There is no change at the top of the Scottish Women's Premier League as the joint leaders both recorded important victories to step up their title challenges.
Glasgow City remain on top of the table on goal difference following a 2-0 victory away to Spartans. City took the lead after only 20 seconds on the clock when Denise O'Sullivan finished from close range after City went on the offensive straight from kick off. An own goal on 34 minutes secured the points after Abbi Grant sent a looping effort towards the back post following a Leanne Ross corner, which the Spartans rearguard could only knock into their own net.
Hibernian are still keeping pace with them in second place after they picked up a fine 1-0 win over Celtic. A second half header from Siobhan Hunter gave Hibs a precious victory, their 12th in 13 matches in the league.
Aberdeen are back up into third place, courtesy of a 2-0 win against Rangers who are one of the teams that they have climbed above. Both of the goals came in the last fifteen minutes, Rachael Small putting the Dons in front from the penalty spot and Hannah Stewart clinching the points via a 25-yard strike shortly afterwards.
Stirling University remain as the leading side in the bottom section of the table after they defeated Hutchison Vale 2-0. Rachel Donaldson opened the scoring for Stirling with Rebecca Robertson adding the second to give their side a three point lead over their nearest rivals.
This is because Hearts lost a little ground when they went down to a 1-0 defeat at home to Hamilton Academical. Courtney McAvoy grabbed the only goal of the game to earn the Accies three important points which lift them out of the bottom two.
Forfar Farmington moved themselves closer towards the mid-table positions by scoring seven times without reply against Inverness City. Holly Napier and Keira Johnstone ensured that Forfar led by two goals at half time and after the break, Amy Gallacher added a third and Tori Sousa increased her side's lead on her debut. Lindsey Dunbar and Jade McLaren also got on the scoresheet before Napier rounded off the win with her second goal late on.
Photo - Glasgow City's Nicky Docherty takes on Sarah Ewens of Spartans (Tommy Hughes).
Emma Hayes savoured the moment of winning her first major trophy as Chelsea manager and said that their SSE Women's FA Cup triumph had come after a lot of hard work and some heartache.
"I'm speechless," she said after the game. "I've dreamt about this day my whole life and the dream has come true. Sometimes, dreams can be big disappointments, but this one wasn't.
"To do it with a team we have been building for three years now, watching it evolve and improve and get better. "We've been in losing situations before, especially the last day of last season and in two semi finals - and for them to actually cross the line today is as a coach always a rewarding moment.
"In the first ten minutes it took us a little time to settle down. It was hot out there but if you keep the ball and use the full width of the pitch, which we did at times, it is a big help and I thought we scored at a crucial time of the game.
"I think we could have scored more but that's been the story of us this season and why we brought Fran Kirby into the club because, for the amount we create - especially on the counter attack - we should score a lot more than we do. But when you haven't won a trophy and there's a lot at stake, yes we have got some experienced players and some young players in the dressing room who haven't been at this level before, as a coach, for them to manage the game was the most pleasing part. They had the discipline to carry out what we needed them to do for ninety minutes and we had subs to come into the game to see it through. I am so proud of my players today."
Chelsea have now landed their first major trophy in the women's game and for Emma, the personal triumph was also tinged with some relief. "I don't have to be ferried around in a golf cart any more as a manager without a trophy," she quipped. "I can walk with pride from corridor to corridor.
"I've always said that one of our missions was to educate and integrate the girls into the whole club. Chelsea is about winning and so to join that illustrious crew means I can join the players dinner next year and not feel like a spare part. I'm very happy and hope we build on this, which I think we will do.
"I felt we were in control of [the game] for the whole time and kept pushing the players to squeeze Notts County into difficult areas, knowing that we weren't particularly threatened by their pace in behind us. We had dynamic players in wide areas in Gemma and Eni who, when they are given good situations, can create opportunties but it's all about staying patient.
"Before the game, I've never had so many players pat me on the back and say 'don't worry about this one coach, we've got it' and that's golden because you spend so much time motivating them and talking to them. I knew it was going to be our day today, we were ready to grow up as a club and I'm just delighted for the players who are enjoying themselves in the changing room.
"The big players show up on big occasions and the spine of the team was good because Notts County have got a lot of physical players and when they lob the ball up to Rachel Williams, it's very difficult to deal with. But I don't think that Gilly Flaherty and Niamh Fahey lost a single header, nor did Katie Chapman and Millie Bright in front of them.
"Once you have that strong spine and the keeper is not tested, you still have the likes of Ji who has got such a wonderful head. She holds the ball up and changes direction so often, she's a magician in possession and I'm very proud of her because it's not easy to come to England from Korea - there's a lot of criticism sometimes for Asian players who come into this culture but she's a little street fighter and was determined to be on the winning team today."
Notts County manager Rick Passmoor was generous in defeat and admitted that the better side had won on the day. "We started well," he said, "however it turned dramatically midway through the first half. They kept the ball and retained possession and caused us a few problems. During that period when you're on top, you must score and I think that was that the difference - their front three caused us problems and ours didn't have their normal standard of game.
"That's where we lost it in terms of if we did get back in, even if it had been through huffing and puffing, in the second half we didn't have that zip and excitement in the top third.
"However at 1-0 you are always in with a chance with our set plays and corners and maybe then later on, a little bit of a 'hail Mary' into the box and if Fiona O'Sullivan had connected it could have been a little different. I can't knock the players, their effort was fantastic.
"I'm proud of my players, proud of this football club, knowing full well that it will get you somewhere when you are organised and hard to beat - but you've got add a little more to it and I think you could see that today. We've got the players, we've just got to learn from this experience and hopefully not only plaudits to Chelsea but to Notts County, and the people of Nottingham can see what we are trying to do and trying to achieve."
Chelsea 1 (Ji So-Yun 37) Notts County 0
att: 30,710; at Wembley Stadium
Chelsea won their first major trophy as a solitary first half goal from Ji So-Yun gave them victory in the SSE Women's FA Cup Final at Wembley.
The victory was a deserved one for Emma Hayes' side who created the majority of chances throughout the match and, in truth, were rarely threatened by Notts County who worked hard but could not pierce a solid Chelsea defence.
The opening stages of the game were understandably cagey and as a result, neither side had any sights on goal. County had the better of possession and looked the more settled side at that time but the first opportunity of note came Chelsea's way on the 21 minute mark when Ji So-Yun floated a free kick into the area and Niamh Fahey scooped her volley over the bar.
A hooked ball into the area by Ellen White caused uncertainty in the Chelsea area for a moment but Hannah Blundell was well placed to clear. However it was Chelsea who came close to breaking the deadlock on the half hour when Gemma Davison threaded a great pass for Eniola Aluko who took the ball past the oncoming Carly Telford but the angle was too acute and her shot hit the side netting.
Aluko again threatened when, after her initial pass had been intercepted, she won the ball back off Laura Bassett and stung the hands of Telford with a strike from the edge of the area.
Chelsea should have been in front on 35 minutes though as Aluko found space on the left and her far post cross reached Davison who looked certain to score, however the winger - with the goal gaping - somehow managed to put her shot wide of the far post.
The increasing pressure was to tell just two minutes later though, Millie Bright's pass feeding Aluko on the left and the striker got past Amy Turner before she rolled the ball to Ji So-Yun who, despite the efforts of Telford and Alex Greenwood, kept her composure to tuck the ball into the net for the opening goal.
Chelsea could have had another chance in the opening minute of the second half but Davison's cross came at too awkward a height for Aluko to turn goalwards.
The Blues continued to look comfortable until the hour mark when County produced their first serious efforts on goal. First, a corner was cleared as far as the edge of the area where Desiree Scott's deflected shot was inches past the post with Hedvig Lindahl seemingly beaten. The resulting kick was met by Leanne Crichton whose goalbound header was cleared off the line by Davison.
Back came Chelsea with Aluko breaking into the area on the right but her low ball was just intercepted by Walton before it could reach Davison. Chapman did well to win the ball back and work herself an opening but her 25-yard shot flew over the bar.
The Blues came even closer two minutes later as Aluko drove a low shot which looked to be arrowing towards the corner of the net but Telford came to her side's rescue with an excellent diving save.
Another great chance fell Chelsea's way on 72 minutes, from a corner which was returned back across goal by Fahey, Aluko's flick picked out an unmarked Gilly Flaherty in front of goal but she shot over the bar from point blank range.
County introduced Aileen Whelan as a substitute and she was quickly involved, chasing a long ball into the area but was unable to direct her shot on target.
Drew Spence fired a shot wide as Chelsea began to run down the clock in the dying minutes and County were unable to fashion a chance to take the game into extra time, Chelsea celebrations starting on the final whistle to mark the best day in the club's history to date.
Chelsea: Hedvig Lindahl, Hannah Blundell, Claire Rafferty, Millie Bright, Gilly Flaherty, Niamh Fahey, Gemma Davison, Katie Chapman, Eniola Aluko (sub Ana Marques Borges 80mins), Ji So-Yun (sub Laura Coombs 89mins), Drew Spence. Subs not used: Marie Hourihan, Jodie Brett, Marija Banusic.
Notts County: Carly Telford, Sophie Walton, Alex Greenwood, Danielle Buet (sub Aileen Whelan 75mins), Laura Bassett, Amy Turner, Jess Clarke, Rachel Williams (sub Dunia Susi 55mins), Ellen White, Leanne Crichton (sub Fiona O'Sullivan 82mins), Desiree Scott. Subs not used: Ashleigh Plumptre, Laura-Jayne O'Neill.
Photos by www.jamesprickett.co.uk:
(top) Drew Spence holds off Amy Turner
(middle) Eniola Aluko celebrates as Ji So-Yun scores the only goal of the game
(bottom) Chelsea with the SSE Women's FA Cup
A landmark female football participation programme has secured an additional year's funding after it exceeded its target player numbers.
More than £3,700,000 of joint FA and Sport England investment will be allocated to the programme by July 2016. The two-year scheme was launched in 2013 and aimed to get 40,000 women and girls aged 14 and over to start, and continue, playing football.
The initiative has been spearheaded by the FA, Sport England, Premier League and Football League Trust and is the first time that all four organisations have worked on a project of this kind. Sessions have been delivered through the Premier League and Football League member clubs across the country.
In the two years, the programme has attracted 42,462 new players into football, with an additional 21,060 new players targeted in year three.
The funding will be marked at the SSE Women's FA Cup Final on Saturday 1st August where Sports Minister Tracey Crouch joined FA Chairman Greg Dyke, Chelsea head of communications and community affairs Emma Wilkinson, Football League chief executive Shaun Harvey and director of Sport England Phil Smith, along with two youth players from the programmes will take part in a photo shoot on the Wembley pitch at half time.
It is hoped that the programme will continue to drive participation for women's and girls' football and enable the sport to become the second largest team sport in the country behind men's football, a key objective of The FA's Game Changer strategy, a five year plan launched in October 2012.
Kelly Simmons, FA football participation and development director, said: "Growing the numbers of women and girls playing football is one of our key priorities at the FA and this programme is making a significant impact on these numbers.
"One of the biggest challenges we face with teenage girls and young women is not just getting them to play, but keeping them playing. This initiative has addressed this and it's great to see so many young women playing regularly as a result.
"This is an excellent example of partners working together to deliver an innovative and effective programme, while the development of the women's game also becoming an important part of professional clubs' plans."
Sport England's Director of Sport, Phil Smith, said: "Today we're celebrating the national pinnacle of women's football, so it's fitting to be able to announce additional funding for this fantastic grassroots programme. Through it, we want more women and girls across England to be able to play a part in a sport that so many know and love.
"It's not just about going out on the pitch once and having a kick about. We want them to have a quality experience so that they can continue to enjoy football for as long as they want to. That is why this partnership is so important.
"As the final whistle blows, there will be women and girls wanting to get involved. This programme gives them that opportunity."
The funding will be celebrated with an FA Junior Fanzone with Continental Tyres at Powerleague Wembley before the game. Players that have participated in the programme will take part in a mini tournament before watching the Cup Final.
Premier League Executive Chairman, Richard Scudamore, said: "This event is one part of the Premier League Girls Football Programme which provides a variety of opportunities for girls to get involved in community sport initiatives run by our Clubs.
"In the last year alone this programme has resulted in a 47 per cent increase in the number of girls taking part in Premier League club community projects, and the new funding will help our clubs further grow sports participation amongst women and girls."
Football League chief executive Shaun Harvey, said: "The Football League Trust's Female Football Development Programme has a strong emphasis on 'fun' 'friends' and 'fitness' which has proved very successful in getting new players involved in the women's game.
"With strong foundations built by the Football League Trust over the last two years, this expansion of the Female Development Programme will see even more women and girls benefitting from football via our League club network."
Leah Williamson has signed a new long term contract with Arsenal.
The 18-year-old midfielder, who first joined the club's academy aged nine, has established herself as a key part of the first team over the past two seasons.
Her standout performances last term - when she played in 13 of 14 Women's Super League games as well as the FA Women's Cup Final victory over Everton - earned her the PFA Women's Young Player of the Year award.
An England youth international, Williamson has captained her country at several age groups. She helped secure England's place at the UEFA Women's Under-19 European Championship earlier this year by scoring a retaken penalty five days after it had initially been awarded.
The FA and SSE announced that England Women's head coach Mark Sampson will present the trophy to the winning team at The SSE Women's FA Cup Final on Saturday 1st August.
Chelsea Ladies and Notts County Ladies go head to head at the Final (3.00pm kick off), which will be held at Wembley Stadium connected by EE for the first time in the history of the competition.
Sampson, who managed the Lionesses to a historic third place finish at the FIFA Women's World Cup 2015, has accepted the invitation from The FA and SSE to present the trophy to the winning captain from the Royal Box.
Kelly Simmons, FA football development and participation director, said: "Thanks to their historic World Cup campaign, Mark, his staff and the entire England team really made the country pay attention to women's football.
"It's fitting that he is presenting The SSE Women's FA Cup Trophy to the winning team on another landmark occasion for the game, when we host the Final at Wembley for the first time."
Alan Young, SSE Managing Director of Corporate Affairs said: "SSE's support for the women's game is driven by the aim of making a difference to the future of women's football and helping ensure women's potential is fulfilled in every walk of life.
"The Lionesses efforts at the World Cup captured the imagination of the nation and Mark's involvement in presenting the trophy at The SSE Women's FA Cup Final is a fitting tribute to that."
Tickets are still available for the Final, which is expected to attract a record competition crowd of 30,000, via www.thefa.com/tickets. The match will also be live on BBC One.
FA Women's Premier League club C & K Basildon and Forest Glade Girls FC have announced the formation of a unique and innovative strategic partnership designed to help girls playing grass roots football to their full potential.
Believed to be the only such partnership arrangement in Essex, the link up will mean that players at Forest Glade Girls will be supported in their development by expertise and professionalism that is usually only available to players at the most senior level of the women's game.
Initially to be available to the Under-14 teams for the 2015-16 season (and extended to additional age groups in following seasons), the support can include training and fitness development, together with coaching support and mentoring from C & K Basildon's highly experienced and qualified management and coaching team, headed by Steve Tilson. In addition, Forest Glade Girls will benefit from the advice and encouragement of senior C & K Basildon players.
Derrick Pearson, Chairman of Forest Glade FC, said: "We are truly excited to join in this partnership with a team of the prestige, professionalism and record of success of C & K Basildon Ladies FC. We have had girls teams at Forest Glade for six seasons and are committed to continue to develop our Girls section by providing the best possible development environment for our players. I believe that by entering into this partnership, we are showing how seriously the managers and coaches at Forest Glade take this commitment."
Peter King, managing director of C & K Basildon Ladies, added: "At C & K Basildon Ladies we recognise that, as the leading ladies team in Essex, we take greater responsibility to support the development of the women's game and it is a responsibility that I and my management team, headed by Steve Tilson, enthusiastically accept.
"In our discussions with Forest Glade Girls, we quickly found that the two clubs had a shared passion to provide the best possible support to girls and women as they develop in the game and we are delighted to work with Forest Glade in this partnership."
Yeovil Town 0 Bristol Academy 3 (Passariello 12, Weir 23, Murray 79)
Bristol Academy picked up their second consecutive victory in the Continental Tyres Cup when two goals in the opening quarter of the game set them on the way in their local derby match.
The game started slowly with Yeovil narrowly having the better of matters in the opening stages before Academy opened the scoring in their first meaningful attack. Caroline Weir cut in from the right and drove a shot which was parried by Alice Evans and Sharla Passariello followed up to tuck home the rebound.
Yeovil responded well to the initial setback with Natasha Knapman sending a far post header wide from Ann Marie Heatherson's cross but the goal had settled Academy with Weir at the centre of things and it was no surprise that the Scottish international was at the heart of their second goal. Following a foul on Christie Murray, Weir curled a 30-yard free kick into the area which was missed by everyone and bounced past an unsighted Evans to double the lead.
A free kick at the other end almost led to a way back into the game for the home side but Helen Bleazard's strike was tipped past the post by Mary Earps.
Hannah Short had a shot saved at the other end following a corner as Academy comfortably saw the first half out and took their two-goal lead into the interval.
Murray drove a shot over from 25 yards but it was at the other end, on the hour mark, where Yeovil were inches away from pulling a goal back. Sarah Wiltshire had looked lively throughout the game but had been largely well shackled by the Academy defence until she cut in from the left touchline and beat two challenges before planting a left foot shot which beat Earps but came back off the bar.
Murray then got the ball into the net from Angharad James' pass but an offside flag ruled out the effort but Yeovil were now committed forward and were again to go close. Wiltshire floated a delightful cross to the far post where Heatherson's header brought out a tremendous reaction save from Earps. Stacey Pearson tried her luck with a curling effort from 25 yards but a backpedalling Earps was again equal to the task, tipping the ball over the bar.
Passariello fired a shot wide for Academy but shortly afterwards, the result was put beyond doubt when a back pass from Nicola Cousins was latched onto by Murray who made no mistake with only Evans to beat.
Murray again went close with a header from a Sophie Ingle cross as Academy finished the game in control and on top of the group with maximum points from two matches.
Yeovil Town: Alice Evans, Helen Bleazard, Stacey Pearson, Sammy Quayle, Nicola Cousins, Natalie Haigh, Sarah Wiltshire, Stephanie Williams, Ann Marie Heatherson, Ellie Curson (sub Emily Donovan 86mins), Natasha Knapman (sub Alys Hinchcliffe 68mins). Subs not used: Charlotte Haynes, Shauna Cossens, Corinne Yorston, Sarah Hill, Ebony Dover.
Bristol Academy: Mary Earps, Angharad James, Lauren Townsend (sub Tatiana Pinto 74mins), Sophie Ingle, Marije Brummel (sub Frankie Brown 45mins), Hannah Short, Caroline Weir, Hayley Ladd, Christie Murray, Sharla Passariello (sub Nadia Lawrence 74mins), Georgia Evans. Subs not used: Hannah Reid, Katie Jones, Evdokia Popadinova.
(top) Sarah Wiltshire is halted by a good challenge from Hannah Short
(middle) Mary Earps claims a corner under pressure from Nicola Cousins
(bottom) Sophie Ingle holds off the attentions of Ellie Curson
Aston Villa 1 (Wilkinson 87) Birmingham City 7 (Allen 26,59, Linnett 41, Carney pen 45, Potter 67,72, Wellings 90)
Aston Villa fell to their second consecutive Continental Cup Group Three defeat against an impressive and clinical Birmingham City at Coles Lane.
The claret and blues more than held their own for just under half an hour with goalkeeper Jess Myers continuing her recent good form. She saved well from Potter's free kick, and two efforts from Kirsty Linnett - the latter after she was picked out by an inch-perfect long range pass from Carney.
Their pressure soon told and they took the lead after 27 minutes when Remi Allen tucked home Carney's cross from the left.
Villa could have been level five minutes before the break. Elisha N'Dow's wonderful ball downfield found debutant Mollie Rouse but the youngster's shot was held.
Two goals in quick succession saw Villa head into half time three goals down. The first came as Mel Lawley's right wing cross was tapped home by Linnett - atoning for her earlier missed opportunities.
In first half stoppage time, Lauren Haynes was adjudged to have fouled Carney in the box and she stepped up to send the unfortunate Myers the wrong way.
To their great credit, the home side were out early for the second half and came very close to reducing the deficit from the restart. Katie Wilkinson's free kick from distance clipped the woodwork - an effort which earned applause from the Coles Lane faithful.
Much like in the first half, the top flight team grew into the half and began to dictate play. Former Blues stopper Myers clawed away a close range Potter effort and shortly after, blocked Lawley's shot with her legs.
Their fourth goal arrived on the hour - Allen firing home her second as Villa failed to deal with a ball into the box. A quickfire double from Potter increased the advantage, first she was picked out in the box by Linnett and her powerdriver beat Myers then, just six minutes later, her wonderful first time curling shot made it six.
Occupying the lone striker role, Wilkinson worked tirelessly for her side and got her just rewards as she headed home a late consolation from a corner after Beth Merrick's fine long range strike was clawed around the post by Rebecca Spencer.
Substitute Charlie Wellings completed the scoring in second half stoppage time to seal the Blues' second win in a matter of days.
Aston Villa: Jess Myers, Maddy Cusack (sub Abi Cottam 56mins) Lauren Haynes, Elisha N'Dow, Emily Owen, Hannah George, Alicia Robinson (sub Abbey Leigh Stringer 66mins), Sherry McCue, Mollie Rouse (sub Olivia Fergusson 83mins), Beth Merrick, Katie Wilkinson. Subs not used: Laura Cooper, Amy West, Georgia Griffiths, Chloe Beattie.
Birmingham City: Rebecca Spencer, Alex Windell, Aoife Mannion, Kerys Harrop, Jess Carter, Remi Allen (sub Charlie Wellings 76mins), Jade Moore (sub Coral-Jade Haines 76mins), Jo Potter, Mel Lawley, Kirsty Linnett, Karen Carney (sub Emily Westwood 76mins). Subs not used: Meaghan Sargeant, Freda Ayisi, Chloe Peplow.
(Report by www.fawsl.com)
Doncaster Rovers Belles 0 Liverpool 3 (Dowie 14, Staniforth 29, Hodson 81)
Liverpool kept up their winning start to their Continental Tyres Cup campaign with a three-goal success over WSL2 leaders Doncaster Rovers Belles at the Keepmoat Stadium.
Natasha Dowie struck her third Continental Tyres Cup goal in two games before Lucy Staniforth scored directly from a corner, and substitute Ashley Hodson added the gloss late on.
Dowie found the bottom corner with the only clinical Liverpool finish in a first half that saw her slice at air and Rosie White hammer over the bar - both with the goal begging. Liverpool's second however arrived by unconventional means as Staniforth's corner flew straight in past Nicola Hobbs shortly before the break.
Doncaster had chances of their own - most notably Beth England rattling the bar on 32 minutes and Leandra Little heading just over the bar fifteen minutes from time.
But despite better Belles performances all round they were unable to break through, and substitute Hodson's strike from the edge of the box nine minutes from time was the final flourish for Liverpool.
Doncaster Rovers Belles: Nicola Hobbs, Lyndsey Cunningham, Rhiannon Roberts, Leandra Little, Lauren Cresswell (sub Hope Knight 52mins), Emily Roberts (sub Sophie Barker 62mins), Jade Lorton-Radburn, Kasia Lipka, Sue Smith, Bethany England, Courtney Sweetman-Kirk. Subs not used: Nicola Dale, Samantha Tierney, Molly Johnson, Sophie Stamp, Reanne Thomas.
Liverpool: Libby Stout, Gemma Bonner, Becky Easton, Corina Schroder (sub Ashley Hodson 56mins), Ingrid Ryland (sub Martha Harris 69mins), Lucy Staniforth, Rosie White, Katrin Omarsdottir (sub Katie Zelem 69mins), Maz Pacheco, Kate Longhurst, Natasha Dowie. Subs not used: Rachel Darbyshire, Line Smorsgar, Mollie Green, Hannah Dale.
(Report by www.fawsl.com)
Sunderland 5 (Mead 12,16, Kelly 31,56, Roche 47) Everton 2 (Hollinshead 14, Hinnigan 48)
Sunderland made it a half dozen successive wins with a comprehensive victory over Everton at Hetton.
Beth Mead scored twice either side of Emily Hollinshead's equaliser, while Emma Kelly plundered the first of two excellent goals to make it 3-1 at the break. Stephanie Roche's first goal in red and white was quickly met by a reply from Michelle Hinnigan, but Sunderland's dominance deserved the three-goal lead restored by another super finish from Kelly. All seven goals were scored inside the first 51 minutes as Sunderland made it two wins out of two in the Continental Cup.
Carlton Fairweather's side went into the game looking to extend a scintillating run of form which had seen them score 11 goals in their previous five games. They did not disappoint a crowd braving heavy rain and unseasonably unfavourable temperatures.
The Lady Black Cats' Continental Cup campaign kicked off with a late 2-1 win over local rivals Durham, and the WSL 1 league leaders began their latest test in suitably positive fashion. Just five minutes had elapsed when some free flowing football resulted in a neat pull back finding Keira Ramshaw in the box, and the winger's low drive was well held by Kirstie Levell in the Everton goal.
The visitors - mid-table in WSL 2 - fought back with some similarly enterprising play and Danielle Turner's cross was inches away from finding Simone Magill, who would have been left with a simple finish inside the six yard box.
Everton were to rue that chance as ruthless Sunderland stormed into the lead with 11 minutes played. Ramshaw's excellent cross from the right caught out the visiting defence and the predatory Mead was there to roll home her 12th goal of a remarkable season.
The lead lasted four minutes - Sunderland keeper Hilde Gunn Olsen beaten by a powerful close range header from Hollinshead. But a topsy-turvy opening half swung back the other way moments later. Mead missed Ramshaw's initial cross by inches but made no mistake when Roche crossed the ball back in from the other side, tucking a shot under Levell from the edge of the six yard box.
Mead almost had a hat-trick by the half hour but was denied by brave goalkeeping from Levell, who raced out to win a 50-50 challenge after Victoria Williams picked out her colleague with a raking crossfield ball. Sunderland's leading scorer was proving difficult to handle, finding plenty of space behind the Everton defence as she nudged an angled drive wide of the far post with pressure beginning to build.
The visitors were undoubtedly under the cosh and Sunderland extended their lead on 31 minutes thanks to a crashing drive from Kelly into the roof of the net from 14 yards, leaving the keeper with no chance.
Boasting a strong half time advantage, Fairweather's side continued where they left off and assumed a three-goal advantage just two minutes into the second half. Roche will remember her first goal for the club for a long time - a fine rising drive from the left hand angle of the penalty area which arrowed over the goalkeeper.
Hinnigan pulled one back for Everton just a minute later, poking home from close range, before Kelly capped a mad first six minutes of the second period by curling a precise shot past Levell and into the far corner from 20 yards.
Mead almost made it six when she slalomed past two defenders on the edge of the box, but the eventual shot flashed just wide of the far post.
Sunderland's stranglehold on the game was unassailable, with the 55th minute introduction of Kelly McDougall and Rachel Furness off the bench for Mead and Brooke Chaplen providing a burst of extra energy.
A 63rd minute effort from Roche - well saved down low by Levell - bore all the hallmarks of a player bursting with confidence, while defender Gemma Wilson rose well to angle a header wide from Vicki Greenwell's deep cross.
Sunderland closed the game out professionally to seal another win, with Ramshaw denied one-on-one by Levell late on with the hosts already comfortably on their way to victory.
Sunderland: Hilde Gunn Olsen, Victoria Williams, Gemma Wilson, Stephanie Bannon, Victoria Greenwell, Keira Ramshaw, Emma Kelly, Sarah McFadden, Brooke Chaplen (sub Kelly McDougall 55mins), Beth Mead (sub Rachel Furness 55mins), Stephanie Roche. Subs not used: Abby Holmes, Rachael Laws, Hayley Sharp.
Everton: Kirstie Levell, Danielle Lea, Paige Williams, Lyndsay Johnson, Gabby George, Kelly Jones, Michelle Hinnigan, Emily Hollinshead (sub Claudia Walker 65mins), Megan Finnigan (sub Millie Turner 65mins), Danielle Turner, Simone Magill. Subs not used: Megan Walsh, Vicky Jones, Ellie Stewart, Jess King, Chantelle Boye-Hikorah.
(Report by www.fawsl.com)
Manchester City 5 (Johnston 12,86, Parris 25,42, Christiansen 30) Durham Women 0
Braces from Krystle Johnston and Nikita Parris, plus a goal from Isobel Christiansen, secured the victory as the Blues continued their 100% record since the season restarted after the World Cup.
On a comfortable night at the Academy Stadium, Nick Cushing's side produced a thoroughly dominant and professional display, peppering the visitors' goal with efforts as the away side struggled to venture out of their own half.
Heading into the clash in excellent form, City started brightly against their FA Women's Super League 2 opponents and almost opened the scoring after just five minutes when skipper Steph Houghton - playing in a more advanced role - saw a long range effort pushed wide by Anne Moorhouse.
It was an early sign of things to come and the hosts were soon laying siege to the Wildcats' goal. Daphne Corboz was unfortunate to drive an effort wide before City broke the deadlock on 12 minutes, simultaneously opening the proverbial floodgates.
It was Johnston who netted the opener. Prior to the game, she had told mcfc.co.uk she wanted to make the most of her chance to shine in front of another impressive home crowd and she certainly did so, curling into the far corner.
Shortly afterwards, the lead was doubled. Neat intricate play between Corboz and Christiansen sent the latter clear and the midfielder squared for Parris to tap home in a goal almost identical to the one she scored against Doncaster last week.
The striker almost had her second within minutes but shot wide. Just moments later though, Christiansen made it 3-0, sliding the ball into the bottom corner after Toni Duggan had done well to create the space to pick her out.
Houghton's attempt to add a fourth flew just off-target before Parris doubled her personal tally, smashing the ball home at the second attempt after her original effort was blocked.
After the break, the home side continued where they left off and would go on to add another goal to their tally - though it was not for the want of trying for more. Johnston was inches away from netting her second of the game, while Duggan and Flint's attempts to get in on the act suffered the same fate.
The victory was sealed with three minutes of normal time remaining when Johnston drilled low into the near post. The winger almost had a hat-trick in injury time but blazed over, though the miss did little to dampen spirits and City were applauded off the field by another strong, vocal home following.
Manchester City: Karen Bardsley, Demi Stokes (sub Georgia Brougham 60mins), Abbie McManus, Kathleen Radtke (sub Georgia Stanway 45mins), Emma Lipman, Steph Houghton, Isobel Christiansen (sub Natasha Flint 60mins), Daphne Corboz, Toni Duggan, Nikita Parris, Krystle Johnston. Subs not used: Alex Brooks, Zoe Tynan.
Durham FC Women: Anna Moorhouse, Jen Jennings (sub Lauren Jordinson 83mins), Jess Havelock, Julie Nelson, Sarah Wilson, Chloe Macek, Beth Hepple (sub Jess White 83mins), Natalie Gutteridge, Nikki Gears, Courtney Corrie, Jordan Atkinson (sub Vic Linsley 69mins). Subs not used: Helen Alderson.
(Report by www.fawsl.com)
London Bees 1 (Gaylor 21) Arsenal 3 (Humphrey 61, Natalia 62,72)
Carla Humphrey and Natalia Pablos Sanchon were on target as Arsenal came from behind to win their Continental Cup clash at London Bees.
Amber Gaylor put the home side ahead in the first half when she turned in the box and struck the ball into the bottom corner. However, Arsenal dominated the second half as Humphrey equalised before a brace from substitute Natalia secured their progression.
Evie Clarke went through on goal in the 13th minute but Bees' goalkeeper Sophie Harris spread herself well to prevent an early Arsenal goal.
The hosts took the lead 21 minutes in when Gaylor had time to turn in the area and find the bottom corner.
Just before half time, Chloe Kelly delivered a dangerous ball into the box which found Rianna Dean, but her attempt went straight at Harris.
Arsenal finally equalised just after the hour mark when Humphrey raced through to chip the onrushing keeper from distance. Just a minute later, Natalia placed a calm finish into the corner to put the Gunners ahead for the first time in the match.
Continuing to impress down the flank, Humphrey then assisted Natalia in the 72nd minute as she pulled the ball back for the Spaniard to drill past the outstretched Harris.
London Bees: Sophie Harris, Kara-May Howes, Aoife Hurley, Billie Brooks, Jade Dempster, Ashleigh Goddard (sub Andria Georgiou 85mins), Paige Wakefield (sub Rebecca Anderson 60mins), Paula Howells, Katherine Huggins, Amber Gaylor, Emma Whitter (sub Lucy Loomes 67mins). Subs not used: Imogen Riches, Gemma Fraser, Kate Bowers, Sydney Hinchcliffe.
Arsenal: Sari van Veenendaal, Casey Stoney, Lotte Wubben-Moy, Chiara Ritchie-Williams (sub Dominique Janssen 45mins), Chloe Kelly, Evie Clark, Charlie Devlin (sub Natalia Pablos Sanchon 58mins), Carla Humphrey, Rianna Dean (sub Marta Corredera 45mins), Taome Oliver, Georgia Allen. Subs not used: Vyan Sampson, Chioma Ubogagu, Jade Bailey, Sian Rogers.
(Report by www.arsenal.com)
Millwall Lionesses 1 (Cole pen 5) Reading FC Women 3 (Ward 19,37, Bruton 82)
A Helen Ward double and a late Laura Bruton strike saw Reading get their FA WSL Continental Tyres Cup campaign off the ground at the second time of asking.
Hosts Millwall got off to the perfect start as captain Naomi Cole scored from the penalty spot after Megan Goss was tripped in the box.
But Ward struck twice before half time to swing the game in Reading's favour before Laura Bruton added a late third to see the visitors get their first win of this season's Continental Cup.
Millwall Lionesses: Frankie Gibbs, Jordan Butler, Grace Fisk, Naomi Cole, Leanne Cowan, Megan Goss (sub Rinsola Babajide 80mins), Danielle Carlton, Ashlee Hincks, Meghan McKeag (sub Lauren Davis 55mins), Lilli Maple (sub Ciara Sherwood 69mins), Fliss Gibbons. Subs not used: Fran Ali, Jasmine Auguste, Lottie Ivison, Dionne Lennon.
Reading FC Women: Grace Moloney, Rebecca Jane, Kirsty McGee, Kylie Davies, Nia Jones, Charlie Estcourt (sub Laura May Walkley 82mins), Lois Roche, Bonnie Horwood (sub Rachel Rowe 60mins), Emma Follis (sub Lauren Bruton 60mins), Nikki Watts, Helen Ward. Subs not used: Harriet Scott, Georgie Giddings, Melissa Fletcher, Chloe Sansom.
(Report by www.fawsl.com)
England's first home fixture since their historic World Cup performance in Canada will take place in November.
Mark Sampson will take his England side to Bristol, where he used to manage Bristol Academy, for the match against Bosnia & Herzegovina on Sunday 29th November (3.30pm kick off) at Ashton Gate.
The match will be England's second UEFA Women's Euro 2017 qualifier. The Lionesses will travel to Estonia for their opening match on Monday 21st September.
Tickets are on sale now priced £5 for adults and £2.50 for children.
A family ticket (two adults and two children) is available at £10 and group booking discounts apply. Visit tickets.bristol-sport.co.uk or call (0117) 963 0600 to get yours.
England captain Steph Houghton said: "The team can't wait to play in England once again in front of our home fans.
"The support we received from home during the World Cup was amazing and really helped push us on and perform how we did.
"We want to continue building the momentum throughout the Euro qualifying campaign and hope that as many fans as possible come out to support us."
Andrew Billingham, chief executive of Bristol Sport, said: "We are thrilled that The FA has chosen the new Ashton Gate Stadium to host England Women's first home match since the World Cup.
"It really builds on our vision of putting Bristol on the map as a top sporting city attracting first class events.
"Hosting the national team will be an honour and builds on our support of women's football.
"Last year, Bristol Academy played their UEFA Women's Champions League games here, notably their memorable win against Barcelona.
"I look forward to welcoming Mark Sampson back to Bristol with his team this November."
Anna Signeul has announced a 21-player Scotland squad for next month's Training Camp in Stenhousemuir.
Hibernian (nine players) and Glasgow City (eight) are heavily represented with places for Megan Cunningham, Julie Fleeting, Hayley Lauder and Kirsty Smith amongst others. Spartans pair Rachel Harrison and Sarah Ewens, Celtic keeper Gemma Fay and Lana Clelland of UPC Tavagnacco, make up the squad.
Anna's team will meet up on Monday 3rd August for three consecutive days of training at Stenhousemuir FC's Ochilview Stadium. The camp will act as preparation for the 2017 European Championship Qualifiers which start with an away trip to Slovenia on Tuesday 22nd September.
Scotland Women's A squad for August Training Camp:
On Saturday, the Ballymena Showgrounds played host to an Under-17 women's International Challenge Match between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
The game had the distinction of being a curtain raiser to the Dale Farm Milk Cup and followed the inaugural women's one day football festival featuring ten teams from across the country in a 7-a-side Under-13 competition.
The game remained goalless until the 55th minute when the visitors went 1-0 up with a goal from Tiegan Ruddy. The Republic of Ireland then added a second two minutes from time through Niamh Sheehan to seal a 2-0 victory on the day.
The game provided an extremely useful exercise for Alison Nicholl's Under-17 side as they continue their preparations for the UEFA European Under-17 Women's Championship qualifying round in FYR Macedonia later this year.
Northern Ireland will take on the hosts on 28th September, before further games against Bosnia & Herzegovina on 30th September and Italy on 3rd October.
Northern Ireland squad: Caiomhe Callaghan (Linfield), Lauren Currie (Portadown), Brooke Baine (Crusaders), Lauren Robson (Linfield), Blaithin Mackin (Newry), Megan Beattie (Crusaders), Chloe Orr (Mid Ulster), Rebecca Bassett (Glentoran), Katie Martin (Glentoran), Emma McMaster (Newry), Yasmin White (Glentoran), Caitlyn Hamilton (Dungoyne), Louise Crawford (Linfield), Aine Smith (Ballynahinch), Emma Harper (Killen), Ellie Rix (Ferman).
Under-17 Wales internationals Lily Woodham and Shaunna Jenkins have made the Qualifying Round Draw for the FAW Women's Cup.
The games will be played on Sunday 20th September 2015.
The draw is as follows:
Amlwch Ladies v Pwllheli Ladies
Llanfyllin Ladies v Denbigh Ladies
Point Ladies v Gap Northop Hall Ladies
Abertillery Belles v Pontardawe Town Ladies
Camrose v Barry Town United Ladies
Pontypridd Town Ladies v Ammanford Ladies
Swansea Uni Ladies v Llangyfelach Ladies
The constitution of clubs for the East Midlands League for the 2015-16 season is as follows:
In the light of the recent success of the England women's team who reached a record breaking third place spot in the Women's World Cup, it is poignant to acknowledge that Nottingham's oldest women's and girls club, Nottingham Forest Ladies, are celebrating their 25th season for 2015 and 2016 alongside a surge in interest in the girls and women's game.
Nottingham Forest Ladies were formed in the 1990-1991 season by the Nottingham Forest in the Community Scheme. Since that time the club has seen a variety of challenges that has ultimately developed into a club with 11 teams going into the 2015-16 season.
With the Senior first team and reserve team both playing at the highest level in the FA Women's winter league, the club is preparing for a successful season by enhancing the coaching and management teams. With nine Junior Age Groups from Under-9s through to Under-18s and two senior teams, it is important to ensure all volunteer staff still meet FA Charter Standard Criteria.
Club Chairperson, PJ Andrews reflects on closed season activity: "It has been full on for all involved but the jigsaw is finally coming together. We are especially delighted to announce that Sam Winch is joining the first team management. Steve Stennett was pivotal in the recruitment but Sam has been embraced by all in the Club due to his credentials and positivity shown so far.
"Pre-season has seen investment by the Club for the senior squad to ensure that the First and Senior Reserves team players are now working for another extremely challenging competitive phase. The FAWPL gives a challenge to players and coaching staff and all are now embellished in activity for best effect. The training is well under way, with fitness, strength and conditioning work provided by the highly qualified 'One Athlete' team - a locally based unit who are working the players hard. This aspect combined with FA UEFA A licence Coaching delivery from Steve Stennett is already paying dividend.
"Our emphasis though has been on recruitment of calibre volunteer resource for the club which is not an easy task. But both the Seniors and juniors are looking good with an element of diverse management and coaching expertise and this has been overseen by our Junior Development Manager and Technical Director to best effect.
"We are sorry to have lost a couple of personnel during the closed season but recent recruitment for both staff and players shows we are in a stronger position for this pre-season and the hopes are equally as high as the effort."
Steve Stennett, NFLFC Technical Director of Football and Head Coach of the Seniors comments: "Pre-season is also an opportunity for the senior players to meet up with some friendly faces from last season and also to meet and get to know the new signings and additions to the senior squad and to start the bonding and team building process which supports the cohesion and confidence of the team as it approaches the start of the season.
"Our vision as a club is to produce technically excellent and innovative players with exceptional decision making skills, to create an environment where our players are encouraged to be creative and express themselves; to produce a solid foundation of technical skills and game understanding all designed to help our players reach their full potential.
"The Aspirations of the First Team never falters as well as trying to be the best we can possibly be in terms of individually and collectively, it's a team who are always looking ahead to the long term goals which every aspiring team/club need to continue to build and develop and that is to reach the highest levels of recognition and investment. Our thread of emotion though is about Pride, Passion and Belief - to ensure we go into every game the most committed with a greater desire to achieve and with a harder work ethic than the opposition.
"We are fiercely proud of what we as a club have achieved this far and we now look forward to challenging ourselves once again to maintain and improve upon those already high standards. The FAWPL is an exciting and professional league and our desire is to continue to provide the highest standards of coaching and support along with a clear focus and vision of where we want to be."
Stennett has been working with Sam Winch over the past weeks and the partnership shows promise going forward. Stennett says: "As the Technical Director of Football and Head Coach of NFLFC, I would like to welcome Sam Winch to the club, Sam brings experience and knowledge with him around the women's game and FA UEFA B Licence credibility also. His recent role at Radcliffe Olympic saw a successful 2014-15 season with the team winning the Nottinghamshire County Cup and finishing a respectful third in the FAWPL Midland Division One, the division below where Forest Ladies currently play.
Sam will without doubt add value to this Nottingham Forest Ladies management team and I for one look forward to working with him this coming season."
Sam is equally enthusiastic and says: "It is a great opportunity to take on the job as manager of NFLFC and something I have wanted to fulfil since getting into management many years ago. There are a lot of great clubs in the FAWPL whose ambitions lie in the desire to be a part of the WSL league, but I'm not the type of manager to shirk away from a challenge and NFLFC are no different. I aim to help in improving these players as individuals and enhance the brand of football already in place that excites our fans and helps bring in new ones.
"I would like to take this opportunity to wish all the senior squad/backroom staff and our future opponents the best of luck and look forward to the new season at NFLFC."
Forest Ladies are immediately looking to recruit and enhance coaching and management staff for the Senior Reserves - who play at the highest level in the Winter League. To progress discussion for the senior coaching and management roles, please contact Stephen Stennett on (07946) 433376 or email the club secretary at: email@example.com.
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