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Crawley Wasps sewed up the FAWNL Division One South East title when they defeated Enfield Town 1-0 on Sunday.
We talked to Wasps full back and vice captain Rachel Palmer, who admitted that the last few minutes were ‘tense' in the Enfield game and, whilst delighted with their title succes, she is also looking forward to next week's League Cup Final and the challenge of playing in a higher level:
WSS: Many congratulations to you and the team on winning the league title, how does it feel now you have got over the line?
RP: Thank you, it's a great feeling, the club has worked very hard both on and off the pitch this season and it's great to be rewarded for the work that's been put in.
WSS: What was it like in the last few minutes after Kemina Webber had given you the lead late on?
RP: Safe to say it was tense! Credit has to go to Enfield, they made it difficult for us and kept us going until the final whistle.
WSS: Given that this is your first season in the league, did you feel from the start that you could challenge for the title or have you done better than anticipated?
RP: We had a very successful pre-season but stepping into a new league, you never quite know what to expect, we have taken it game by game. We knew from the start we had a very talented squad but I don't think anyone expected us to have achieved what we have this year.
WSS: This week it's a long trip to play Ipswich Town, how much are you looking forward to the game?
RP: Yeah it should be a good game, we have already played Ipswich twice this season so we know what to expect. It'll be nice going up there with the pressure off and the girls are looking forward to it.
WSS: Then of course it is the not very small matter of the League Cup Final against Blackburn Rovers. Fulham's fully professional team is the only one from outside the top flight to win the cup, so a chance for the club to make history?
RP: You never know, anything can happen in the cup! The club is very much looking forward to the occasion, as the season progressed the league was very much the priority and the cup runs were a bonus but to reach a National Cup final alongside promotion is something the club should be proud of. It will no doubt be a good day and I hope we can all do our supporters proud.
WSS: Having beaten the likes of Coventry, Plymouth and Oxford in your cup run, you should be able to approach that game full of confidence?
RP: Blackburn are a very good side that's clear from their previous and current season's success. I would say we are going into the game very much the underdogs, which we like. It should be a good game!
WSS: With a league title, a cup final appearance and a good FA Cup run which saw you play Arsenal, how do you think you will look back on this season in the future?
RP: It's certainly a season to remember! It's been a fantastic season, we are a very tight knit squad who work for one another and I think that's been the pinnacle of our success this year. Credit has to also go to the coaching staff, the training and preparation they have given us this season is second to none. We have a lot of "unsung heroes" behind the scenes that put a lot of effort in to make things happen and without the collective effort of everyone we wouldn't have been able to achieve what we have this season.
WSS: Next season you will be in the Southern Division, how confident are you that the team can keep its momentum going at a higher level?
RP: It will be a step up from this league but on a number of occasions this season we have demonstrated we can compete at that level. Everyone is looking forward to seeing what we can do and what we can bring to the league!
Our thanks to Rachel!
(Photo - www.bendavidsonphotography.com)
Bridlington Rovers are jointly managed by Mark Womersley and Kev Drewery, with Mel Marsden as the club captain. Leading goalscorer is Amy Ward on 35 goals, followed by Josie Groves who has contributed a further 24.
"Our season started back in September when we travelled to Rotherham United of the North East Regional League in the First Qualifying Round of the SSE Women's FA Cup, which we won 3-1," Mark Womersley told Women's Soccer Scene. "We then went on to beat Accrington Ladies and Girls 4-1 in the Second Qualifying Round, once again they were a Regional Premier League team and we were one of only three teams in the Thirrd Qualifying Round draw from our current level.
We sadly lost away to FC United of Manchester in that round but the whole experience of the FA Cup was a massive highlight of our season."
Some standout results for the team along the way in the league were beating last season's Champions AFC Preston 7-0 at home and winning 4-0 against second placed North Ferriby United 4-0 in February.
"That result took us four points clear with three games in hand and effectively won the league," added Womersley. "One of our major results came just after Christmas away at Pinefleet, a very good team. We were 1-0 down at half time and came back to win 3-1 - that result made it 12 wins out of 12 and that really made us believe that we could go on and win the league.
"It's very difficult to single out individual players as it's very much a team effort, but obviously Amy Ward with the goals and Josie Groves has been brilliant all season. She has scored vital goals at crucial times and went ten goals in four games over the period that saw us secure the league title.
"I could name loads but Jade Newlove came in early on and, for a 16-year-old, has done extremely well and has played the majority of games but it is and always will be a really team effort, and we try not to rely on any one individual.
"Off the pitch our Secretary Nick Brunton is probably the best Secretary I know, and has things sorted before I even ask, and our Chairman Andy Potts is always supportive and does everything he can to help us."
Although the league title has been secured, there is still plenty for Bridlington to play for before the season ends. "We also have a cup final to look forward to as we look to defend our League Cup from last season. We take on East Yorkshire Carnegie in what will be a very tough game.
"We have applied for promotion to the North East Regional League as League Champions, so iwe should be taking on the likes of Sheffield Wednesday and Harrogate Railway next season. We are under no illusions, it'll be a difficult challenge but it's a challenge we'll be up for."
Bristol Ladies Union (also known as BLUFC) was formed in June 2008, incorporating Shirehampton Colts Under-11, Rockleaze Rangers Under-11 and University of Bristol ladies team, which became the first team. Competing in the South West Women's League Premier Division, they finished mid-table most years but were runners-up to Larkhall Athletic in 2012-13.
BLUFC first team also competed in the final of the GFA Women's Trophy in both 2014 and 2015, losing both games to Forest Green Rovers.
The original first team disbanded at the end of the 2015-16 season due to lack of players. The Development Squad then became the first team, but competed in the Gloucestershire County Women's Football League. After improving season by season, they landed the title with a game to spare this time around and finished five points clear of second placed Longwell Green Ladies.
Not many women's football teams can claim to have a manager who has scored in a Wembley cup final, but Bristol Ladies Union can do so! Steve Price scored for Almondsbury Greenway in the FA Vase Final against Billiercay Town, who were the winners on the day. His daughters Hannah, Madison and Sophie all play for the team.
"It has been a great season winning the Gloucestershire Women's County League, considering we have a very young side all around 18 years old and playing against some really strong sides," he told Women's Soccer Scene. "We are managing every game with only 13 players each week. We are top scorers in the league and have the best defensive record.
"The girls have created history for our club, becoming the first senior side to win a league title and hopefully more to follow - we need to do our best in the the cup final on 28th April
"We just got through to the final of the Gordon Perrett Memorial Cup, in the First Round we were three down at half time to Abbeymead Rovers but stormed back to win 4-3. In our four rounds of the cup, we have scored 36 goals and only let in four.
"It's been a great season, scoring a record 67 goals and with Hannah Price as top scorer in the league with 28. Each player gave 100% in every game and I am very proud of them all."
The Football Association has announced the match officials for the 2019 SSE Women's FA Cup Final.
Abigail Byrne [Suffolk FA] has been appointed as match referee for the showpiece event between Manchester City and West Ham United, taking place on Saturday 4th May at Wembley Stadium connected by EE. She will be joined by assistant referees Sian Massey-Ellis [Birmingham FA] and Mel Burgin [Sheffield & Hallamshire FA], and fourth official Lisa Benn [Berks & Bucks FA].
Abigail was promoted into the elite level of refereeing in 2015 and has operated in The FA Women's Super League [FA WSL] since 2016.
She has refereed 11 FA WSL and FA Women's Championship matches so far this season and has recently become a FIFA referee.
Abigail said: "I'm absolutely honoured to be appointed to the biggest game in women's football. It's the call that every referee wants to get, but never a call you expect to get.
"I've had a good season so far but I never imagined I'd get the chance to referee at Wembley. It's a massive game and it will be an honour to be a part of it."
Glasgow Girls FC's Chloe Docherty has been voted as the winner of the Scottish Building Society SWPL Player of the Month for March.
The midfielder wins the award for the first time, after having previously been nominated last season in September.
Also nominated for the March award were Amy Anderson (Hamilton Academical), Jamie-Lee Napier (Hibernian) and Kelly Clark (Celtic).
The Stourbridge FC Ladies side will go semi-professional for the 2019-20 season following the news of sponsorship from Bhandal Dental Practices.
Stourbridge FC Ladies will be hoping to put a smile on the face of their manager and fans after targeting promotion next season with a new sponsorship deal.
They have teamed up with main club sponsors Bhandal Dental Practices to go in to the ranks of paid semi-professional footballers for the 2019-20 season.
With the spotlight on women's football ever increasing, the sponsors and club officials are determined to give the open age players a chance for success and to progress.
The team came fourth in the West Midlands Regional League Division One South this season but are aiming to win it next season and get promotion to the Premier Division. Manager Andy Fisher said recruitment for next season was actively taking place and that trials would be held in early June as they look to recruit the best players they can.
"It is the Women's World Cup this year and the game at the top level is now fully professional, with increased media prescence from the likes of the BBC who are doing a lot to promote the game," he said.
"We already have a structure of junior teams on the womens' side at Stourbridge but the idea is to give them a successful first team to aim their sights on and help them progress in the game.
"No longer is the women's game seen as a sideline to the men's football and something which can be played by girls at school but won't lead to a career.
"We have seen plenty of women make a very successful career in the game on the playing or coaching side, whether here or in the UK and the opportunities are now there.
"By putting it on a more professional level, they will have the tools to progress which is what we want to do.
"Stourbridge is a progressive club and we try to be successful on all levels. Players from this season may be retained but we do anticipate an influx from other clubs."
Midfielder Sophie Daniel, aged 23, is in her third season with the club and hopes to be part of the set up next season.
She said: "I have been playing football since I was at school and it is something I not only enjoy but want to progress in - to be the best player I can and win things as well.
"The coaching and support we receive here already is first class and the fact the players will be being paid next season, with all the commitment on our side it entails, can only be good."
The Bhandal brothers, who own dentist practices across the Black Country specialising in NHS and private treatment and also run West One restaurant in Hagley are long term sponsors of the club.
Vice chairman Andy Bullingham said: "This is an exciting new era for the womens' team and we thank the Bhandal's once again for their continued support.
"They are winners in business and are football mad like us, they want to associate themselves with success and that is what we want so with their help and hard work, hopefully we can achieve that."
The action in the FA WSL was confined to two matches on Wednesday night and Birmingham City kept their hopes of a top three place alive by winning 3-1 at Everton.
The Toffees got off to a great start through a fine finish from Inessa Kaagman but just two minutes later, Hayley Ladd volleyed in an equaliser after a corner was half cleared. Another corner then led to the Blues going in front, Ellen White bundling home from close range. The outcome was decided in three second half minutes, firstly when Kaagman's penalty was saved by Hannah Hampton and moments later, Birmingham scored from a corner for the third time, White heading in her second on the night.
Yeovil Town saw their relegation from the top flight confirmed as they were beaten 5-0 by Reading FC Women, perhaps catching the backlash from the Royals' penalty shootout defeat in the SSE Women's FA Cup semi finals three days earlier.
Both sides traded chances during the opening stages but it was Reading who went ahead just after the half hour through a spectacular strike from Fara Williams from the edge of the area. After the break, they doubled their lead when Lauren Bruton finished off a good move and Millie Farrow made it three from Gemma Davison's pass. Bruton and Farrow then completed their doubles to round off a convincing win for Reading and take themselves to within one point of fifth placed Bristol City.
Manchester Utd secured a top two finish for themselves in the FA Women's Championship with a 5-0 victory over Aston Villa on Wednesday night.
This means that Casey Stoney's team are also promoted to the FA WSL for next season subject to meeting licence criteria (no issues are foreseen).
Villa went into the game in good form but found themselves behind after six minutes, when Millie Turner powerfully headed in an Alex Greenwood corner. Greenwood herself scored the second from the penalty spot, after Lizzie Arnot had been brought down. Jess Sigsworth made it three ahead of the break and Ella Toone further increased United's lead early in the second half. Villa's task was made even harder when goalkeeper Sian Rogers was red carded for handball outside the area and defender Jade Richards took over between the posts. To their credit, they dug in and never gave up, only conceding once more wen Charlotte Devlin finished neatly with sixteen minutes remaining.
The battle is on to join United in being promoted to the top flight but on Sunday, one of the contenders, Durham Women, were beaten for only the second time this season, 2-1 by Sheffield Utd who maintained their excellent finish to the season.
The Blades took the lead when Rebecca Rayner's free kick into the area was latched onto by Danielle Cox who slotted in her first goal of the season. Nicki Gears forced a save from Fran Bentley at the other end but the Wildcats' task was made header when Becky Salicki was red carded for tugging back Ebony Salmon as she went through on goal. Jade Pennock doubled United's lead with her third goal in as many matches and although Beth Hepple scored a trademark free kick to give Durham fresh hope, Carla Ward's side held out to make it four wins on the trot and consolidate fifth place.
Rangers came from three goals behind with six minutes remaining at Motherwell to earn themselves a 3-3 draw on Wednesday night.
Mhairi Fyfe, Lori Gardner and Sarah Crilly had put the Women of Steel three up, before the visitors staged a stunning fightback for a point in the last six minutes with goals from Amy Muir, Jade Gallon and Holly Napier.
Spartans continued their good start and are up into fourth place following their 2-0 success at Forfar Farmington. Michaela McAlonie gave them a tenth minute lead and Kaela McDonald-Nguah wrapped up the win from the penalty spot during the second half.
This week's draw for the UEFA European Women's Under-19 Championship saw Pauline Hamill's Scotland drawn alongside Netherlands, Norway and France, whilst England, under the guidance of Rehanne Skinner, will be up against Belgium, Spain and Germany.
Scotland will play host to the tournament for the first time, which will take place between 16-28 July 2019.
Hosted by sports broadcaster Connie McLaughlin, Scotland Women's National Team players Joanne Love and Erin Cuthbert conducted the draw in their role as ambassadors for the Championship.
With Hamill's young squad having qualified as hosts, they were joined in the draw by current holders Spain who emerged as one of seven Elite Round group winners along with Belgium, England, France, Germany, Netherlands and Norway.
The full draw for the Finals is as follows:
Scotland, Netherlands, Norway, France
England, Belgium, Spain, Germany
Scotland will start their campaign against France on Tuesday 16th July with England v Germany being another mouthwatering tie on the opening day of the Championship.
Reigning champions Spain, who are aiming for a third title in a row, open their account against Belgium whilst the Netherlands take on Norway in the other opening match.
The top two sides from each group will progress to the semi finals, due to be played on Thursday 25th July at Firhill Stadium, Glasgow and St Mirren Park, Paisley. The Final will be played on Sunday 28th July at St Mirren Park.
Pauline Hamill, Scotland's Under-19s Head Coach, told www.scottishfa.co.uk: "We can't wait to take on the best in Europe this summer.
"To compete against Netherlands, Norway and France will be a tough test but the squad will be ready, it's exciting.
"Having the home crowd will give the girls that extra edge. We'll prepare in the right way, control what we can control and see where it can take us."
Speaking at the draw, Glasgow City midfielder Joanne Love showed her support for the future heroes of the Scotland Women's National team: "Both Erin and I progressed through the ranks, having represented Scotland at youth level. We never played in front of a home crowd at a major tournament, so this is a huge opportunity for the girls.
"All games are tough at any tournament, Pauline has the squad playing well and on their day can compete with the best in Europe. I'm looking forward to seeing Scotland play, particularly captain Amy Muir who will be a future star of the women's game."
The matches will be played at McDiarmid Park (Perth) Forthbank Stadium (Stirling), Firhill (Glasgow), with the final taking place at St Mirren Park (Paisley).
Cardiff Met Women put the seal on a domestic treble when they defeated Abergavenny Women 2-0 in the FAW Women's Cup Final, to add to their Orchard Welsh Premier Women's League and Premier League Cup successes.
Played at the rarely used FA of Wales ground at Dragon Park, Newport on a pitch that not surprisingly was in excellent condition, although on the down side, the spectators were crammed into a small rather inadequate 200 capacity section.
Cardiff Met were on the attack from the start and it came as no surprise when, soon after Alice Griffiths had hit the bar with a header, they took the lead on 19 minutes from the impressive Madison Schupbach who was given time to control a high ball from Rebecca Mathias and place past Abergavenny goalkeeper Charlotte Hastings.
Met missed a great chance to double the lead before Schupbach did so on 35 minutes, giving Hastings no chance after a Naomi Clipston corner had been half cleared. Another chance followed, leaving Cardiff two up at half time; a lead which ought to have been more.
The tempo of the game slowed in the second half, with Abergavenny intent on not conceding any more, and Cardiff Met seemingly content to maintain their lead. Kate Jeremiah did go close for Abergavenny with a shot which was just wide, and in one move of note, Griffiths again hit the woodwork for Met after a Stacey Ayling corner had been half cleared.
Cardiff Met Women: Estelle Randall, Lucy Finch, Rebecca Mathias, Tija Richardson, Steph Turner, Ellie Walker-Smith (sub Jessica Westhoff 70mins), Olivia Thompson, Alice Griffiths, Robyn Pinder, Madison Schupbach (sub Stacey Ayling 81mins), Naomi Clipston (sub Lauren Townsend 63mins). Subs not used: Charlotte Smith, Ffion Llewellyn.
Abergavenny Women: Charlotte Hastings, Abigail Powell. Ashleigh MacKenzie (sub Megan Jones 85mins), Katie Adams, Mali Summers, Ceri Hudson (sub Lauren Daniels 87mins), Laura Davies, Sian Bull, Lyndsey Davies, Kate Jeremiah (sub Eliza Atkins 81mins), Lauren Boyd. .Subs not used: Rebecca Lane, Gabi Hughes.
(Report by Bob Mewse, Photo by Will Cheshire)
East Midlands League
Peterborough Utd moved themselves to within a single point of Premier Division leaders Leicester City Women Development with a 3-1 victory away to Rise Park. Donna McGuigan netted a goal in each half for the Posh Ladies, with Megan Parrett also on target. Oughtibridge WMSC kept their hopes alive as goals from Kathryn Mudge and Chelsea Wall gave them a 2-0 success at Kettering Town. Jody Scott netted both goals for Woodlands Ladies as they shared a 2-2 draw with Ollerton Town.
The top and bottom teams apart, Division One North has compacted into a tight table with only nine points covering second placed Lincoln Moorlands Railway and second from bottom Calverton MW, despite them beating Grimsby Borough 3-1. Hayley Brown netted twice along with Jenna Stocks, with Grimsby replying through Lydia Clark. Thea Duncan was on target for Arnold Town in their 1-1 draw with Sleaford Town, who scored a second half equaliser through Lauren Alderson.
The top of the table clash in Division One South went the way of Northampton Town, who opened up a lead of six points over Oadby & Wigston after beating them 3-0. Emma Dunmore scored a goal in each half, with Abbie Reboul also on target for Northampton. Olivia Bowles and Analeise Wilks scored the goals as Lutterworth Athletic defeated Loughborough Foxes Vixens 2-0 and Thrapston Town are off the bottom after winning for the second time, 2-1 away to Corby Town.
Eastern Region League
After having secured the Premier Division title, Cambridge City are setting their sights on a second trophy this season by reaching the League Cup Final with a 3-1 victory over Harlow Town. Erin Davies, Bronte Rapley and an own goal took City to victory, with Harlow's consolation coming from Hannah Smith. City's opponents in the Final will be Bedford Ladies who were 2-1 winners away to Peterborough Northern Star, courtesy of a goal apiece from Jasmine Ajayi and Amy Magnus.
Histon have reached the Final of the League Plate, thanks to a 2-1 success at Stevenage Ladies Res after extra time. Katie Seagrave's opener for Histon was cancelled out by Sherrie Evans, before Kaya Huq struck home a free kick from distance during the extra period to send Histon through. Their opponents in the Final will be either Newmarket Town or Hoddesdon Town Owls who play their semi final this Sunday.
Royston Town are in the box seat regarding a second place finish after they defeated Haringey Borough 5-1. Jo Rutherford scored a hat-trick, with Eva Ramsey and Francesca Smithers adding the other goals to take their team four points ahead of third placed Acle Utd. Colney Heath leapfrogged Brentwood Town in the table after beating them 2-0, goals coming from Charlene Moreton and Rianne Townsend-Brown.
Division One leaders St Ives Town did not play and their advantage has been halved to three points by Bowers & Pitsea, who won 1-0 away to Hutton with a goal from Sophie Dowman. Newmarket Town consolidated themselves in third place by beating Hoddesdon Town Owls 3-2 - in a 'dress rehearsal' for this week's League Plate semi final - courtesy of an Annabel Cuthbert hat-trick. King's Lynn Town netted nine times without reply past Hatfield Peveral, spearheaded by a four-goal haul from Oksana Imanalijeva and a Tiffany Forshaw hat-trick, with Jodie Hopkins-Duckhouse and Rebecca Russell also getting on the scoresheet. Jodie Sharp, Stacey Teager and Claire Brazier-Gauntlett accounted for the goals as Lawford defeated Bishop's Stortford 3-1.
London & South East League
They had to wait a week and until their final game, but Kent Football Utd wrapped up the league title on Sunday with a 3-1 victory over Queen's Park Rangers Development. KFU had suffered the agony of an injury time equaliser seven days earlier, which denied them the chance to lift the title on that occasion, but this time they made absolutely sure with goals from Chloe Francis, Amy Russ and Lizzie Waldie, before Martha Riley netted a late consolation for Rangers who have to settle for a fourth place finish.
North East League
The only action in the North East League on Sunday took place in the Northern Division, where title winners Redcar Town are just one match away from completing the season unbeaten in the league, following their 8-3 victory over third placed Consett Ladies. Jessica Round led the scoring with a four-goal haul and there was one apiece from Suzanne Fox, Ebony Housam, Kenzie Parkes and Chloe Jones after Consett had scored three times in the opening twelve minutes through Amy Wharton, Nicole McEvoy and Carolanne Hughes. The defeat for Consett means that Boro Rangers still have an opportunity to beat them to a top three place, which they maintained with a 2-0 win against Alnwick Town in which Alys Beadle and Larissa Burkinshaw both scored.
North West League
The balance in the Premier Division title race has taken a shift during the week, after FC United of Manchester defeated Stockport County 2-1 in midweek to put matters into their own hands. Stockport bounced back on Sunday to beat second placed Tranmere Rovers 5-4 but FC United also won, 4-0 against Wigan Athletic, and they now trail Stockport by seven points but have three matches in hand. Mossley Hill follow on in fourth place after they won 4-1 against Penrith AFC. Merseyrail Ladies were 3-1 winners over Fleetwood Town Wrens and can still finish in the top half of the table, whilst Sir Tom Finney continued their climb away from any danger with a 5-3 victory against Manchester Stingers.
Bury FC Women's spectacular end of season form has taken them to within one point of the Division One North title, having beaten Preston North End 8-0 and 3-0 in a double header. Carlisle Utd meanwhile defeated Burscough Dynamo 3-0 and are up into second place, they are now the only remaining team which can still catch Bury's points total. The other match played in the division was also a double header with Workington Reds beating Penwortham Town 3-2 and the return meeting finishing goalless, meaning there is now a single point separating the two teams in the table.
West Didsbury & Chorlton picked up maximum points from a double header with Warrington Wolverines and this has taken them six points clear at the top of the Southern Division. Curzon Ashton are on course to finish third, and can still reach the top two, following their 2-1 win away to Stockport County Blues, whilst Altrincham stay two points behind after beating Wythenshawe Amateurs 8-1. Chester FC Women edged out Northwich Vixens by the odd goal in seven and Didsbury Ladies claimed four points from their double header against City of Liverpool, who had the consolation of ending their run of fourteen straight defeats.
South West League
Exeter City went into their meeting with second placed Keynsham Town Development needing to avoid defeat in order to be confirmed as Champions, and did so by beating their nearest rivals 3-1. Sophie Gillies netted twice and Danielle Skinner the other to give Exeter the result they wanted, with Rhianna Ben-Carew netting a consolation for Keynsham who have the consolation of the runners-up spot. Third place was on offer for the winners of the match between Marine Academy Plymouth and Bishop's Lydeard, and it was Marine who sailed to a 3-0 victory, courtesy of a goal apiece from Sam Drewery, Eden May and Tina Martin. Portishead Town meanwhile won 2-0 away to Forest Green Rovers, Emily Lindsay and Shannon Holloway accounting for their goals.
The destiny of the Eastern Division title went all the way to the final match for both of the contenders and it was Wootton Bassett Town, who started the day with a significant advantage in goal difference, who made sure of finishing on top as Amber Egerton and Hayley Huckin gave them a 2-0 victory over Swindon Town Development. Frampton Rangers did everything they could but their 4-1 win against Laverstock & Ford was not quite enough and they have to settle for second place. Maddy Brown did hit a hat-trick for Frampton and Saffy Degg was also on target. AEK Boco have had a decent season which has finished on a winning note, Ellie Keedwell scoring the only goal of the game against Trowbridge Town. Oldland Abbotonians meanwhile won for the fifth time, 3-2 away to FC Chippenham thanks to first half goals from Anneka Hawkins-Hoare (2) and Beth Dale.
Plympton Ladies have taken the runners-up spot in the Western Division after they defeated Pen Mill 2-1. Sam Metters and Bethany-Ann Mitchell scored the goals to give Plympton the result they needed, despite Pen Mill replying through Hayley Todd. Weston-super-Mare ended a run of eleven matches without a win by beating Exeter & Tedburn Rangers 6-3. Desni Darch was on target twice for Weston along with Lauryn Nigh, Lindsay Pilgrim, Sarah Tedder and Gabrielle Massey.
Southern Region League
Jade Hockey, Meg Vella and Rebecca Miles were all on the scoresheet as AFC Bournemouth CST won 3-1 at Winchester City Flyers to keep hold of the leadership of the Premier Division on goal difference from Southampton FC Ladies, who beat Barton Rovers 3-0 thanks to Shannon Sievwright, Rachel Woods and Ella Pusey. Oxford City are all but certain to finish in third place following their 2-1 win away to New Milton Town. Warsash Wasps are closing in on a top half position after they defeated Newbury Ladies 5-1, Megan Fox hitting a hat-trick along with Sophie Spoor and an own goal.
Moneyfields have taken up the pace in Division One and have a lead of three points following their 7-1 victory over Eastleigh. Kim Whitcombe was on target four times, Sheree Bell-Jack weighed in with a double and Grace Laidlaw added the other. Nell Boxall and Kiera Isaac scored the goals as Abingdon Utd won 2-0 away to Wycombe Wanderers.
West Midlands League
Leafield Athletic require two points from their final two matches in order to clinch the Premier Division title after Sutton Coldfield Town were beaten 2-0 by Goldenhill Wanderers. Sutton Coldfield have one match remaining, which they need to win to be sure of finishing in the runners-up spot. Crusaders can still take a top two place and kept those hopes alive by winning 4-0 at Redditch Utd, a result which sees them climb above their opponents into fourth.
Shifnal Town look likely to have claimed the runners-up position in Division One North after they edged out Stoke City Development by the odd goal in seven. The other game in the division also yielded seven goals, with Shrewsbury Town winning 4-3 at Port Vale.
Solihull Utd secured the Division One South title in style, running out 8-0 winners over Kingfisher to record their seventeenth successive win. Kidderminster Harriers have made sure of finishing in second place as they defeated Leamington Lions 11-1.
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.
West Bromwich Albion have picked up the first of what should be a trophy double when they defeated Liverpool Feds 5-1 in the League Plate Final at Rugby Town F.C.
Albion captain Hannah George got her side off to the perfect start when she fired in a 20-yard free kick via the post in the fifth minute. The Feds reacted well to going behind and Gemma Farley levelled the scores midway through the first half but Jess Davies put Albion back in front shortly before half time.
After the break, Davies scored her second to put her side in command of the game and Ria Elsmore then added the fourth. Natalie Murray then produced a fine solo effort to round off the scoring and crown a fine day for her club, who are just one point away from adding the Division One Midlands title to their trophy haul.
Blackburn Rovers completed a League and Cup double for themselves as they added the Reserve Section League Cup to the Northern Division One title, after getting the better of Charlton Athletic in a tense penalty shootout.
After the teams had battled out a 1-1 draw after extra time, Isabel Pacitto's seventh minute strike for Rovers being cancelled out midway through the second half for the Addicks by Georgia Pearch, it was Blackburn who emerged as 3-1 winners from the spot with goalkeeper Amelia Size saving two kicks.
Meanwhile in Northern Division One, runners-up Sheffield Utd ran out emphatic winners against Hull City. Courteney Csomor and Georgia Willson each scored four times and there were doubles from Isobel Ford, Beth Ibbotson, Brooke Marsden and Eve Marshall.
One match went ahead in the Midland Division and it saw newly crowned Champions Stoke City beaten for only the second time this season, 1-0 by Leicester City who boosted their chances of finishing in the runners-up position. Natasha Hudson scored the only goal of the game to leave Leicester three points behind second placed Derby County and with a game in hand, although Derby do have a much superior goal difference.
Whilst Charlton Athletic were involved in the League Cup Final, Tottenham Hotspur took themselves to the brink of the South/South East Division title by winning 3-0 at Gillingham. Therese Addison was on target twice for Spurs, with Elisha Soula adding the other goal. Millwall Lionesses meanwhile moved themselves back above Gillingham on goal difference as strikes from Nyara Denny and Dainyika Jackson gave them a 2-0 victory over Norwich City.
The title race in the South/South West Division is all over though, Crystal Palace ensuring they will finish top after beating Chichester City 4-0, courtesy of doubles from Charli-Mae Goad and Jade Keogh. AFC Wimbledon will have to settle for the runners-up spot despite scoring eight times without reply past Southampton Women, Sophie Manzi led the spree for the Dons with a six-goal haul, whilst Justine Buckmire and Bernice Tully were also on target.
Whilst the FAW Women‘s Cup Final took most of the attention over the weekend, there was plenty of significant action in the Orchard Welsh Premier Women's League with the three challengers for the runners-up spot all in action.
Port Talbot Town played host to Cardiff City Women and it was City who kept themselves in second place with a 1-0 victory. Alana Murphy scored the only goal of the game, two minutes before half time, to give City three valuable points and end Port Talbot's hopes of finishing in the top two.
This means that Swansea City are now the only rivals to Cardiff City and they remain two points behind, with a game in hand, after scoring seven times without reply past Briton Ferry Llansawel. The away side had celebrated their first league victory of the season seven days earlier but found themselves three down inside the opening 23 minutes, courtesy of a hat-trick from Stacey John-Davis. Nieve Jenkins added a fourth two minutes later, with Jodie Passmore and Emma Beynon adding further goals before half time. Beynon rounded off the scoring for the Swans with the final goal midway through the second half.
Cardiff City are not in action this coming Sunday, meaning that Swansea City can overtake them if they beat Cyncoed Ladies. Meanwhile at the other end of the table, Rhyl Ladies play host to Briton Ferry Llansawel and will need to win to stand any chance of finishing off the bottom of the table.
Aberystwyth Town have taken themselves to the brink of the Welsh Women's League title after beating Splott Albion 2-1. Naomi Evans and Tania Wylde scored the goals to leave Aber requiring just two more points to put themselves out of reach and they will be crowned as Champions this coming Sunday if they win against Cascade Youth Club.
Barry Town Utd are now the only team which can still catch them, keeping their hopes alive by winning 5-3 away to Llangyfelach. Caldicot Town meanwhile went down 3-2 to Cascade Youth Club and may well have to settle for third place. Meanwhile at the other end of the table, it was a good day for both Dafen Welfare and Penybont as they moved away from the bottom two places with away wins against Merthyr Town (4-1) and Rhos (3-2) respectively.
This season's Scottish Women's Premier League Cup Final will once again be contested between Glasgow City and Hibernian after the top two came through the double header of semi finals on Sunday.
The first match of the double header at the Broadwood Stadium was the Edinburgh derby clash between Hibernian and Spartans and it was the latter who nearly took the lead early on when Tegan Reynolds struck the bar.
The Hibees were to go in front shortly afterwards from a corner which was not cleared by the Spartans defence, and Lauren Davidson bundled the ball over the line. Hibernian pressed for a second but Spartans defended well until the early stages of the second half when Jamie Lee Napier doubled their advantage following good work by Amy Gallacher. Napier then turned provider, setting up Lia Tweedie to score the third and complete a 3-0 victory for the holders.
Glasgow City took on Rangers in the second semi final and took the lead after eight minutes, when Nicola Docherty volleyed in following a corner. The Scottish international then scored a second goal, before Kirsty Howat and Clare Shine put City further ahead. Rangers did pull one back shortly before half time when Caitlin O'Hara fired in from long range. Six minutes into the second half, Leanne Ross curled in a shot from the edge of the area to round off a 5-1 win for her side.
The Final of the Premier League Cup will take place on Friday 10th May at the Pennycars Stadium, Airdrie.
One match was played in SWPL 2 on Sunday, St Johnstone picking up their first victory of the season when they beat FC Kilmarnock 3-2 at Rugby Park.
Lisa Swanson gave Killie the lead midway through the first half but five minutes later, St Johnstone were back on level terms through Ellie Cowie and an own goal put them in front for the first time at the break. Ashley Fish made it three with eighteen minutes remaining and although an own goal brought Kilmarnock back into the game, the visitors held on for a win which took them out of the bottom two.
(West Ham won 4-3 on penalties)>
Reading FC Women 1 West Ham Utd 1
(West Ham won 4-3 on penalties)
West Ham United will make their first appearance in the SSE Women's FA Cup Final after edging out Reading FC Women in a dramatic penalty shootout after a 1-1 semi final stalemate at Adams Park.
The Hammers rode their luck at times and were forced into desperate defence on occasion but battled hard to reach the spot kick decider. Both Grace Moloney and Anna Moorhouse made saves in the shootout but two misses from Reading to one from West Ham condemned the Royals to semi final heartbreak.
A tight first half of defensive domination and few chances, with Fara Williams going closest with a free kick which clipped the bar, was the prelude to a dramatic second period.
Reading took the lead on 48 minutes with a superbly worked goal, Jo Potter's flighted free kick from midfield releasing Jade Moore on the right for a first time cross which was met with a towering Rachel Furness header.
West Ham equalised eight minutes later through Alisha Lehmann, who guided a loose ball wide of Moloney from 15 yards with a clever outside of the foot finish.
Reading dominated the rest of normal time. Potter was denied a penalty claim and received a yellow card then Williams missed two big chances to regain the lead for the hosts. She hit a penalty, awarded when Gilly Flaherty was penalised for handball on 68 minutes, against the upright and then fired wide when a defensive error left her clear on goal in the fourth minute of injury time.
There were also several scrambles in the West Ham area with Kate Longhurst making a crucial tackle to deny Lauren Bruton a tap in.
Extra time was a more even battle of attrition as injury forced Potter off and Williams was withdrawn. Moorhouse was still the busier keeper, twice punching crosses away under severe pressure but generally the Hammers defended well and occasionally threatened on the break.
The penalty shootout was a tense affair with so much at stake and eventually, after Moorhouse had saved Moore's kick, it was the sixth West Ham spot kick by Cho So-Hyun which sealed the outcome by four successful conversions to three. West Ham will take on Manchester City in the Wembley showpiece on May 4th.
Reading FC Women:
Grace Moloney, Natasha Harding, Molly Bartrip, Jo Potter (sub Sophie Howard 114mins), Maz Pacheco, Jade Moore, Jade Bailey (sub Rakel Honnudottir 67mins), Remi Allen, Fara Williams (sub Gemma Davison 101mins), Lauren Bruton, Rachel Furness. Subs not used: Rachael Laws, Rebecca Jane, Kirsty Pearce, Charlie Estcourt.
West Ham Utd:
Anna Moorhouse, Erin Simon (sub Vyan Sampson 113mins), Gilly Flaherty, Brooke Hendrix, Claire Rafferty, Lucienne Reichardt (sub Brianna Visalli 52mins), Cho So-Hyun, Kate Longhurst, Alisha Lehmann (sub Rosie Kmita 118mins), Jane Ross, Leanne Kiernan (sub Adriana Leon 57mins). Sub not used: Becky Spencer.
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
Manchester City will play West Ham Utd in this season's SSE Women's FA Cup Final at Wembley Stadium after coming through a dramatic semi final on Sunday.
Holders Chelsea made the trip to the Academy Stadium to face Manchester City in a repeat of their semi final meeting twelve months earlier. Chelsea had of course triumphed on that occasion but it was Nick Cushing's side who went through this time with a 1-0 victory.
Buoyed by their recent success in the UEFA Women's Champions League quarter finals against Paris Saint Germain, Chelsea started the game confidently with Erin Cuthbert and Fran Kirby both forcing saves from Karen Bardsley.
City weathered the early storm and began to fashion chances as the half wore on, going closest when Nikita Parris nipped in to take the ball past Ann-Katrin Berger, but the England striker found the angle to be too narrow and her shot went across the face of goal.
With so much at stake, the second half was a largely dull affair with neither side willing to take too many risks during the opening stages.
The game exploded into life however with fifteen minutes remaining, after Chelsea had been awarded a free kick midway inside the City half. Cuthbert drilled the ball into the area, where Kirby threw herself headlong for a diving header which looped against the bar.
Three minutes later, Sophie Ingle's pass released Cuthbert on goal, she slid her shot past Bardsley but it hit the inside of the post and rolled along the goal line without crossing it.
Extra time was looming as the game went into injury time but disaster was to strike for the Blues. Demi Stokes crossed from the left and, although under little pressure, Magdalena Eriksson miscued her clearance and - to Chelsea's horror - shot into the top corner of the net and City were in front.
There was little time for Chelsea to recover, although Jennifer Beattie did make an important block to deny Kirby, and it is Manchester City who will have the chance to lift the trophy for the second time at Wembley on Saturday 4th May.
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