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Women's Football News
The Continental Cup returned last Sunday with the latest round of group matches and a defeat for holders Manchester City.
Having been the odd team out in their group in the last round of fixtures, Manchester Utd made a belated debut in this competition with a 2-0 victory over their local rivals. Katie Zelem got United off to a great start when she fired in a free kick from the edge of the area after six minutes and they added the second after the break when Jess Sigsworth slid in from a low Kirsty Hanson cross. A bad day for City was compounded just after the hour when Keira Walsh was red carded for a foul.
Neither Manchester side is sitting on top of Group C right now though, that honour goes to Birmingham City after they ran out 5-1 winners away to Leicester City. Rachel Williams opened the scoring for the Blues against the team she started her career with and Lucy Staniforth made it two ahead of the break. Williams made it three in the second half with Adrienne Jordan also getting on the scoresheet and after Lachante Paul had pulled one back for Leicester from the penalty spot, Staniforth rounded off the scoring when she completed her double.
Durham Women are leading the way in Group A after they won 3-1 at Blackburn Rovers. The teams had met in the Championship seven days earlier, with Blackburn the winners on that occasion, and after Katherine Hill had given Durham the lead midway through the first half, Saffron Jordan brought Rovers level on the half hour. The game remained in the balance until the last twelve minutes, when goals from Becky Salicki and Beth Hepple gave Durham a result which sees them head the group by three points. Liverpool move up into second place with a 5-1 victory over Coventry Utd. The Reds made a flying start to the game with Niamh Charles and Kirsty Linnett putting them two ahead inside the opening five minutes, before Rosie Axten reduced the arrears on the quarter hour. Linnett then scored her second, and went on completed her hat-trick from the penalty spot just before half time. Jess Clarke completed the scoring for Liverpool with the fifth goal after the break. On Saturday evening, Aston Villa joined Sheffield Utd on three points after winning their meeting 3-1. Two goals in a three minute spell during the first half, from Jade Richards and Emily Syme, put Villa in control of the game and they sealed the win when Shania Hayles scored the third eight minutes into the second half, before Jade Pennock grabbed a consolation for the Blades.
Arsenal made it two wins out of two in Group B, thanks to a 4-0 success against Charlton Athletic. Jennifer Beattie put the Gunners ahead on 34 minutes and Danielle van de Donk made it two on the stroke of half time. Beth Mead further increased the Gunners' lead with a superb strike, early in the second half, before van de Donk rounded off the scoring with her second goal. Bristol City join them on six points following their 2-1 victory away to Brighton & Hove Albion. Abi Harrison gave the Vixens a ninth minute lead which was doubled early in the second half by Ebony Salmon and although Kayleigh Green pulled one back for the Seagulls from the penalty spot, City held on to keep up their winning start in the tournament. London Bees meanwhile got off the mark as they defeated London City Lionesses 3-0 in their local derby tie. The Bees took the lead when Bonnie Horwood scored midway through the first half and Merrick Will added a second just before the interval. Lauren Pickett completed the win for the Bees with the final goal in the second half.
Reading FC Women hold on to top spot in Group D, but needed to come from behind to beat a plucky Lewes side 3-2. Fara Williams gave the Royals a sixteenth minute lead but the Rookettes hit back strongly, and goals from Emily Donovan and Ellie Noble ensured that they were in front at half time. Reading were not to be denied in the second half though and after Williams had levelled the scores ten minutes after the restart, the England midfielder went on to grab an injury time winner and complete her hat-trick. Reading therefore remain at the head of the group in goal difference from Chelsea, who ran out 3-0 winners away to Crystal Palace. The first half was goalless but two goals in a four minute spell, both from Beth England, put Chelsea firmly in control. Drew Spence wrapped up the win when she scored the third with fourteen minutes remaining. The other group game produced a dramatic ending as West Ham Utd and Tottenham Hotspur finished level at 2-2. Spurs took the lead seven minutes into the second half through Rianna Dean and looked to be on their way towards victory when Josie Green scored the second late on. However as the game went into injury time, Martha Thomas pulled a goal back for West Ham and moments later, Kenza Dali struck home a free kick to snatch a draw for her side. However, the Hammers' late, late fightback proved to be in vain as far the extra point was concerned as Tottenham triumphed 4-2 from the resulting penalty shootout, Rachel Furness slotting home the winning kick.
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