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Women's Football News
Northern Premier Division
Blackburn Rovers' seemingly unstoppable title charge was brought to a juddering halt on Sunday as they were beaten 3-0 by second placed Sunderland. The result is highly unlikely to affect the runaway leaders in the long term but it ended their impressive run of 22 straight league victories (excluding the Championship play-off match) stretching back to last April, when they drew with Wolverhampton Wanderers, and a 24-match unbeaten run since their last defeat to Leicester City. For Sunderland though, it was their best result of the season to date, and a huge boost as they challenge for the runners-up spot. Maria Farrugia, Niamh McLaughlin and Keira Ramshaw scored the goals for Sunderland.
Derby County are up into third place after running out 4-1 winners away to Guiseley Vixens. Cara Newton scored in the opening minute with Hannah James adding a second, and after Kirstie Hunt had pulled a goal back for Guiseley, Amy Sims netted either side of half time to seal a fine result for her side.
Hull City virtually banished any lingering fears of finishing in the bottom two with a 3-1 victory over Bradford City. For the second week running, Bradford led at half time through a goal from Falone Sumaili but Hull hit back after the break to take the points thanks to Becky Beech, Amy Kay and Misty Russell.
Southern Premier Division
Sunday saw a full programme of fixtures in the division and Coventry Utd continued their march at the top of the table with a nine goal victory over Gillingham. The Gills went into the match in good form but Coventry produced an excellent display to keep themselves four points clear. Lois Jefferies, Amber Hughes, Amy Wathan and Maz Gauntlett were all on target twice, with Beth Merrick completing the scoring.
Second placed Chichester City meanwhile ended their run of three straight defeats by beating C & K Basildon 8-0. Molly Clark led the scoring with a four-goal haul, taking her into double figures for the season, Sara Tubby weighed in with a double and also on the scoresheet were Jess Lewry and Kim Stenning.
Cardiff City Ladies continue to go well and they remain in the top three after winning 2-1 against Milton Keynes Dons. Leah Cudone gave the Dons the lead on the half hour but after the break, goals in an eight minute spell from Chloe Lloyd and Grace Horrell turned the match in Cardiff's favour.
Oxford Utd follow on in fourth after they won 4-2 away to Watford. The U's went into a two-goal lead at half time thanks to Emily Allen and Lauren Haynes, with Katherine Huggins pulling one back early in the second half. Gemma Sims restored the advantage and an own goal completed the scoring for Oxford, before Danielle Scanlon grabbed a late consolation.
Oxford's win takes them above Loughborough Foxes who were pegged back to a 2-2 draw by Queen's Park Rangers. Tiana Hicks gave Loughborough the lead just before half time and Eva Rogers added a second midway through the second half, but Rangers battled back strongly and after Courtnay Ward-Chambers had pulled one back, Jo Wilson earned them a share of the spoils when she equalised with twelve minutes remaining.
Plymouth Argyle and Portsmouth met at Home Park and provided an entertaining 2-2 draw for the 846 spectators present. Pompey twice took the lead during the first half through Katie James and Jade Widdows, with Plymouth hitting back on each occasion with equalisers from Kayley Lane and Natasha Knapman, who marked her return after missing six months through injury by getting on the scoresheet.
Division One North
Chester-le-Street Town took advantage of their rivals not having a game by winning 2-1 away to Crewe Alexandra and this has lifted them back into second place. The Cestrians led at half time with a goal from Nichole Havery and Laura Hockaday added a decisive second on the hour, before Laura Garner netted a consolation for Crewe.
Newcastle Utd meanwhile put a gap of five points between themselves and Bolton Wanderers, whose hopes of making a late challenge for a top two place took a knock. Jayden Maxwell and Abbey Joice scored the goals for Newcastle, with Safron Newhouse replying.
Division One Midlands
County Cup duties and postponements meant that only one match was played in the division over the weekend.
Wolverhampton Wanderers boosted their chances of finishing in the top two with a 1-0 victory away to mid-table Long Eaton Utd. Jade Cross scored the only goal of the game, five minutes into the second half, to help Wolves narrow the gap on leaders West Bromwich Albion to six points although they have played a game more.
Division One South East
Crawley Wasps now have a lead of ten points after running out 8-0 winners against Norwich City. Megan Stow gave Crawley an eighth minute lead which was doubled by Rachel Palmer, before they added further goals through Kemina Webber, Naomi Cole and Darcey James before half time. Jenny Drury made it six, early in the second half, before Stow netted twice late on to complete her hat-trick.
The other game to be played saw in-form Cambridge Utd win 5-1 against Actonians Ladies. Mollie Coupar and Becky Shephard each bagged doubles for the U's and Kelley Blanchflower netted the other goal, with Actonians' consolation coming from Alessandra Barreca.
Division One South West
Keynsham Town have opened up a lead of three points at the top after they defeated Larkhall Athletic 4-0. Kerry Bartlett netted twice more during the first half, to take her tally for the club to 99 in only her second season since rejoining. Cristina Vega Leandro increased her side's lead after the break and Justine Lorton rounded off the scoring, ten minutes from time.
Buckland Athletic moved themselves to within two points of third placed Chesham Utd after winning a bizarre match 8-4 between the two teams. Jaqueline Hanson gave Chesham a fifth minute lead, with three goals coming just before half time to leave the scores level; Laura Gough and Sarah Stacey netting for Buckland, with Livvi Harris replying. After the break, Kirsty Caunter put Buckland in front and they added further goals through Jana Richards, Sarah Smith and Stacey again. Gemma Fraser then rekindled hopes for Chesham by scoring twice but Stacey ended any chances of a comeback by completing her hat-trick with three minutes remaining and Richards netted the final goal in injury time.
It was a case of lucky thirteen for Maidenhead Utd as they notched up their first league victory of the season, 3-0 against Southampton Saints. Tina Brett netted two of the goals and Aine McKeever was also on target.
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