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Women's Football News
Northern Premier Division
Blackburn Rovers are showing no signs whatsoever of slowing up as they approach the end of the season. They preserved their fifteen point lead with a 4-0 victory away to Stoke City, Alex Taylor and Sophie Charlton putting them two ahead inside the opening ten minutes, before they added second half goals through Lynda Shepherd and Saffron Jordan.
Sunderland continue to head the chase for the runners-up spot and a win in their final game might well be enough, following their 2-1 success at Guiseley Vixens. Keira Ramshaw and Georgia Gibson scored the goals for the Wearsiders, with the home side replying through Monika Estere Stube.
Middlesbrough completed their campaign by running out 3-0 winners over Hull City. Leonie Hutchison gave 'Boro an early lead and they went on to score further goals through Tyler Dodds and Emma Foster. 'Boro currently sit in third place and they will have to wait and see if they have done enough to take a top three place.
Two of the other contenders faced each other and it was Derby County who won 2-1 against Huddersfield Town, to boost their hopes of a top two finish. Kira Rai and Grace Harrison put Derby two ahead at the break, before Charley Evans pulled a goal back for Town late on.
Fylde Ladies are back in the top six following their 5-0 victory away to Bradford City. Olivia Fuller headed the Coasters in front just before half time and they went on to add further goals after the break through Danielle Young, Hollie Kelsh, Georgia Payton and Georgia Stevens.
The important clash near the foot of the table ended with honours even as Sheffield FC and Doncaster Rovers Belles battled out a 1-1 draw. Chloe Bethell gave the Belles the lead on the stroke of half time, before Sheffield hit back after the break and equalised through a strike from Millie Herbert-Clarke with seventeen minutes remaining.
Southern Premier Division
Coventry Utd have clinched the league title after they defeated Cardiff City Ladies 4-1 on Sunday. Jay Bradford's side went into the game knowing that a win against second placed Cardiff would be enough and they went ahead in the seventh minute through Jade Brook. Cardiff hit back ten minutes later with an equaliser from Kylie Nolan but Amy Wathan ensued that Coventry were back in front by the break, and they went on to crown the win with injury time goals from Wathan and Maz Gauntlett.
Defeat for Cardiff means that Chichester City have moved back above them into second with a 1-0 win against Watford. Lauren Cheshire scored the only goal of the game to keep Chi in the battle to finish as runners-up.
Oxford Utd got back to winning ways, defeating Portsmouth 2-1 to keep themselves in fourth. After a goalless first half, Georgia Timms put the U's in front within four minutes of the start and although in-form striker Katie James levelled the scores shortly afterwards, Oxford were to have the final say with Emily Allen grabbing a late winner.
Plymouth Argyle made it four wins in a row in all competitions, and six unbeaten, as they won 4-2 away to Loughborough Foxes. Natasha Knapman gave Argyle a first half lead which was cancelled out by Rebecca Knight but a minute after the restart, Helen Bleazard put Plymouth back in front. Jessie Jones then scored twice to seal a win which keeps her side on course for a top five finish, despite Charlotte Cooper replying for Loughborough.
The battle between the bottom two went the way of Queen's Park Rangers, who are all but certain of avoiding finishing at the foot of the table after beating C & K Basildon 4-1. Jo Wilson hit a hat-trick for Rangers, taking her tally into double figures despite their lowly position, and Sue Kumaning added their other goal.
Division One North
Burnley FC Women have dominated the division for virtually the entire campaign and they wrapped up the title on Sunday with a 3-0 win away to Crewe Alexandra. Evie Priestley scored twice inside the opening sixteen minutes and she went on to complete her hat-trick after the break, to confirm her side as Champions in their first season in the league.
With Chester-le-Street not in action, Brighouse Town took the opportunity to replace them in second place by winning 2-0 at Chorley. Lavinia Nkomo and Charlotte Proud scored the goals for Brighouse, which keeps them in with a chance of finishing as runners-up for the second season running.
Barnsley are back in the top four after they defeated Norton & Stockton Ancients 2-1. Danielle Whitham gave Barnsley the lead just before half time and after Bianca Owens had levelled for Norton from the spot, the home side scored a decisive second with a penalty of their own, converted by Kath Smith.
Leeds Utd guaranteed themselves a top half finish as they returned from Newcastle Utd with a 1-0 victory under their belts. Rebecca Hunt netted the only goal of the game for Leeds on the hour mark.
Bolton Wanderers ended their run of seven league matches without a win, by winning 2-1 away to Morecambe. Safron Newhouse scored both goals for Bolton, with Yasmine Swarbrick replying.
Division One Midlands
With Champions elect West Bromwich Albion involved in the League Plate Final, Wolverhampton Wanderers made sure that they would have to wait a little longer before being confirmed as title winners, by beating fourth placed Bedworth Utd 9-1. Anna Morphet, Billie Haynes and Jen Anslow each netted twice along with Jess Jennings, Tammi George and Anna Price, whilst Bedworth's consolation came from Xena Dhillon.
Birmingham & West Midlands Ladies will end the season in third place - their highest ever finish - following their eleven goal blast past Steel City Wanderers. Evie Gallop led the scoring with a hat-trick, Maimee Morris weighed in with a double and there was one apiece from Nadia Bacciochi, Emily Painter, Elizabeth Steele, Laura Cooper, Stephanie Weston and Shannie Jennings.
Sporting Khalsa remain in with a chance of a fourth place finish, which they kept alive with a 3-0 victory over The New Saints. Chloe Handy netted a brace for Khalsa either side of the hour mark, with Lauren Walker adding the other goal.
Division One South East
Crawley Wasps made sure of clinching the title as they won 1-0 against Enfield Town. Kemina Webber scored the only goal of the game with seven minutes left on the clock, to give Crawley the result they needed to put themselves out of reach of their rivals.
Billericay Town will have to settle for a second place finish despite a great first season in the league. Danica Dougal and Zoe Rushen scored the goals as Billericay won 2-1 against Cambridge Utd, whose consolation came from Mollie Coupar.
Actonians Ladies and Leyton Orient remain in third and fourth respectively after their meeting finished in an entertaining 3-3 draw. After Danielle Griffiths had given the O's an early lead from the penalty spot, Actonians hit back to lead at the break through a Carla Williams double. Valeria Moreno and Sophie Le Marchand then scored two goals in a four minute spell to put Orient in front once again, but with three minutes remaining, Alesssandra Barreca struck to earn Actonians a share of the spoils.
Ipswich Town and Stevenage Ladies also finished level at 2-2, which means that any lingering relegation fears for the two sides are completely banished. Natasha Thomas gave Ipswich an early lead but goals either side of half time from Erin Pope and Ellie Searle saw Stevenage go in front. With minutes remaining, substitute Lindsey Cooper struck to earn Ipswich a point.
Luton Town meanwhile claimed a 2-1 victory over Norwich City which keeps their survival hopes alive. Remi Bains and Rachel Kosky scored the goals for Luton, with Norwich's reply coming from Kathryn Stanley.
Division One South West
Newly crowned Champions Keynsham Town visited third placed Cheltenham Town and were forced to play more than 80 minutes with ten players due to injury and illness. Cheltenham, looking to crown an impressive season with a runners-up finish, took the lead midway through the second half with a goal from Sally Butterfield but as the game went into injury time, Keynsham goalkeeper Charlotte Haynes - up for a corner - saw her shot handballed by a defender and Kerry Bartlett slotted home the resulting penalty to earn Keynsham another point.
The late equaliser and a 3-2 win away to Chesham Utd has put Southampton Women in the driving seat regarding finishing second. Things were looking very different in the first half though as the Clarets raced into a two-goal lead, thanks to a double from the prolific Gemma Fraser. However after the break, Kirsty Whitton brought Southampton back into the game within three minutes of the restart and Chelsie Hay equalised on the hour. Julia Moulton completed the comeback in the dying minutes when she netted the winning goal for Southampton.
Larkhall Athletic continue to finish the season strongly and a hard fought 2-1 success against Swindon Town has taken them into the top six. Katy-May O'Hara-Nash's first half strike for the Larks was cancelled out by Zoe Ridley but midway through the second half, a cool finish from Lizzie Barratt settled the match in Larkhall's favour.
The meeting between the bottom two finished goalless, meaning that Poole Town retain their three point advantage over Maidenhead Utd, but the Dorset side have played three more matches than their rivals who will still have chances to get away.
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