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Women's Football News
Sheffield Utd were the team which pushed Aston Villa all the way in the FA Women's Championship title race last season and they have served early notice of their potential this time around with a 4-1 victory away to London City Lionesses on the opening day.
In the Blades' first match under new head coach Neil Redfearn, Jade Pennock gave them the lead shortly before half time but the Lionesses hit back early in the second half and were back on level terms thanks to a neatly curled effort from Freda Ayisi. United were to take a firm grip on the game though as Pennock restored their advantage from close range and Katie Wilkinson headed in the third two minutes later. Wilkinson was to complete her own double shortly afterwards, rounding off the scoring from the penalty spot.
Leicester City also started strongly as they defeated Blackburn Rovers 3-0. The Foxes have made a number of acquisitions since the end of the season and they took the lead in the seventeenth minute, Charlie Devlin sweeping home from a Sam Tierney cross. Blackburn's task was made much harder after the break when captain Saffron Jordan was dismissed for a second bookable offence and two powerful strikes from Natasha Flint against her former club wrapped up the points for Leicester.
Coventry Utd were the other winners on the day; two late goals helping them to a 3-1 victory against London Bees. Amy Wathan gave Coventry an early lead but they needed to withstand second half pressure from the Bees before Nikki Miles put them further ahead with nine minutes remaining. The best was yet to come for the home side as Shannon O'Brien scored a brilliant individual goal, carrying the ball from deep inside her own half before lobbing Sarah Quantrill in the Bees goal. Merrick Will grabbed a consolation goal for the Bees in injury time.
Liverpool's quest for a quick return to the WSL ended with a point as a late strike pegged them back to a 1-1 draw against Durham Women. The Reds took the lead seven minutes before half time through a well taken goal from Rachel Furness and thought they had gone two ahead just after the hour when Rinsola Babajide had the ball in the net but played had already been pulled back for a free kick. Despite being reduced to ten players through injury, the Wildcats battled back and came up with an equaliser with three minutes remaining, Molly Sharpe winning possession in the area and Beth Hepple clipping home a neat finish.
Charlton Athletic and Crystal Palace produced an entertaining encounter which saw the teams share the points and four goals. The Addicks took the lead with only six minutes on the clock, Jess King pouncing on a loose pass to slide into the empty net, but Palace responded well and were back on terms two minutes later as Bianca Baptiste headed in a cross from Siobhan Wilson. Cherelle Khassal then put Palace in front on the half hour with a strike from long range which crept in. Both sides had chances after the break but in the dying minutes, Charlton salvaged a precious point for themselves when King's shot was parried by Morgan and debutante Shauna Vassell followed up to score.
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