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Tight opening to Spring Series
 Women's Football WSL2 News - 14 Feb 2017
WSL2 News - Tight opening to Spring Series - 14 Feb 2017 - Women's Football NewsThe one-off Spring Series in FA WSL 2 kicked off over the weekend and in the four matches played, three produced odd goal victories and the remainder was a draw.
The opening match saw London Bees play host to newly promoted Brighton & Hove Albion, and the pattern was set for the weekend as the sides battled out a 1-1 draw. Alessia Russo marked her first league appearance since joining from Chelsea by giving Brighton after fourteen minutes, cutting in and beating two defenders before firing home. Kate Natkiel went close to scoring a second but was denied by Shayla Burgess and ten minutes after the break, the Bees were back on level terms when captain Ashleigh Goddard headed in the equaliser. The home side could have gone on to win the game when a Jo Wilson shot was cleared off the line by Jenna Legg, meaning that both teams had to settle for a share of the spoils.
Durham Women underlined their status as one the favourites for the series by winning their opening match, 1-0 against Millwall Lionesses. The only goal of the game came shortly before half time when Sarah McFadden scored from a Beth Hepple corner, tucking home the rebound after her initial effort had come back off the bar. Millwall went close to an equaliser in the second half when Amber Gaylor's shot was tipped onto the bar by Helen Alderson but Durham successfully closed the game out for the points.
Everton meanwhile narrowly claimed a 2-1 victory away to Oxford Utd. Simone Magill slotted home a cross from Emily Hollinshead to give the Toffees a first half lead and Kelly Jones added the second early in the second half. Ini Umotong scored a late consolation for Oxford but the U's could not prevent Everton from a winning start (see match report).
New Watford head coach Keith Boanas took charge of his side for the first time but it was Aston Villa who took the points with a 3-2 victory. Villa started the game strongly and took the lead when Tash Baptiste glanced in a header from a Beth Merrick corner and just before half time, Merrick got on the scoresheet herself via a shot on the turn. Jade Richards made it three after the break when she scored from close range but from that point, a spirited fightback from Watford almost brought them back into the game. Anneka Nuttall reduced the arrears from a free kick and after a cross-cum-shot from Adekite Fatuga-Dada struck the bar, Charlotte Kerr scored direct from a corner to give Watford late hope but Villa saw the game out for what was a hard earned win.
Photo - Sarah McFadden (partially hidden) forces home the winning goal for Durham Women against Millwall Lionesses.

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