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Top two gain maximum points
 Women's Football News 3 Mar 2008
Top two gain maximum points - 3 Mar 2008 - Women's Football NewsNorthern Division leaders Nottingham Forest returned to winning ways with a 5-0 success away to Tranmere Rovers.
After a goalless first half, Reanne Thomas gave Forest the lead four minutes after the restart and in-form striker Natalie Clarke doubled their tally on the hour mark. Captain Beth Bailey then added two further goals before Clarke rounded off the scoring with her second.
Lincoln City kept up the pressure with a 2-1 win at Rotherham Utd, which means they remain two points off the pace. Kate Wooldridge put the Lady Imps in front midway through the first half, with Suzanne Davies equalising before the break. Mel Cook netted just before the hour mark to give Lincoln three important points.
Sunderland returned to league action and kept their hopes alive by beating Sheffield Wednesday 1-0. Leading scorer Sarah Danby grabbed the only goal of the game, late in the first half.
Preston North End ended their recent run of defeats with a 3-0 success at Stockport County, whose own worrying run has left them perilously close to the relegation zone. The scoreline was blank at half time but Gemma Watson broke the deadlock early in the second half, and goals in the final twelve minutes from Anisha Bateman and Hannah Bailey sealed the points for Preston, who climb back into fourth place.
Manchester City killed off any lingering relegation fears and are in the top half of the table after beating Crewe Alexandra 1-0. The match was spoilt as a spectacle due to a heavy pitch and blustery wind at Flixton but it was City who took the points thanks to a 20-yard free kick from Katie Brusell, twelve minutes from time. Keeleigh Savage almost added a second as her volley hit the bar and the defeat, Crewe's first in five matches, returns them into the bottom two by a single point.
Newcastle Utd had dropped to the bottom of the table during their F.A.Women's Cup run but they returned to the league with a crucial 3-2 victory over Aston Villa and, such is the tightness at the basement, the result lifted them four places up the table. Although Villa missed a penalty in the first few minutes, Newcastle inflicted the damage early on by scoring all three goals in the opening 22 minutes, Melanie Reay putting them in front before Kelly Ridley added the second, and a 25-yard strike from Reay completed her double. Natalie Gibson pulled a goal back for Villa from the penalty spot and, despite Natalie Courtney adding a second late on via a free kick, Newcastle held out to take a huge stride towards safety.
Photo - Katie Brusell (left) scores the winning free kick for Manchester City against Crewe Alexandra.

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