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FA Women’s National League

Northern Premier Division

Newcastle Utd’s seemingly seamless march towards the title continued as they won 3-0 at Stourbridge, which opened up a lead of twelve points. The Magpies led at half time through a goal from Georgia Gibson and Emma Kelly added a second shortly after the restart, with Gibson completing her double late on to crown the win.

Second placed Nottingham Forest did not have a game on Sunday but were able to reduce the gap to nine points once again in midweek, thanks to a 2-1 victory over Huddersfield Town whose worries continue. Holly Manders maintained her recent good form, scoring a goal in each half to take her league tally to nine for the season, before Yasmin Mason pulled one back for Town with fifteen minutes remaining.

Burnley FC Women’s hopes of a top two place took a knock when they were held to a 1-1 by improving West Bromwich Albion at The Hawthorns. Phoebe Warner was on target for Albion, whilst the third placed Clarets netted through Aimee Kelly.

It has been a good few days for Stoke City, recording two victories which have seen them leap up the table and into fourth place. On Sunday they were 2-1 winners away yo Fylde Women courtesy of Roisin Kivel and Mia Leath, with Sasha Rowe replying for the Coasters, and three days later they defeated Derby County 2-0 with strikes from Heidi Logan and Saffron Jordan.

West Bromwich Albion meanwhile followed up their good result against Burnley by beating Stourbridge 4-0 in midweek, a result which sees them go into a mid-table position. Delphi Cole opened the scoring for Albion during the first half and after the break, they added further goals through Olivia Rabjohn, Fran Orthodoxou and Simran Jhamat.

The points were shared at Derby County on Sunday when a second half fightback from Halifax FC Women earned them a 3-3 draw. Marli Rhodes-Andrews hit a first half brace for the Ewes and she went on complete her hat-trick after the break, but Halifax fought wback well for a share of the spoils thanks to Katie Ramsden, Ellie White and Madeline Oliver.

Southern Premier Division

Portsmouth march on at the top after notching up yet another important victory, this time beating Ipswich Town 4-2. Georgie Freeland was on target twice for Pompey along with Emma Jones and Nicole Barrett, whilst Ipswich’s replies came from Ruby Doe and Bonnie Horwood.

Hashtag Utd have closed the gap on Portsmouth to six points following two victories in a matter of days. On Sunday, Samantha Rowland bagged a brace and Grace Gillard added the other goal as the Tags defeated Oxford Utd 3-0 and in midweek, they beat Billericay Town 2-0 with recent signing Valentine Pursey scoring both goals.

It has also been a good week for third placed Rugby Borough with maximum points from their two matches played. Lily Greenslade was on target twice along with Katy Morris and Samantha Curwood-Wagner as they defeated Billericay Town 4-2 on Sunday, Ella Houghton and Ruby Sealey replying, and this was followed up by a 5-1 victory over Milton Keynes Dons thanks to a Yasmin Mosby double, Curwood-Wagner, Nicky Potts and Greenslade, with Hannah Warren netting a late consolation for the Dons.

Oxford Utd bounced back from defeat on Sunday to win 2-1 against Cheltenham Town in midweek, and this result returns the U’s to fourth place. After a goalless first half, Phoebie Poole gave Cheltenham the lead early in the second half but Oxford hit back with a double from Zoe Barratt, taking her tally to 15 for the season, to land them their tenth league victory of the season.

It had been a happier day for Milton Keynes Dons on Sunday, with a 2-1 success away to Chatham Town which keeps them on course for a top half place. Tricia Gould and Amy McLean were on target for the Dons, whilst the home side’s reply came from Ciara Hynes.

Cardiff City Ladies meanwhile made it four wins in five games when they defeated Plymouth Argyle 2-1 and they still have their sights set on a top six position. Ruby Scahill gave Cardiff a first half lead, however in a dramatic finish to the game, Ellie Sara looked to have snatched a point for Argyle with an injury time but moments later, substitute Tia Asker scored the winner for Cardiff.

A remarkable first half at London Bees produced eight goals, with only one more after the break, and it was visitors Cheltenham Town who emerged as 6-3 winners. Phoebie Poole has been in fine form in front of goal for recent weeks and she netted twice more for Cheltenham along with Ella Pemberton, Charlie Taylor, Henna Butcher and Emily Allen, whilst Abbie Benstead (2) and Alana Munro replied for the Bees.

On Wednesday night, London Bees and Chatham Town met in a vital clash as both teams sought to improve their chances of getting out of the bottom two but neither would have been satisfied with the resulting 1-1 draw. Both goals came early in the game, Ellie Jeffkins putting Chatham ahead from the penalty spot and the Bees equalising through Lauren Cullum a few minutes later.

Division One North

The title race has been hotting up over the past week and the leading sides have stepped up the pace at the top of the table, which is still headed by Middlesbrough after they won both of their matches. On Sunday, they ran out 5-0 winners over Doncaster Rovers Belles, Ellen Turnbull scoring twice along with Sarah Burn, Ellen Packham and Jessica Mett and they followed this up by beating Chester-le-Street Town 3-2. Nichole Havery scored for ‘Boro against her old club along with Mett and Faye Dale, whilst the Cestrians’ replies came from Jenny Ashton and Clarissa Jackson.

‘Boro keep hold of the leadership ahead of Durham Cestria, who are still breathing down their necks after picking up maximum points themselves. A narrow 1-0 success against York City, Jordan Atkinson scoring the only goal of the game, preceded a midweek 4-0 victory over Norton & Stockton Ancients in which Abby Holmes scored a second half hat-trick and Daisy Clarke added the other.

Hull City were only in action once but still have matters very much in their hands after they won 4-1 away to Barnsley on Wednesday night, courtesy of a goal apiece from Helen Lynskey, Amy Pollock, Ellie Tanser and Ellice Jackman.

That result has dealt a savage blow to Barnsley’s title challenge despite them having won 3-0 at Norton & Stockton Ancients a few days earlier, Rosie Axten was on target twice along with Brooke Marsden.

Stockport County have also enjoyed a good few days and a six-point haul has seen them climb above Leeds Utd into fifth place. Levi Rathburn (2) and Kenedy Owen accounted for the goals as County ran out 3-0 victors over FC United of Manchester on Sunday and three days later, they followed this up by beating Chorley 2-1 thanks to Francesca Davies and former Chorley striker Jess Gillin, with Megan Searson replying from the penalty spot.

York City meanwhile edged themselves closer towards safety with a valuable point from a 2-2 draw against Doncaster Rovers Belles in midweek. However, things could have been even better for York as they were two goals ahead at one stage, with Milly Ash and Ella Duffield on target, before the Belles hit back with a brace of goals in the last sixteen minutes from Jasmine Saxton.

Division One Midlands

It has been a busy week in the division but business as usual for leaders Loughborough Lightning who head the table by two points following two convincing wins. Jade Arber netted twice along with Jessica Collyer and Lydia Tilbury-Henry as they defeated Leafield Athletic 4-1 on Sunday, Seanna McCann-Lloyd replying, and this was followed by a 4-0 win over Leek Town, Arber bagging another brace with Doris Greenwood and Ferne Powell adding the others.

Sporting Khalsa now look to be Loughborough’s main rivals after a good week themselves, firstly a 2-1 success away to Northampton Town in which Becky Hall and Layla Kennerley both scored, with Kim Farrow netting a consolation for the home side. Khalsa then actually went top of the table for 24 hours in midweek as Hannah Sparkes, Daisy Wickett and Lowri Walker gave them a 3-2 victory against Sutton Coldfield Town, whose replies came from Megan Hadley and Lauren Da’Casto.

In contrast, Boldmere St Michaels may well be out of the running for the title now as, following a goalless draw with Leek Town on Sunday, they crashed to a 4-1 defeat at the hands of Northampton Town. Kim Farrow netted twice for Northampton along with Laila Channell and Mia Richards.

Peterborough Utd kept their hopes alive and can still have a big say in the title race. Sunday saw them run out 5-2 winners over Sheffield FC, courtesy of Emily Brett, Niamh Connor, Kier Perkins and Evie Driscoll-King along with an own goal, whilst Shannon Durkin and Matilda Hallas-Potts netted for the home side. The Posh then defeated Notts County 6-1 with Brett, Tara Kirk, Jessica Driscoll, Connor, Poppie Brown and Ella Hilliard all on the scoresheet, Summer Gayle netting a consolation for the Magpies.

Defeat for Notts County in midweek but on Sunday, they picked up a valuable 2-0 victory away to Solihull Moors which increases the gap between themselves and the bottom two to five points. After a goalless first half, Takiah Burnett gave County the lead shortly after the restart and Nicola Russell wrapped up three precious points with twelve minutes remaining.

Lincoln City have gone back up towards mid-table after a good few days, first of all Faith Horner and Lucy Farrow scored for them in a 2-2 draw with Sutton Coldfield Town, who replied through Lois Jefferies and Phoebe Hopwood. The Lady Imps then won 2-1 against Sheffield with first half goals from Madison Green and Millie Quaintance, with Moriah McIntosh reducing the arrears after the break.

Division One South East

Norwich City and Worthing FC Women battled out a 1-1 draw on Sunday, a result which might not have done either side’s promotion chances a favour. Ellie Smith was on target for the Canaries, with Worthing netting through Emily Linscer to leave the two sides in second and third respectively.

This result gave AFC Wimbledon a chance to extend their lead to eight points in midweek and they did so by scoring six times without reply past Haywards Heath Town. All of the goals came in the second half, with Emily Donovan, Ellie Dorey and Sandra Martins each netting doubles.

Queen’s Park Rangers meanwhile made up ground on the top three as they defeated Cambridge Utd 3-0. Grace Stanley was on target twice for Rangers as they won for the tenth time this season, with Emily Hill adding the other goal.

Cambridge were then moments away from victory on Thursday night against London Seaward after Ruth Fox had given them the lead early in the second half but the Anchors, who were playing their first league game for over a month, grabbed a late equaliser through Katherine Long.

Chesham Utd further increased the gap between themselves and the bottom two when they won a high scoring affair 6-5 against Ashford Town (Middlesex). Gemma Fraser and Sasha Smith each scored twice along with Ellyce Breaks and Emma Delves, whilst Alissa Down replied twice for Ashford and she was joined on the scoresheet by Ashley Cheatley, Aimee Durn and Anya Kinnane.

Mixed fortunes in a few days for AFC Sudbury but they may well have taken a significant stride towards safety. After going down to a 4-1 defeat to Actonians Ladies on Sunday, Ava Jouvenet scoring their goal but Dominika Netschova (2), Roschelle Shakes and Jasmine Williamson all on target for the visitors, Sudbury recovered for a vital 2-1 success against Cambridge City two days later. Aliyat Lambe and Chloe Brame were the markswomen for Sudbury, whilst City’s reply came from Chelise Fleming.

Division One South West

Exeter City continue to stride ahead at the top as they ran out 5-0 winners against Maidenhead Utd. Sarah Stacey, Jenna Markham and Phoebe Baker ensured that the Devon side were three ahead at half time, before Connie Pengelly contributed a second half brace.

AFC Bournemouth kept up the chase in second by scoring six times without reply past Abingdon Utd. Lucy Cooper and Alisha Buckingham each netted a brace and they were joined on the scoresheet by Katie James and Erin Bloomfield.  

Third placed Swindon Town suffered a setback as they went down to a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Bridgwater Utd. Fiona Barry and Ellie Bishop scored the goals to earn the Somerset side one of their best results of the season so far, whilst Swindon’s reply came from Annabelle Colston. A bad few days for Swindon were completed in midweek when they were beaten again, this time 3-2 by Maidenhead Utd. Swindon had taken a two-goal lead during the first half through Holly Beck-Esson and Colston, but Maidenhead hit back and an Izzy Stockton double, either side of a goal from Simone O’Brien, sealed a fine result for them.

A win would have Moneyfields back into the top three but they also tasted defeat, going down 2-1 to Keynsham Town who have drawn level on points with them. Keynsham got off to a fast start and were two ahead at the break thanks to Izzy Amphlett and Naomi Clipston. Gemma Simmonds pulled one back after the break for the Moneys but Keynsham held out for a hard earned win with goalkeeper Charlie Haynes making a string of superb saves.

Things are hotting up at the other end of the table with Southampton Women clambering out of the bottom after a brace of victories. First, Oceana Adams netted twice and Megan Wood the other as the Sirens edged out Portishead Town 3-2, with Laura Barrett and Ruby Hopkins replying for the visitors. Southampton then defeated Selsey Women 4-0 with Adams on target twice again, with Laura Vokes and Maisie Aldridge joining her on the scoresheet.

This means that Southampton have moved back above Torquay Utd despite them having beaten Selsey 3-0 on Sunday thanks to Tracey Cross, Emily Eaton and Georgia Chapman. In midweek, Torquay were beaten as Bridgwater Utd completed a good few days for themselves by winning 2-0 with goals from Chloe Snook and Ellie Bishop.  

Reserve Section round-up….

The Final of the Reserves League Cup will be an all-Southern affair after Oxford Utd defeated Durham Cestria 5-0 in the semi finals. Amy Woodhead netted twice along with Poppy Dearlove, Cheyenne Flynn and Lucy Trinder. Oxford’s opponents in the Final will be AFC Bournemouth who notched up a fine 1-0 win away to Wolverhampton Wanderers, courtesy of a tenth minute goal from Elin Starck.

In the Reserves League Plate, Sophie Coward bagged a brace and the others came from Fatima Santos Costa and Paris Gillespie as Liverpool Feds won 4-1 at Southampton Women, whose consolation came from Chloe Ball. The Feds will be up against Peterborough Utd who beat Queen’s Park Rangers 1-0, Tilly Sands scoring the only goal of the game on the stroke of half time.