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The Orchard Welsh Premier Women's League is to resume its season next month.
The league has issued the following statement:
"Earlier this week the Orchard WPWL gratefully received the news that Sport Wales had reinstated the League's elite status, allowing a return to training and competitive matches.
"The timing of the announcement means that we can restart with confidence that the League programme shall be completed this season, making use of the extension of the league to May 30th as agreed by clubs at the AGM.
"Clubs were consulted over the last couple of days and their feedback has helped to shape the revised fixture programme. The League will restart on Sunday 7th March with Aberystwyth hosting Briton Ferry Llansawel, followed by a full set of games on 14th March; below is the first three weeks of action. The full fixture programme will be made available on the WPWL website in the next few days.
"No decision has been made in respect of resuming the WPWL Cup nor starting the FAW Women's Cup, announcements shall be made as appropriate in due course.
"The WPWL recognises the privileged position that we are in to be able to be playing this season and all clubs will once again be required to follow stringent ‘Return to Play' protocols, with an aim to keep the football family as safe as possible when attending matches. The dedication of the clubs in honouring these regulations is laudable and should not be underestimated."
The March fixtures are as follows:
Aberystwyth Town v Briton Ferry Llansawel
Briton Ferry Llansawel v Cardiff Met Women
Cardiff City v Abergavenny Women
Cascade v Port Talbot Town
Swansea City v Aberystwyth Town
Abergavenny Women v Aberystwyth Town
Cyncoed Ladies v Briton Ferry Llansawel
Cascade YC v Swansea City
Port Talbot Town v Cardiff City
Portugal 2 (Capeta 27, F.Pinto 90)>
Portugal 2 (Capeta 27, F.Pinto 90)
Scotland ended their EURO 2022 Qualification campaign with a disappointing 2-0 defeat to Portugal.
A first half goal along with a last gasp strike in injury time produced a scoreline which gave an unfair reflection of a match which Scotland dominated largely, but were ultimately unable to find the back of the net.
In surreal circumstances, Scotland stepped out in Cyprus to face Portugal in what was classified as a home match. The game was due to be played at Easter Road but the venue was changed due to current UK travel restrictions.
It was a special occasion for both Jenna Fife and Sam Kerr who made their first competitive starts for Scotland.
Scotland began brightly and Erin Cuthbert carved out the first goalscoring opportunity but headed over the bar. After 16 minutes, Claire Emslie combined with her strike partner when she curled a cross in the box and Martha Thomas forced the Portugal goalkeeper into a good stop.
Scotland were looking dangerous and moments later, Sam Kerr did well to find Cuthbert in the box who produced a strong shot but once again Patricia Morais was equal to the effort.
Despite their dominance they found themselves behind with nearly half an hour on the clock. Jenna Fife looked to clear the ball upfield but Capeta was sprightly and able to block the kick, the ball rebounding despairingly into the back of Scotland's net.
Scotland went in at the break 1-0 down but were close to levelling on the stroke of half time when a clever flick from Martha Thomas trickled wide of the target.
The second half began quietly but Scotland remained in the ascendancy, dominating possession but found themselves unable to create the number of scoring chances that were presented in the first period.
Scotland pushed hard for an equaliser as the half wore on, with Thomas and Jen Beattie coming closest, but the Portugal defence remained firm.
With three minutes added on, Portugal doubled their lead with a sucker punch after 92 minutes; a rare attack saw Fatima Pinto blast the ball into the back of the net, sealing the victory for the visitors.
The result ends a disappointing campaign for Scotland with all eyes now turning to the World Cup Qualifying draw at the end of April ahead of the campaign beginning in September. Prior to that there is an international window in June.
Scotland: Jenna Fife, Lisa Evans, Emma Mitchell, Rachel Corsie, Jennifer Beattie, Samantha Kerr (sub Kirsty Hanson 74mins), Lucy Graham, Caroline Weir, Claire Emslie, Martha Thomas, Erin Cuthbert. Subs not used: Lee Alexander, Megan Cunningham, Rachel McLauchlan, Rachael Boyle, Zoe Ness, Jane Ross, Lisa Robertson, Sophie Howard, Natalie Ross, Nicola Docherty, Lizzie Arnot.
Portugal: Patricia Morais, Ana Borges, Joana Marchao, Silvia Rebelo, Carole Costa, Dolores Silva, Fatima Pinto, Andreia Norton (sub Andreia Jacinto 76mins), Ana Capeta (sub Diana Silva 55mins), Jessica Silva (sub Telma Encarnacao 90mins), Vanessa Marques (sub Tatiana Pinton 45mins). Subs not used: Ines Pereira, Rute Costa, Monica Mendes, Alicia Correia, Claudia Neto, Carolina Mendes, Diana Gomes, Catarina Amado.
Northern Ireland 0>
England 6 (White 17,23,49, Bronze 29, Daly 67, Toone pen 75)
Northern Ireland 0
Ellen White hit a hat-trick as England returned to action for the first time in eleven months with a convincing victory over Northern Ireland at a windswept St George's Park.
The match was also notable for Jill Scott winning her 150th cap, a debut goal for Ella Toone, and Hege Riise's first match in charge of her caretaker role as England coach.
Northern Ireland went into the game missing a number of first choice players, and with several of those on show having not played competitively for months, and this showed as England came quickly out of the blocks and White forced an early save from Becky Flaherty.
Flaherty also did well to keep out a header by Lucy Bronze from point blank range but she was left helpless shortly afterwards as White seized on a poor pass out of defence and slotted into the bottom corner for the opening goal.
Six minutes later, a quick counter attack by England saw Bronze released down the right hand side and she crossed for White to glance a header past Flaherty at the near post.
With the wind at their backs, England continued to power forward and Bronze was next to get on the scoresheet, tapping home from close range after Lauren Hemp had made her way to the goal line and squared across goal.
White had looked sharp up front all game and the striker was to complete her hat-trick early in the second half. Receiving a pass from Scott, White did well to hold off the attentions of Julie Nelson before drilling her shot past Flaherty.
White then got the ball in the net a fourth time with a neat finish from Chloe Kelly's through ball but her celebrations were cut shot by an offside flag.
A series of substitutions by both teams then ensued, with Riise giving first senior appearances to four players in total; Toone being joined on the pitch by Sandy MacIver, Lotte Wubben-Moy and Ebony Salmon.
England continued to attack and were further rewarded as Bronze drove a low ball across the face of goal and Rachel Daly was on hand to tuck home from inside the six yard box.
Kelly had looked lively after coming on and she was to be heavily involved in the next goal as she wriggled her way into the area before going down under a challenge from Rebecca Holloway for a penalty. Perhaps surprisingly, Scott did not step up to take the kick on the occasion of her 150th cap but instead it was at the other end of the scale, debutant Toone sending Flaherty the wrong way from the spot.
There were no more chances in the final stages of the game but all in all, it was a highly satisfactory return to match action for England whilst for Northern Ireland, the game served as vital match practice ahead of their forthcoming efforts to qualify for the UEFA Euro finals in the play-offs.
England: Ellie Roebuck (sub Sandy MacIver 57mins), Lucy Bronze, Alex Greenwood, Georgia Stanway, Steph Houghton, Leah Williamson (sub Lotte Wubben-Moy 73mins), Rachel Daly (sub Ebony Salmon 83mins), Jill Scott, Ellen White (sub Beth England 73mins), Jordan Nobbs (sub Ella Toone 45mins), Lauren Hemp (sub Chloe Kelly 57mins). Subs not used: Millie Turner, Beth Mead, Hannah Hampton.
Northern Ireland: Becky Flaherty, Abbie Magee, Julie Nelson, Sarah McFadden (sub Kelsie Burrows 83mins), Rebecca Holloway (sub Toni-Leigh Finnegan 83mins), Chloe McCarron (sub Ciara Watling 54mins), Rachel Furness, Nadene Caldwell (sub Samantha Kelly 83mins), Marissa Callaghan (sub Rebecca McKenna 54mins), Lauren Wade (sub Louise McDaniel 72mins), Simone Magill. Subs not used: Maddy Harvey-Clifford, Ella Haughey, Ashley Hutton, Casey Howe, Emily Wilson.
Photo - Ellen White heads in England's second goal (courtesy of the Football Association).
Scotland 10 (Cuthbert 10,34, Thomas 22,71, Weir 25, Hanson 29, Arnot 57, Emslie 64, J.Ross 69, 73)>
Scotland 10 (Cuthbert 10,34, Thomas 22,71, Weir 25, Hanson 29, Arnot 57, Emslie 64, J.Ross 69, 73)
Scotland bounced back to winning ways in emphatic fashion with an incredible 10-0 rout of Cyprus.
Stuart McLaren's side were 5-0 up at the break and refused to let up, hitting double figures in an incredibly dominant performance.
Erin Cuthbert, Martha Thomas and Jane Ross all grabbed doubles on a day where Caroline Weir scored another incredible dink and Lisa Robertson made her Scotland debut.
Scotland went into the game on the back of three defeats and their intent to get back to winning ways was evident right from the first whistle.
Erin Cuthbert and Martha Thomas were paired up front and both went close in the opening minutes before Cuthbert scored the first after just 10 minutes, nodding home a Kirsty Hanson cross.
In the first half Cyprus ventured into Scotland's half on a rare occasion, hitting the post after 13 minutes.
Nine minutes later however, Scotland scored their second with Martha Thomas notching her third for her country in seven caps, converting a Lizzie Arnot cross.
Fresh from scoring a world class goal in the Manchester derby last Friday, Caroline Weir was back doing it again, after 25 minutes. Picking the ball up at the edge of the box she slalomed her way through defenders inside the box before cutely dinking the ball over the despairing goalkeeper.
Kirsty Hanson had been a constant menace on the flank and she got in on the scoring act before the half hour mark when she was released on the left and was able to hammer the ball home.
Lizzie Arnot then hit the back of the net but her header was disallowed much to Scotland's bemusement. Scotland did make it five before the break however when Erin Cuthbert squeezed the ball beyond the goalkeeper from close range.
At the break, Lisa Robertson made her Scotland debut along with Natalie Ross who played her first match for her country since 2009.
Scotland were dominant from the off once again and Lizzie Arnot was able to add her name to the scoresheet converting an Erin Cuthbert cross.
Jane Ross emerged from the bench midway through the second half and immediately made an impact, scoring from the spot.
Cyprus were out on their feet and struggled to deal with Scotland's intensity. Stuart McLaren's side refused to relent though and in the 71st and 73rd minute they scored again. First Martha Thomas hit her brace before Jane Ross scored her second of the afternoon to make it ten for Scotland.
Scotland will now stay in Cyprus as they prepare for Tuesday's final EURO 2022 Qualifier, against Portugal.
Cyprus: Maria Matthaiou, Maria Ioannou (sub Kyriaki Vasiliou 59mins), Victoria Zampa, Georgia Xenofontos (sub Elena Aristodimou 64mins), Maria Panayiotou (sub Andria Michael 45mins), Antri Violari, Loucretia Chrysostomou (sub Christiana Solomou 58mins), Sara Papadopoulou, Filippa Savva, Krystyna Freda, Efthalia Siakalli (sub Chara Charalambous 45mins). Subs not used: Ioanna Achilleos, Constantina Kouzali, Maria Toumazou, Korina Paola Adamou, Georgia Antoniou, Stefania Iosifaki, Eirini Michail.
Scotland: Lee Alexander, Rachel McLauchlan, Rachel Corsie, Lucy Graham (sub Claire Emslie 45mins), Caroline Weir (sub Lisa Robertson 45mins), Sophie Howard, Nicola Docherty, Martha Thomas (sub Zoe Ness 75mins), Kirsty Hanson (sub Natalie Ross 45mins), Erin Cuthbert (sub Jane Ross 64mins), Lizzie Arnot. Subs not used: Megan Cunningham, Jenna Fife, Emma Mitchell, Jennifer Beattie, Rachael Boyle, Samantha Kerr, Lisa Evans.
The Football Association [The FA] has today announced the launch of the Coaching Excellence Initiative, an 18-month programme created to develop and connect high performance coaches working in the elite women's game.
14 coaches have been selected for the inaugural Coaching Excellence Initiative programme, providing them with a bespoke, high quality coach development experience underpinned by regular one-to-one support from a dedicated team of mentors. The coaches will receive individual and collective learning opportunities at regular workshops and interventions to support their individual and collective needs, unique to the experiences faced in women's football.
Delivered annually via group gatherings in high performance environments, peer mentoring and individual support, the programme will advance the coaching and leadership ability of selected senior coaches working in the women's elite game, including the Barclays FA Women's Super League, FA Women's Championship and the England Women's pathway.
The programme will become a mainstay of The FA's commitment in the 2020-2024 ‘Inspiring Positive Change' strategy, to provide coaches personalised and high-quality experiences. 14 to 18 coaches - 75% of whom will be female - will be supported via the programme each season.
The 14 coaches for the 2020-21 programme were selected following an application process, which included individual assessment and interviews with players, General Managers and technical staff at relevant clubs and national teams. The coaches are:
* Carla Ward, Birmingham City WFC Manager
* Charlotte Healy, Manchester United WSL Academy Manager
* Gemma Davies, Aston Villa WFC Head Coach
* Gemma Donnelly, Blackburn Rovers WFC Manager
* Gemma Grainger, England WU17 Women's National Head Coach
* Joe Sheehan, Ipswich Town WSL Academy Head Coach & First Team Manager
* Karen Hills, in between roles
* Leanne Champ, Chelsea WFC Technical Coach
* Lydia Bedford, England Women's U18s Development Phase Head Coach
* Melanie Reay, Sunderland AFC Ladies Head Coach
* Riteesh Mishra, Charlton Athletic WFC Head Coach
* Stephanie Libbey, Durham WFC First Team Coach
* Tanya Oxtoby, Bristol City WFC Manager
* Vicky Jepson, in between roles
The inaugural 18-month programme started in August 2020 and has so far seen the coaches receive formal learning opportunities through group events held online, as well as virtual small group meet-ups, peer to peer learning and sharing and one-to-one mentoring.
Audrey Cooper (pictured), The FA's Head of Women's Coach Development, said: "The Coaching Excellence Initiative is central to our commitment to see the top coaches in the women's game become the very best they can, providing them with the development and learning opportunities to achieve their potential and fulfil their ambitions. Living well beyond the 18-month course, it will provide the coaches with a support network to share their experiences as they continue in their career.
"This programme will also support our broader ambition to normalise women in football coaching, shining a light each year on aspirational, relatable and credible female role models for future generations to be inspired by. Whether you are female or male, it's my belief that there's never been a more exciting time to be a coach in the women's game."
Tanya Oxtoby, Coaching Excellence Initiative participant and Manager at Bristol City WFC, added: "I applied to The FA's CEI programme to continue to develop myself as a manager, network with likeminded people within the women's game and to challenge my way of thinking. The programme has been extremely useful as its focused on skills and qualities which do not normally feature within technical coaching courses. It's provided me with a network of support in very strange times and it's changed the way I think about my way of working and how I can reach my own potential moving forward."
The Coaching Excellence Initiative follows a record number of female coaches taking their FA Level 4 (UEFA A Licence) and the announcement of The FA's Elite Coach Placement Programme which sees Rachel Yankey, Fara Williams and Coreen Brown begin season-long coaching placements with England's Women's development teams.
The draw for the Round of 16 in the UEFA Women's Champions League has paired Chelsea and Manchester City with Spanish and Italian oppostition respectively.
Chelsea will be up against Atletico Madrid whilst Manchester City take on Fiorentina for a place in the quarter finals. First legs are to be played on 3/4 March, with the return meetings scheduled for the following week.
Elsewhere, holders Olympique Lyonnais have been drawn against Brondby, whilst Sparta Prague, who beat Glasgow City in the last round, face a tough task against Paris Saint-Germain.
Round of 16 draw:
The Scottish FA has appointed Scottish Women's Football Chief Executive Officer Fiona McIntyre as Head of Girls' and Women's Football.
In a seven-year spell with SWF, holding the position of Chief Executive Officer since June 2017, Fiona has helped to drive huge growth in the game, from participation levels to restructuring SWF competitions.
Her new role, commencing on 15th March, will see her lead on the delivery of the Scottish FA's Girls' and Women's Strategy across a multitude of key areas, including National Teams, elite competitions, clubs, grassroots and youth participation.
She will aim to build on the recent success the Scottish FA has had in growing the girls' and women's game, which has seen the number of registered grassroots football participants rise to over 17,000 - an increase of 68 percent since 2016.
The game has also benefited from recent successes for the Scotland Women's National Teams, including the SWNT's qualification for the FIFA Women's World Cup and Scotland's successful hosting of the UEFA Women's Under-19 European Championships in 2019.
Fiona told www.scottishfa.co.uk: "The growth of the girls' and women's game in Scotland in recent years has been a tremendous success story, so it is extremely exciting to be appointed Head of Girls' and Women's Football at the Scottish FA and be in a position to try and capitalise further on the increased interest."
"Most importantly, this is a terrific opportunity to build upon the fantastic work and foundations laid before me.
"It is certainly a challenging time for all levels of the game, which only adds to the fundamental responsibility to ensure progress can continue to be made, but it is a challenge for which I am prepared.
"Participation in the girls' and women's game has almost doubled in the last five years, the domestic game is growing, our international players are doing so well and we're seeing large commercial growth in the game.
"The game is in a strong place, but crucially, it is about building on that to try and take it to the next level."
Scottish FA Chief Football Officer Andy Gould added: "The continued growth of the Girls' and Women's game is a key priority for the Scottish FA and our success in this area in recent years has been testament to the dedication of everyone involved at all levels of the game.
"In order to ensure we can maintain this upward trajectory, it was crucial for us to find the right candidate to spearhead our strategy and in Fiona we have appointed someone who brings a wealth of experience in the Scottish girls' and women's game with a proven track record.
"Fiona was the outstanding candidate in an extensive recruitment process and, having worked with us closely in this area in her previous role at SWF, will be well-equipped to build on the strong foundations that are already in place across the game.
"Fiona joins during a challenging time for the girls' and women's game - as indeed it is for all of Scottish football and society as it deals with the impact of a global pandemic - and her knowledge and relationships built from years of working within the game will be vital as we seek to not only get girls and women back on the pitch, but aim to increase the numbers doing so."
Chelsea opened up a lead of five points at the top of the Barclays FA WSL with a 5-0 victory away to Bristol City.
The Blues started the game quickly, on the back of their midweek win over Arsenal, and were three goals ahead at the interval thanks to a Fran Kirby brace and Pernille Harder. Sam Kerr made it four, eight minutes into the second half, and Beth England completed the scoring.
Manchester City are now the nearest rivals to Chelsea after beating Manchester Utd 3-0 in their derby clash on Friday night. The first quarter of the game was tightly contested with few chances but City broke the deadlock midway through the first half, Lucy Bronze firing home after a corner was not cleared. City were enjoying the better of the spoils on the day and they made it two with nineteen minutes remaining, Lauren Hemp scoring from the rebound after Chloe Kelly's shot was saved. Caroline Weir then wrapped up the win with a superbly executed chip over Mary Earps from just outside the area.
Everton remain just ahead of Reading FC Women on goal difference after their meeting culminated in a 1-1 draw - the seventh time that the Royals have shared the points this season. Reading started the first half well and Rachel Rowe gave them the lead ten minutes before half time. After the break, Everton became more of an attacking force and earned themselves a share of the spoils when Nicoline Sorensen headed in a cross from Hayley Raso.
Photo - Chelsea's Jonna Andersson closes down Kiera Skeels of Bristol City (Will Cheshire).
London City Lionesses made it three wins on the trot and went level on points with fourth placed Liverpool in the FA Women's Championship following a thrilling 3-2 victory away to Lewes.
The Rookettes took an early lead through Ini Umotong but goals in a five minute spell from Atlanta Primus and Kallie Balfour ensured that the Lionesses went into the half time interval in front. After the break, Alli Murphy shot over from the penalty spot for the Lionesses and this miss looked even costlier with eight minutes remaining as Lewes were awarded a penalty of their own and Umotong tucked away her second goal to level the scores. However as the game went into injury time, Ellie Mason fired home from a corner to give the Lionesses the three points.
Crystal Palace moved themselves closer towards the mid-table positions by running out 5-0 winners over London Bees. Both teams exchanged chances early on, with Helen Ward hitting the post for the Bees, before a devastating ten minute spell saw Palace take a firm grip on the game. Bianca Baptiste opened the scoring with a fine solo effort and Coral-Jade Haines quickly added a second. Baptiste then broke through to net her second as did Haines three minutes later from a Baptiste cross. Kate Natkiel rounded off a fine day for Palace as she curled home the final goal, eleven minutes from time.
A 26-player squad has been selected for a February training camp at the Vale Resort as Wales' preparations for the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup Qualifying Round get underway.
The camp (Mon 15 Feb - Sat 20 Feb) will feature an almost full strength Wales squad with captain Sophie Ingle, most capped international Jessica Fishlock and Hayley Ladd amongst the players involved. The only player unavailable will be Megan Wynne, who is at the final stages of her recovery from an ACL injury.
The camp will be the first time the squad are together since the departure of Jayne Ludlow as national team manager. An interim coaching group, led by FAW Technical Director David Adams, will take charge of the squad as the recruitment process for a new manager progresses. Adams will be assisted by Men's U18s manager Matty Jones and the recently retired centurion Loren Dykes for the duration of the camp.
The week will be the start of preparations for the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup qualifying campaign, which is due to start in September (draw date 30th April). Friendly matches prior to the start of the campaign will be announced in due course.
"I'm very excited to be involved for this camp along with the rest of the coaching team," said David Adams. "We plan to keep it an elite and enjoyable environment for the players, working on targets for each individual as they start to look ahead to the upcoming world cup campaign."
"I'm privileged to be asked to work with these girls on the upcoming camp, they are such a talented group of players with a good mix of youth and experience. It's a great learning opportunity for me and I hope I can make a positive impact in the short time we have together," added Loren Dykes.
"From the outside looking in the team has always had a togetherness and professionalism that is such a positive for the game in Wales," said Matty Jones. "I hope this camp will give the players the opportunity to grow even further and I look forward to the opportunity to learn more myself in a new environment."
Wales training camp squad:
Laura O'Sullivan (Cardiff City Ladies), Claire Skinner (Swansea City), Olivia Clark (Coventry United), Poppy Soper (Plymouth Argyle), Rhiannon Roberts (Liverpool), Gemma Evans (Bristol City), Maria Francis-Jones (Cardiff City Ladies), Charlie Estcourt (London Bees), Hayley Ladd (Manchester United), Josie Green (Tottenham Hotspur), Nadia Lawrence (Cardiff City Ladies), Elise Hughes (Blackburn Rovers *), Anna Filbey (Celtic *), Sophie Ingle (Chelsea), Angharad James (Reading FC Women), Jessica Fishlock (Reading FC Women *), Carrie Jones (Manchester United), Kylie Nolan (Cardiff City Ladies), Chloe Williams (Manchester United), Kayleigh Green (Brighton & Hove Albion), Natasha Harding (Reading FC Women), Rachel Rowe (Reading FC Women), Helen Ward (Watford), Lily Woodham (Reading FC Women), Georgia Walters (Blackburn Rovers), Ffion Morgan (Crystal Palace).
On a weekend of surprises in the Barclays FA WSL, Brighton & Hove Albion took the honours with a stunning 2-1 win away to league leaders Chelsea.
Sam Kerr headed in Chelsea in front from an Erin Cuthbert cross with five minutes on the clock but Brighton hit back straight away with an Aileen Whelan header following a corner. With twelve minutes remaining, Megan Connolly scored direct from a corner to give Brighton three precious points and bring an end to Chelsea's 33-match unbeaten run in the league.
Chelsea remain on top of the table as second placed Manchester Utd were also beaten, going down 2-0 at home to Reading FC Women. The first half was goalless but two goals in a three minute spell after the hour mark saw Reading to victory. Natasha Harding put them in front in the 63rd minute and Danielle Carter struck almost straight away with the second goal.
The big winners on the day were Manchester City who won 2-1 away to Arsenal to close the gap on the top two to two points. Ellen White gave City the lead midway through the first half and after Caitlin Foord brought the scores level just before the hour, Lauren Hemp headed in the winning goal for Gareth Taylor's side with eleven minutes remaining.
Everton remain in fifth place after they battled out a 1-1 draw with Birmingham City. Both goals came during the first half, Danielle Turner putting Everton in front at the midway point and Jamie Lee Napier equalising for the Blues ahead of half time.
Aston Villa meanwhile picked up a vital 1-0 win against Tottenham Hotspur which takes them out of the bottom two places. Mana Iwabuchi kept up her good start with the Villians when she scored the only goal of the game after twelve minutes.
West Ham Utd and Bristol City had to settle for a share of the spoils as they finished level at 1-1. An own goal by Emily van Egmond gave the Robins an early lead, before they were pegged back early in the second half when Katerina Svitkova levelled the scores.
With the top two in the FA Women's Championship not having a game on Sunday, third placed Sheffield Utd took the opportunity to narrow the gap on them to four points with a 4-2 victory away to London Bees.
The Blades took the lead in the fourteenth minute when a Leandra Little cross was diverted into her own net by Billie Brooks, with Courtney Sweetman-Kirk adding the second just after the half hour. The Bees fought back and reduced the arrears with Sophie McLean scored from close range, five minutes before half time. Naomi Hartley restored the two-goal advantage two minutes into the second half but once again the Bees responded and Charlie Estcourt gave them renewed hope shortly afterwards. The game remained in the balance until injury time when Katie Wilkinson made the points safe for United from the penalty spot.
Liverpool lost ground on the top three after battling out a 2-2 draw with Charlton Athletic, who move off the bottom of the table as a result. In snowy conditions at Hayes Lane, Shauna Vassell gave Charlton the lead midway through the first half but goals late on from Rachel Furness and debutant Ceri Holland looked to have given Liverpool victory. However as the game went into stoppage time, Charley Clifford earned the Addicks a vital point when she equalised from the penalty spot.
Lewes are back in mid-table following a 1-0 success away to Coventry Utd. Sue Wood was in fine form in goal for the home side with a string of saves and Simran Jhamat hit the bar, whilst Coventry also had chances at the other end and hit the woodwork through Amber Hughes. The game looked to be heading towards a draw but it was also to conjure up a vital injury time strike, Georgia Timms slotting home from an Emma Jones cross to hand the points to the Rookettes.
There was also late drama at Blackburn Rovers where the home side shared a 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace. Jade Richards headed Blackburn in front from a first half corner, whilst Palace levelled the scores through Cherelle Khassal six minutes later. Palace then took the lead with three minutes remaining as Annabel Johnson bundled home but Blackburn were to have the final say, Natasha Fenton earning them a share of the spoils when she fired home a late equaliser.
Scotland Women's National Team Interim Head Coach Stuart McLaren has named his squad for the upcoming EURO 2022 Qualifying matches against Cyprus and Portugal.
Celtic midfielders Lisa Robertson and Natalie Ross have been selected with Robertson aiming for her first cap and Natalie Ross looking to add to her 11 caps, the last of which she attained in 2009.
Kim Little, Chloe Arthur, Hannah Godfrey, Christie Murray and Kirsty Smith have all been ruled out through injury, meanwhile Fiona Brown, Shannon Lynn and Lana Clelland miss out due to the risk of travelling from overseas.
Claire Emslie has returned to the fray after recovering from a spell on the sidelines which ruled her out of last year's matches against Portugal and Finland.
McLaren will be joined by assistant coaches Stuart Glennie, who is a Scottish FA Performance School Coach at Hazlehead Academy, as well as former Scotland international Leanne Ross who retired from international football in 2017 having played 133 times for her national team. She has since gone on to attain her UEFA B Licence. They will be joined by Scottish FA Head of Goalkeeping Fraser Stewart who has worked with the squad over the last three years.
Both matches will be played in Cyprus, who will host Scotland in the first match on Friday 19th February at the AEK Arena in Larnaca (1pm GMT) and the Portugal match takes place at the Antonis Papadopoulos Stadium, also in Larnaca, on Tuesday 23rd February (3.10pm GMT).
England Women coach Hege Riise has named a 20-player squad for the forthcoming February international camp.
The get-together marks England's first official fixture since last year's SheBelieves Cup in the United States, when they welcome Northern Ireland to the home of England football teams, St. George's Park on Tuesday 23rd February.
The Lionesses will meet up at the team's usual training base in Staffordshire on Thursday 18th February for a five-day intensive camp that will be operated under strict COVID-19 elite sport guidelines.
The squad consists of a smaller group of players compared to previous camps as the Lionesses prepare for their involvement in Team GB's Olympic campaign, while also continuing preparations towards the home UEFA Women EURO, which is due to take place across England in summer 2022.
Riise continues the trend of previous camps in choosing a blend of youth and experience. Players have been selected based on merit with a focus on individuals' physical capability, fitness and versatility to cope with the demands of a major tournament.
Experienced internationals Steph Houghton, Lucy Bronze, Ellen White and Jill Scott, who could receive her 150th cap against Northern Ireland, form an integral part of the squad as England prepare for a three-year period which includes the Tokyo Olympics, Women's EURO and 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup.
Young prospects Hannah Hampton, Sandy MacIver, Lotte Wubben-Moy and Ella Toone are once again called up to the senior England camp and could make their senior international debuts against Northern Ireland.
Coach Hege Riise said: "I am looking forward to leading my first international camp with England. I have watched a lot of England and club matches and believe this is a group of players who are capable of winning at a major tournament.
"My work from now until Sarina Wiegman's arrival is to develop their ability, playing style and physical conditioning to contribute to future success - this summer and beyond.
"It is great for the players to have an official fixture to look forward to and is an opportunity to implement everything they have worked on from previous training camps."
Following England's fixture against Northern Ireland, they look to welcome Canada on Tuesday 13th April at a venue still to be confirmed.
Wales centurion Loren Dykes has announced her retirement from professional football after thirteen years of representing the national team.
Dykes won her first senior cap in August 2007 against the Netherlands and went on to represent her country 105 times, becoming Wales' second centurion in a goalless draw against the Czech Republic in April 2019.
A pupil at Cwmtawe Community School, Dykes started playing football for local side Pontardawe Town before representing Llanelli Reds, UWIC (now Cardiff Met) and Cardiff City Ladies. During her time at University Dykes also represented the Welsh Universities team.
Her biggest move at club level came in the 2008-09 season when she joined Bristol Academy (now called Bristol City Women) - whom she also captained. She is a double finalist of the Women's FA Cup in England (2011 and 2013) and has played in the UEFA Women's Champions League during her career, getting as far as the quarter finals in 2015.
Off the field, Dykes looks to inspire the stars of the future, with coaching roles for the Wales U15s and the Bristol City senior team in the WSL. As well as coaching, Loren is also an ambassador for Street Football Wales, a social inclusion charity that delivers football to socially excluded individuals throughout Wales. As part of her role, she was an ambassador for the 2019 Homeless World Cup held in Cardiff in July. Dykes was also awarded an MBE in 2019 for services to women's football in Wales.
"I have decided that now is the right time to announce my official retirement from football," she said. "It has been in the pipeline for quite some time as I have slowly made the transition from player to coach over these past few months.
"I want to fully focus my energy on my development as a coach, with responsibilities at both club and youth national level as I work towards the completion of my UEFA A coaching licence.
"Playing for my country has been the greatest honour I could have ever wished for and has given me memories that I will cherish for life. I now look forward to helping to continue the growth of the game in Wales and help inspire future players in a coaching capacity.
"I would like to thank my family, teammates, coaches and staff for everything they have done for me; none of this would have been possible without them. I now look forward to what the future holds."
Photo - Kunjan Malde/FAW
FA Women's Continental Tyres League Cup holders Chelsea will play Bristol City, who are appearing in their first final, following semi final victories over West Ham Utd and Leicester City respectively.
The semi finals were played as a double header on Wednesday with Chelsea first in action against West Ham at Kingsmeadow and they produced a strong display to run out 6-0 winners.
Emma Hayes' side were quickly out of the traps and took a third minute lead when Pernille Harder sprung the Hammers' offside trap and coolly lobbed home, then Sophie Ingle drilled home a low shot from 25 yards for the second. Harder then seized on a bad clearance to score her second and Beth England turned in a cross from Fran Kirby to leave Chelsea four goals ahead at half time.
West Ham started the second half well but could not reduce the arrears, going closest when Maz Pacheco's shot was saved by Ann-Katrin Berger, but Kirby was to extend Chelsea's lead shortly afterwards and Harder fired home from the edge of the area to complete her hat-trick and a fine night for the Blues.
The other semi final was a much closer affair and a late goal was to give Bristol City a 1-0 win over Leicester City to ensure the club reached its first major Final for eight years.
The Robins were seeking to continue their recent revival under interim manager Matt Beard whilst Championship leaders Leicester aimed to make history by becoming the first second flight side to reach the Final. The first half was goalless although Leicester goalkeeper Kirstie Levell did make a superb save, tipping a rasping Charlie Wellings shot onto the bar.
Leicester came into the game more as an attacking force after the break but the Robins produced the decisive moment with eighteen minutes remaining, a quickly taken corner saw Ebony Salmon's cross met with a firm header from Kiera Skeels past Levell for the opening goal.
Leicester tried to respond late on as they piled forward for an equaliser but the Bristol City defence stood firm to hold on for a result which gives their season a huge boost, coming on the back of their first league win of the season four days earlier.
Photo - Leicester City's Charlie Devlin controls under pressure from Bristol City captain Jaz Matthews
England are to welcome Northern Ireland and Canada in February and April respectively as they begin preparations for the home UEFA Women's EURO Finals next year.
Newly appointed assistant coach Hege Riise will lead the Lionesses into their first official fixture in almost a year when they face fellow home nation Northern Ireland on Tuesday 23rd February (12.30pm kick off).
The match will be played behind closed doors at the home of England football teams, St. George's Park.
England last faced Northern Ireland back in 2008 when the two sides met in a UEFA European Women's Championship qualifier in which the Lionesses won after goals from the nation's all-time record appearance maker, Fara Williams and former captain Faye White.
Northern Ireland have hit a good run of form, winning their last four Women's EURO qualifiers, sealing second place in their group and a spot in the play-offs for the rescheduled tournament, due to begin in June 2022.
England will then look to welcome Canada during the April international window on Tuesday 13th April with a venue and kick off time still to be confirmed.
The match will mark a return for former England Women's assistant coach Bev Priestman, who left the Lionesses in October to become Head Coach of Canada Women. The nations last met back in April 2019, in which Canada won 1-0.
With the FA continuing to work with the Government to get fans back into stadiums as soon as is safe to do so, any ticketing arrangements will be communicated to supporters when relevant.
In the meantime, the Northern Ireland fixture later this month will be available to watch on BBC iPlayer and Red Button.
Chelsea hold on to the leadership of the Barclays FA WSL on goal difference following their 4-0 victory against Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.
Melanie Leupolz broke the deadlock just before the half hour with a firm strike from 25 yards and before Spurs could recover from setback, they found themselves two behind a minute later when Pernille Harder scored from close range. Harder turned provider for the third as her far post cross was headed in by Sam Kerr and Chelsea completed the scoring after the hour mark, Leupolz slotting home from the penalty spot following a handball in the area.
Manchester Utd meanwhile won 2-0 away to Everton, to keep themselves level on points with Chelsea. The damage was inflicted in the first half, in-form striker Ella Toone giving United the lead in the ninth minute when she finished off from a Leah Galton cross and Christen Press added the second just before half time, tucking her shot past Sandy MacIver after being put through by Hayley Ladd.
Manchester City kept themselves in the race by running out 4-0 winners over West Ham Utd. Caroline Weir put City in front with a far post finish from a Chloe Kelly cross and Georgia Stanway fired in the second ahead of half time. After the break, Ellen White headed in the third from an Alex Greenwood corner and Rose Lavelle took advantage a defensive slip to make it four. There was more good news for City late on when Aoife Mannion came on as a substitute, making her comeback from a long term knee injury.
At the other end of the table, Bristol City notched up their first league victory of the season when beating Brighton & Hove Albion 3-0. The Robins got off to a flying start, taking the lead after three minutes with a spectacular 25-yard strike from Yana Daniels which crashed in off the underside of the bar and Ebony Salmon added the second, racing onto Aimee Palmer's long pass to score. Salmon completed the scoring on the hour from the penalty spot after Victoria Williams was adjudged to have handballed.
Photo - Ebony Salmon scores Bristol City's second goal against Brighton & Hove Albion (Will Cheshire).
In the only match to go ahead in the FA Women's Championship over the weekend, Charlton Athletic picked up an important point from a 1-1 draw against Blackburn Rovers.
The Addicks took the lead in the fourteenth minute when Elisha Sulola was brought down in the area by Ria Montgomery and Rachel Newborough scored from the resulting penalty. Blackburn fought back after the break and earned themselves a share of the spoils, also from the penalty spot, Elise Hughes finding the corner of the net after Charlotte Newsham had been fouled by Eartha Cumings.
Manchester City Football Club is delighted to announce that Ellie Roebuck has signed a new three-year deal at the Academy Stadium.
The 21-year-old has become a key figure for City in recent seasons, figuring prominently throughout the 2019-20 campaign and securing the inaugural Barclays FA Women's Super League Golden Glove award.
Joining City in 2015 as a 15-year-old, the shot stopper signed her first professional contract with the club in January 2018 having made her professional debut as a substitute against Birmingham City two years previous.
Playing her part as the team won both the FA Continental Tyres League Cup and Women's FA Cup in 2018-19, the 2019-20 campaign saw the young keeper make her mark as she conceded just nine league goals in 16 games and kept ten clean sheets in the process.
Roebuck also impressed as City retained the Vitality Women's FA Cup in November 2020 following the continuation of the competition from the previous season.
Internationally, she has represented England on five occasions at senior level so far - making her senior debut against Austria in late 2018 - and was a training player in the Lionesses' 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup squad.
One of the game's most exciting young players, Roebuck has now signed a three-year deal that will see her remain at the Academy Stadium until the summer of 2024.
Speaking about her contract extension, Roebuck said: "I'm delighted to have signed a new deal. It's really exciting to know that my future lies at City for the next three years - my time here so far has flown by and I can't wait for what is to come.
"Signing a three-year deal too is something that's a massive boost - the Club have shown their faith in me, which is amazing.
"City is the place I want to be - it's where I see myself developing as a player, so I'm very happy to have it all sorted."
Head Coach Gareth Taylor said: "We are really pleased to secure Ellie's future with us and look forward to seeing her add to the continued success she has had so far here at Manchester City in the years to come."
Manchester City Women's Managing Director Gavin Makel added: "I'm delighted that Ellie has committed her future with the Club.
"Since she joined us as a teenager, we have seen just how hard she has worked to develop into the player that she is today.
"I know that she has the drive and hunger in wanting to continue to progress and I am excited to see what her future holds."
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