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Women's Football News
West Ham Utd came closest to causing an upset on a high scoring day for the National Division clubs in the First Round of the Premier League Cup.
The Hammers took Millwall Lionesses all the way to penalties after a goalless draw in which they had opportunities but could not take them. During the spot kicks, clinical finishing proved to be the difference as West Ham twice struck the woodwork and Millwall converted all of theirs to emerge as 4-1 winners.
Holders Arsenal played their first competitive match of the new season and normal service was resumed straight away as they ran out 4-1 victors at Watford. The home side did take a third minute lead through a Sally Wade penalty but two goals from Kim Little ensured that Arsenal led at the break. Little completed her hat-trick early in the second half and former Watford striker Helen Lander scored against her former club in the dying minutes.
Everton also began their campaign with a victory, scoring five without reply away to Sheffield Wednesday. The Toffees took a second minute lead through Gwennan Harries but it wasn't until the hour mark that Natasha Dowie doubled their advantage. Jody Handley added a third before Wednesday's resistance was finally killed off as Dowie completed a hat-trick with two late strikes.
Last season's beaten finalists Doncaster Rovers Belles also won 5-0 away to Leeds City Vixens. The home side were making their debut in the competition but the Belles proved to be too strong on the day, Emily Simpkins putting them ahead after fifteen minutes. Vanessa Leat added a second with Vicky Exley netting either side of half time, the second from the penalty spot, and Millie Bright wrapped up the scoring with the fifth goal.
Emma Whitter had a good day as Chelsea defeated Southern Division leaders Barnet 6-2. Whitter opened the scoring after eleven minutes and the Blues netted three times in quick succession before half time, twice from Dunia Susi and Whitter the other. Stacey Sowden pulled a goal back for Barnet midway through the second half but Whitter added two more to complete a four-goal haul, before Sowden grabbed a late consolation for the Bees.
Birmingham City came through a potentially tricky tie with a 6-2 victory over OOH Lincoln. Dannii Bird gave the Blues a fifth minute lead which was cancelled out ten minutes later by Jodie Michalska. Kerry Bartlett put them back in front on the hour after intercepting a back pass and Jo Potter lobbed home the third. Lady Imps goalkeeper Kay Hawke was shown the red card for handling outside the area and Bird scored from the resulting free kick. Sian Larkin and Maz Gauntlett added further goals before Michalska reduced the arrears for Lincoln in injury time.
In the other battle between National Division teams, Leeds Carnegie were narrow 1-0 winners over Nottingham Forest. Sue Smith settled matters with the only goal of the game on the half hour.
Another team to come through an awkward tie were Blackburn Rovers, 4-2 victors against Manchester City. Danielle Sheen's early strike for Blackburn was cancelled out by Bethany Worth and Charlotte Farrell then sent City in front, a lead which lasted for two minutes until Natalie Brewer equalised. The game seemed to be heading towards extra time but late goals from Katie Anderton and Lauren Walker sealed victory for Rovers.
Bristol Academy gained a morale boosting 4-0 win over Cardiff City in their Severnside derby match. Young Welsh striker Sharla Passariello gave Academy a tenth minute lead which was quickly doubled by Loren Dykes, netting against her former club. Passariello added a second ahead of half time and the win was completed by a second half goal from Paige Stewart.
Sunderland's bid for more Cup heroics this season was given a boost with a 5-1 success against Liverpool. Jo Traynor did head the Reds into a sixth minute lead but Sunderland were back on level terms just before the half hour through Demi Stokes. Jordan Nobbs fired the Wearsiders in front early in the second half and Lucy Staniforth extended the advantage with a fine individual goal. Natalie Gutteridge sewed up the win with two late strikes, firstly a volley on the turn and then with a header from an Abby Holmes cross.
Aston Villa eased into the last sixteen by beating Derby County 3-0. Erin Vaughan and Kelly Clarke put Villa two ahead inside the opening quarter hour and Carly Davies completed the win with a second half penalty.
Former Cup winners Charlton Athletic booked their place in the Second Round after a late strike earned them a 1-0 victory over Luton Town. Grace Coombs settled matters with the only goal of the game in the last minute.
The comeback of the day was staged by Leicester City who came from two goals behind to beat Preston North End 3-2. In a cracking tie, Sam Cadwallader gave Preston a ninth minute lead after good work by Hannah Bailey and Alison Taberner added a second before half time. Within a minute of the restart, City's Chloe Jones reduced the arrears with a screamer from 30 yards out which gave Emma Reader no chance and the tie was turned on its head with the Foxes drawing level through Courtney Sweetman-Kirk after a fine run. Sweetman-Kirk then scored a decisive goal on the hour with an inswinging corner to give the Foxes a victory which had looked unlikely at one stage.
The day's highest scorers were Keynsham Town who ran out 7-1 winners over Crystal Palace. Heather Barnes' tenth minute strike was cancelled out by Gina Johnson for Palace but Ashley Reinecke restored Keynsham's lead with Kayleigh Sage and Leanne Lapham also finding the net before the break. Lapham completed her hat-trick with a header and cross-shot and substitute Luciana Silva rounded off the scoring.
There were also plenty of goals at Portsmouth where the home side progressed by beating WFC Fulham 5-2. Justine Lorton scored early on for Pompey who added further goals before half time through Cassie Thorp and Zoe Nash. Although Charmaine Benham reduced the arrears for Fulham, Kirsty McGee and Nash netted for Portsmouth before Charlotte Stead scored a late consolation for the visitors.
Reading FC Women avenged their recent league defeat to Queen's Park Rangers by beating them 3-0 to ensure they advance to the next round. All of Reading's goals came in the opening half hour, Melissa Fletcher giving them the lead with the other goals coming from Amy Shaw and Kayleigh Hines.
One match was played in the Southern Division, Colchester Utd lifting themselves into fifth place with a 2-1 victory over Brighton & Hove Albion. Sinead Redford gave Colchester a 20th minute lead and, although Vicky Vickery equalised midway through the second half, Hannah Porter grabbed a winner for the U's with five minutes remaining.
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