uzzell had the ball in the net late on but play was brought back for a foul on the defender. In truth, Swindon saw out the six added minutes with some authority and style to record an important win.
It was easy to see why both teams are high in the South West Division One table, well organised with a core of players experienced and successful at this level. The margins between victory and defeat were pretty small. On the day, the hosts probably had more players who played at the top of their game and created more successfully down the wings and from excellent set piece delivery and thus completed a League 'double' over their Gloucestershire visitors.
Swindon Town: Robyn Levett, Lisa Coe, Kelly Nightingale, Sam Quinn, Laura Morgan, Chyna Collings, Beth Thompson, Michelle Rich, Sally Butterfield, Ellie Maynard, Meg Vella. Subs: Sarah Uzzell, Meg Attenborough.
Forest Green Rovers: Georgina Macey, Abbie Sadler, Natalie Holbrook, Rosie Bidder, Amy Baker, Jodie Shepherd, Sammy Hallsworth, Ellie Olds, Charlotte King, Kirsty Richardson, Sophie Okey. Subs: Hayley Kent, Sarah Stacey, Naomi Marshall.
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
Photos by www.jamesprickett.co.uk:
(top) Beth Thompson tries to get past Sophie Okey
(middle) Kirsty Richardson battles with Chyna Collings
(bottom) Ellie Olds and Chyna Collings go to great lengths to win the ball!
Cardiff Met Ladies needed to survive an early scare as they won 4-1 away to Llandudno.
The university side maintained their six point lead at the top of the Welsh Premier Women's League but found themselves a goal behind on sixteen minutes when Katie Bowe put Llandudno in front. Emily Allen equalised three minutes later and Ellie Sargent added a second before half time, but the game remained in the balance until the last five minutes as Emily Brown and Erin Murray netted further goals for the league leaders.
PILCS moved into second place by running out 6-0 winners over Newcastle Emlyn. Lyndsey Davies had a great day in front of goal as she scored a first half hat-trick and added a further two after the break, with a goal from Amy Thrupp rounding off the victory.
Cardiff City FC are up into fourth place following an 11-0 victory against Aberystwyth Town. Lisa Bird found the net five times during the first half and Amy Wathan joined her on the scoresheet. After the break, Alicia Davies put City further ahead before Kirsty O'Donnell bagged a brace and Danielle Green and Mali Summers completed the tally.
Wrexham follow on after edging out Port Talbot Town 1-0. The only goal of the game came in the 63rd minute when Phoebe Davies settled matters in Wrexham's favour.
The England women's team is now just days away from the ground-breaking match with Germany at Wembley - an occasion that Toni Duggan's been running through her head over and over again.
But the striker isn't obsessing about scoring the winner before a sell-out crowd; she's more concerned about singing the national anthem.
It's the first time the Lionesses have played at the national stadium and there'll be 55,000 urging them on against the European Champions. The friendly match will also have a huge TV audience.
"I've thought a lot about the national anthem because dealing with that is going to be massive," says Toni, who's netted 14 goals in 23 appearances for her country. "All those people at Wembley - it's going to be emotional and will really show how far we've come.
"Even speaking about it now, I'm so excited. It's probably the only thing I've planned for and thought about. How will I react when the anthem is played? I was going to say I've been practising the words! I'm sure the girls will be singing it loud and proud and our families will be in the stands.
"That's what it means to us and to our families. They've come to fields in the middle of nowhere in front of one man and his dog. They've been there in the cold and now they're at Wembley. Some of them might be in boxes, some of them in a lounge. It's just touching for me, not just to be playing, but to see how your family get treated as well."
An already historic occasion could've been even more significant for the women's game. Ticket sales surprised many and with transport problems in the capital, the decision was made to cap the attendance at 55,000. That figure, already putting the recent men's game against Norway in the shade, could've risen to 90,000 such has been the interest.
It's a point not lost on Toni, who says: "I'm about to play in front of all these people at Wembley, people who've paid for tickets. It's not just an event that's free. We've put in the hard work and we've got our rewards.
"Hopefully it can continue and off the back of this game we can get a lot more support from everyone. I'm really looking forward to it, I'm so excited.
"It really is a dream come true. You've got to appreciate that as a women's footballer, when we were young we went through tough times. People were saying the game would never get there and now look."
Along with her England duties, it's been an action packed year at club level for Toni since joining Manchester City from Everton Ladies. "I've loved every minute of my first season," she says with a smile.
"It's been a rollercoaster but it ended on a high with the win in the Continental Cup. It was a massive achievement for the club, for the team and for everyone that's got behind us. It was a nice way to pay them back with silverware."
Toni and her club teammates can now look forward to training alongside the men at the hugely impressive £200m City Football Academy. The 23-year-old pays particular attention to Sergio Aguero - one of two strikers who've made a big impression on her career.
"I get to see Sergio every week and he's a great player. When I was younger I was always watching Michael Owen. At his peak he was the best around. I'd be out in the street replicating the goals he scored, like in the FA Cup Final. He's definitely one of my idols.
"Now I get kids tweeting me or contacting me on other social media saying they want to be like me, copying my hairstyles. That's what makes it really touching and makes you realise how far you've come yourself and how far women's football has come.
"I never had those role models when I was younger. I probably knew Rachel Yankey and Faye Smith but I didn't really get to see them other than the cup final once a year - that was about it."
Times have changed with Toni Duggan and her England team mates the new poster girls for a generation. And there are busier and surely better times ahead. After the Germany game, Toni and the rest of the squad will have a break before returning to their clubs for pre-season training. A busy domestic season will then be followed by the World Cup next summer, and Toni cannot wait: "I've never been to Canada and my family are planning to come out as well. It's so exciting!"
Interesting times ahead then for a goalscorer who's admired for her movement and fleet of foot on the pitch. Maybe a rumoured background in Morris dancing has something to do with her skills?
"It was years ago and I only did it for about a year," she laughs. "But it is true though yeah. If you asked the other girls though, they wouldn't say I'm the best on the dance floor. They think it's a lie!"
Toni Duggan was talking to Continental Tyres, official partner to England Women and the FA WSL.
It has been an incredible week for Glasgow City, seven days which have seen them reach the UEFA Women's Champions League quarter finals for the first time in their history, complete another treble by beating Spartans 5-0 in the Scottish Cup Final, and then learning they have drawn Paris Saint Germain in the last eight in Europe.
Jo Love has played a huge part in the success by scoring a crucial goal against FC Zurich and adding a further two in the Cup Final. She reflected on an amazing few days and looked ahead to the prospect of facing the powerful French side:
Many congratulations, another year, another treble for Glasgow City, does it feel better every time you achieve it?
It certainly does, as it gets harder for us every year. The teams in our league are getting better and making massive improvements all the time, but it's pleasing for us to see we are still that step ahead at the minute. We never get tired of winning and are always striving for more success.
After your recent league defeat to Spartans, was there an extra incentive for the team going into the Cup Final?
Of course there was! We knew we had let ourselves down that day and we were determined that we would take our chances this time round. In the league, and luckily for us, that game never cost us any harm. With a Scottish Cup Final, you don't get another chance to make it right.
Do you feel that the 5-0 scoreline reflected the way the team played on the day?
I think so. I feel we started sluggish, however we prevented Spartans from creating much and ultimately took our chances. It could have put a spoiler on the whole season if we hadn't won!
Fiona Brown opened things up with a superb first goal, she is looking a great prospect who has been in top form recently?
Fiona has always been a great player and one our team has feared coming up against when she played for Celtic! It's a delight to have her at the club and I'm sure she will go far in the game. She is still only young and has a great future ahead of her. I also have to mention Denise O'Sullivan, who scored at the weekend too; she's had a cracking season for us. It takes a whole team however, and I think everyone at our club is a credit to Glasgow City.
This of course completed a perfect week for the club, have you had time to reflect on the Champions League and Cup Final wins?
There was a quote that was used, coming to the end of our season there ("Those who create history do not have time to write about it") and we feel that this rather suited us at the minute! We've been fortunate that there has always been other games for us to concentrate on; like Champions League straight into the cup final. Now we have stopped for a couple of weeks break, we can all let our achievements sink in and be proud of, not just the perfect week, but almost the perfect the season we just had.
How did those last ten minutes against FC Zurich rank among the highlights in your career?
I will never forget them! To go through such a wide range of emotions isn't good for you, let me tell you!! The good thing about our team is that we always believe. I have never felt joy like it once the final whistle went…didn't know whether to laugh or cry! That's a game I will remember for the rest of my life, and I'm glad it was for all the right reasons.
We now know that you will have to play Paris St Germain, what do you think about the prospect of taking them on?
PSG will be a really tough draw but there wasn't going to be an easy draw in that pot. Going by the reaction, everyone seems to be delighted. We have the ambition to do well and we will enjoy being tested against one of the best teams in the world.
Photo - Andy Buist
East Midlands League
On Wednesday night, Mansfield Hosiery Mills inflicted a first defeat of the season on Underwood Villa in Division One North. Amy Jones was on target twice along with Kate Pawlitta to give Mansfield a 3-1 victory which lifts them up into fourth place, one position behind Underwood.
Eastern Region League
One match was played in the Premier Division on Sunday, AFC Dunstable picking up an important 2-1 win against Haringey Borough. Tamara Bayne and Danielle Carty netted the goals for Dunstable, with Haringey replying through Marianne Sheena.
In Division One South, Offley & Stopsley leapfrogged Stevenage Ladies Res into third place by beating them 3-1. Holly Flynn, Charlene Moreton and Rianne Townsend-Brown were on the scoresheet for Offley while Stevenage's consolation came from Kierra Gabriel.
London & South East League
Fulham FC Foundation have opened up a four-point lead at the top of the Premier Division with a 9-2 victory over Kikk Utd. Kirsty Percival hit a hat-trick for the league leaders with Gemma Fraser, Chloe Greer, Emma Lawrence, Verity Snow, Megan Lovelock and Megan Ward adding the others (see match report).
There was also a solitary match in Division One (London), Tottenham Hotspur Development moving themselves towards mid-table as they edged out Regents Park Rangers 3-2. Amy Sinden was on target twice along with Chloe Ahmet, with Regents Park replying through Laura Cruz and Dominique Smith.
North East League
County Cup duties and postponements ensured that just one game took place in the league on Sunday. In the Northern Division, Lowick Utd closed to within three points of the top two by defeating Prudhoe Town 3-1. Amy Hately, Jodie Robinson and Michelle Stewart all netted a goal apiece for Lowick after Prudhoe had taken a first half lead through Catherine Johnson.
North West League
Crewe Alexandra put an end to league leaders Blackburn Community's nine-match winning start to the season as they beat them 5-3. Michelle Saunders bagged a hat-trick along with Levi Lander and Amanda Fallon as Crewe ended Blackburn's 35-match unbeaten run to consolidate themselves in third place, behind Blackpool Wren Rovers who remain in second following an 8-1 victory away to Birkenhead. Nikki Berko led the scoring with a four-goal haul, Anisha Bateman weighed in with a brace and there was one apiece from Carly Loughran and Fiona Dransfield. Lauren Oatley scored twice along with Rhiannon Davies and Charlotte Banner as Blackpool ran out 4-0 winners at Northwich Vixens whilst Preston North End and Bolton Wanderers finished level at 1-1.
The top of the table clash in Division One (North) went the way of Penrith AFC who defeated CMB Ladies 3-1. All of Penrith's goals came in the first half, Nat Broad netting twice along with Demi Fisher to take them six points clear of their opponents. Stockport County Blues were 2-1 winners away to Carlisle Utd whilst Workington Reds celebrated their first victory of the season in style, 5-0 against Leigh RMI. Georgia Wilson and Hayley Bracken each scored twice for the Reds with Chloe Henderson also on target.
In Division One (South), Stockport County Res are up into third place after they edged out Liverpool Marshalls Feds Reds by the odd goal in seven. AFC Liverpool sit level on points with Stockport but two places below them following their 3-2 success away to Macclesfield Town.
South West League
Ilminster Town narrowed the gap on Eastern Division leaders Bishop's Lydeard to four points with a 2-1 win away to Cleeve West Town. Jenny Frost and Lesley Spearing were on target for Ilminster with Cleeve's consolation coming from Anneka Hawkins. Meanwhile, Rosie Bostock hit a hat-trick as Keynsham Town Res lifted themselves off the bottom by winning 3-1 at Taunton Town, who replied through Laura Currie.
In the Western Division, Charlestown defeated Launceston 4-2 to move to within three points of table toppers Marine Academy Plymouth. Kelly Semmens netted twice along with Amber Hadrill and Rhiannon Player, Launceston's goals being scored by Chloe Williams. Dobwalls claimed their first league victory of the season when beating Illogan Ladies 4-2, thanks to a Sam Blake hat-trick and Lindsey Harris.
Southern Region League
In the one match to go ahead in the league on Sunday, Tower Hill moved themselves out of the bottom two in Division One and into a mid-table position with a 4-0 victory over Ascot Utd. Samantha Bevan-Talbot scored a first half hat-trick for the Witney-based side and Katherine Wright added the fourth.
Bradford City extended their lead in the Northern Division to seven points after winning 5-0 away to Leeds Ladies. Aqsa Mushtaq netted a brace along with Chloe Broadbent, Abigail Lee and Zoe Roberts. Second placed Newcastle Utd went down to a 3-0 defeat at home to Sheffield FC for whom Nikki Hogg (2) and Chloe Dixon were on target.
Wolverhampton Wanderers have taken over at the top of the Midland Division after beating FC Reedswood 6-0. Jade Cross hit a hat-trick with Harriet James, Samantha Berry and Jordon Pendleton adding the others. Previous leaders Coventry City were defeated 2-1 by Derby County whose goals came from Cecilia Webb and Dayna Randall.
Whitney Locke scored a hat-trick and Jade Smith a brace as West Ham Utd won 5-3 at Brighton & Hove Albion to go four points clear in the Southern Division. Lauren Knight netted the only goal for C & K Basildon in their 1-0 victory over Gillingham whilst Crystal Palace beat Chichester City 6-1.
Arsenal have a three point lead in Group One of the FA WSL Development League Cup after defeating London Bees 4-0. They lead from Millwall Lionesses and Reading FC Women who won 1-0 against Watford with a goal from Eloise Wilson.
Group Two leaders Liverpool scored ten without reply past Durham Women, spearheaded by a four-goal haul from Ashley Hodson. Claudia Walker contributed a brace with Mollie Green, Katie Zelem, Jessica Davenport and Beth Donoghue adding one apiece. Sunderland keep pace with the Reds after Tyler Dodds and Elizabeth McCubbin gave them a 2-1 victory over Manchester City. Emily Hollinshead and Laura Mitchell scored for Everton as they drew 2-2 with Doncaster Rovers Belles, who replied through a brace from Molly Storey.
Poppy Jones, Abbey-Leigh Stringer and Iszora Rageh all found the net as Birmingham City won 3-0 against Notts County to keep them three points ahead in Group Three from Yeovil Town, who were 1-0 victors at Bristol Academy thanks to a Katie Horsburgh goal. Aston Villa beat Oxford Utd 6-0 with Natasha Baptiste on target five times, Beth Merrick adding the other.
Bristol Academy can confirm that Natasha Harding has left the club for a move to Washington Spirit who play in the NWSL.
Speaking about leaving Bristol, Natasha said: "I want to say a massive thank you to Bristol Academy for giving me the opportunity to be a part of the club for the past three years.
"Thank you to the supporters who have been incredible. I also want to thank Dave Edmondson for this year, he has developed me as a player even more and as a person. Last but not least I would like to thank each and every one of the girls. They mean the world to me and I will miss each and every one of them.
"However, I am very excited to start a new chapter with Washington Spirit and believe that this challenge will be great for my career."
Bristol Academy Manager, Dave Edmondson said: "It is with a mixture of sadness and excitement that we say farewell to Tash as she heads to Washington Spirit in the NWSL.
"Tash will be missed both on and off the field as much for her drive and commitment as her pace and attacking threat but the opportunity to experience life and play in the NWSL is one she can't pass up.
"Tash will remain close to the heart of BAWFC and she knows we will follow her progress in the states and we wish her well in this new endeavour.
All the staff and players at Bristol Academy WFC would like to thank Natasha for her valuable contribution to the club and wish her the best of luck for the future.
When Steph Houghton makes history by leading out her country before a huge Wembley crowd and the watching TV millions, she won't be feeling pressure, just overwhelming relief that she managed to get tickets for her family and friends.
Fifty five thousand tickets were snapped up for the forthcoming England v Germany tie - the first time the women's team has played at the national stadium - and that figure would've been easily surpassed had transport issues not curtailed capacity.
"I had a real panic with the ticket situation," Steph said. "But I've managed to get all the tickets I needed, so I've got about 30 people coming down from the north east. They always come and watch me whether it's playing for Manchester City or England. They wouldn't miss this game for the earth.
"I'm still getting loads of messages on twitter about tickets - I can't get any more tickets - it's ridiculous!"
Such was demand for the friendly fixture against the two-time World Champions; it's reckoned the attendance would've overtaken the 73,000 who watched Team GB women beat Brazil during the London Olympics. Steph scored the winner that day and believes the women's game is now benefiting from that legacy.
"It's amazing to sell so many tickets," said the 26-year-old centre-back. "But I think it shows just how much promotion we've had for this game and how much women's football has come on, especially over the last two years since the Olympics.
"The interest has grown and the media are trying to push it so it just shows that, as players, we're doing a really good job on the pitch. Behind the scenes, people are promoting it the right way to allow fans to come and enjoy it."
It's been a whirlwind year for the former Sunderland, Leeds and Arsenal star. Now a full time professional, Steph captained City to Continental Cup victory last month and is enjoying the state-of-the-art facilities at the new City Football Academy.
"If you're a young girl now, you've got so many opportunities in women's football. There's a very exciting feeling around women's football and not just among the players.
"The staff and coaches that are coming in to the game want to do it properly and professionally. It's great for the international set up as well as we've got young girls getting coached properly from a young age so hopefully in the future we'll have a lot of stars coming through," Steph added.
After the Germany game, all the players will enjoy their end of season break before reporting back for club duty in the New Year. Then a busy club season will run into next summer's World Cup in Canada.
"The next six months is going to be crucial in how we prepare. We'll have a few friendly games and we've just got to make sure that all the hard work we do in the gym or on the training pitch is worth it when you step out on a World Cup stage."
It's been a long road for the modern day 'Gregory's Girl' - Steph played in the boy's team at her County Durham primary school - and she's convinced the game is on the cusp of something special.
"We aspire to be the best professionals on and off the pitch and we are lucky that we can call this our job. If you'd said that to me five or six years ago I'd have laughed.
"But it has changed. We now have to make sure we have a really competitive league in England and internationally we're consistently qualifying for big tournaments which shows improvement. We've got bigger steps to take."
Steph Houghton was talking to Continental Tyres, official partner to England Women and the FA WSL.
England and Northern Ireland will be in the same qualifying group for next summer's UEFA Under-19 Championship Finals in Israel.
Switzerland and Norway complete the group line up and the matches will take place in Northern Ireland between 4-9 April 2015, with only the top-placed nation in the group making it through to the finals, which will be held in Israel in July.
Scotland meanwhile have a tough task to get past Germany, Belgium and Ukraine if they are to keep up their good record of qualifying for the Finals in recent years.
Elite qualifying round draw:
England Under-17 have been drawn alongside Republic of Ireland, Hungary and Holland in the Elite Qualifying Round for this season's UEFA Women's Under-17 Championships.
John Griffiths's side eased into this final stage by winning all three first round qualifiers, against Moldova, Bulgaria and Russia. The matches will take place in Republic of Ireland between 9-14 April. The finals will be staged in Iceland in June.
Scotland meanwhile were confirmed as the third place qualifiers for the round and they have been drawn in the same group as France, Poland and Slovakia.
England finished fourth at last year's Euros, a tournament hosted on home soil to help mark the FA's 150th anniversary. Germany won the title, beating Spain in the Final at Chesterfield.
Elite qualifying round draw:
Bristol Academy and Glasgow City will both face stiff opposition in the quarter finals of the UEFA Women's Champions League.
Academy face the difficult task of travelling away in the first leg to play twice European Champions FFC Frankfurt whilst Glasgow City face one of the toughest and most glamorous ties, drawing French giants Paris Saint Germain, playing at home in the first leg.
Frankfurt have an outstanding record in the competition and brushed aside Italian side AS Torres Calcio in the last round. Their side has featured former Academy midfielder and Wales captain Jessica Fishlock, who is currently on loan with the German giants from Seattle Reign.
The well renowned French side meanwhile defeated two time former winners, and four time finalists in the last five years, Olympique Lyonnais in the last sixteen and will present City with one of their biggest ever challenges in Europe's most elite club competition. Both British teams are appearing in the quarter finals for the first time in their history.
Commenting on the draw, City Head Coach Eddie Wolecki Black said: "At this stage of the competition you are always expecting a tough tie. There was never going to be an easy game in the quarter finals of the Champions League. What I can say is that it is good for travel, we will get plenty information on them and what an exciting game for any player to have at any stage of their career.
"There is no doubt we are massive underdogs in the tie, but as PSG proved in the last round sometimes underdogs can win. It is a massive game for our club and also for our game and home City and hopefully one which Scotland can embrace and get behind us in numbers."
The ties are set to be played on 21/22 and 28/29 March and ticket details for the home legs are set to be announced shortly.
Quarter final draw in full:
FFC Frankfurt (Germany) v Bristol Academy (England)
VfL Wolfsburg (Germany) v FC Rosengard (Sweden)
Glasgow City (Scotland) v Paris Saint Germain (France)
Linkopings FC (Sweden) v Brondby IF (Denmark)
FAW Women's Cup holders Cardiff Met Ladies have been drawn away to Swansea City in the quarter finals, in what will be a repeat of last season's Final.
This is the only all-Welsh Premier Women's League tie but the three other sides all have home ties against opponents from a lower league.
Quarter final draw: (ties to be played on Sunday 15th February)
Cardiff City FC v Denbigh Town
Llandudno Ladies v Cyncoed Ladies
Swansea City v Cardiff Met Ladies
Wrexham v Pontypridd Town
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