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It has been a great few weeks for Cyncoed Ladies as they followed up their achievement of reaching the Orchard Welsh Premier Women's League Cup Final for the first time, with an impressive 3-0 victory over Cardiff City in the league - their fifth win in a row in all competitions.
We talked to Cyncoed captain Holly Broad, who spoke of her delight with the way the team played when winning on Sunday, as well as setting her sights on attempting to land a first major trophy for the Cardiff-based club, and challenging for a top three place in the league:
WSS: Well done on a fine win on Sunday, how pleased were you with the team's performance on the day?
HB: Thank you! I was really pleased with the team's performance on Sunday - we played some great football and dug deep when we needed to. Every member of the squad and coaching team played a big part in Sunday's result.
WSS: Julia Moulton had a great day by scoring a hat-trick, did any other players have a particularly good game?
HB: Julia had another great game with three quality finishes adding to her growing tally of goals this season. New signing, Robyn Pinder made an instant impact when she came on at half time, causing trouble for the Cardiff City defence and setting up the third goal with her cross. As a defence, we managed to keep another clean sheet - another positive we took from the game.
WSS: Belated congratulations on reaching the League Cup Final for the first time, how big an achievement is that for the club?
HB: It's a massive achievement for us as a club, our biggest yet! We're all really looking forward to facing Cardiff Met LFC again and taking our good form into the Final.
WSS: How big a confidence boost to the team was beating Swansea City in the previous round?
HB: It was a huge confidence boost to everyone in the club. We went into the game as underdogs, having suffered a heavy defeat at the end of last season - I think this was the game where heads started to turn and we proved that we can compete with the best in the league.
WSS: Were any significant changes made to the team to start off your good run of form, or is it purely down to confidence?
HB: We have made a few key signings this season that have added even more quality to our talented squad. It has pushed everyone to up their game, we're training really hard every session, fighting to be included in match day squads and for a place the starting eleven. Performances and results against teams we've struggled to pick up points against in previous seasons has also definitely helped to improve confidence in our capability to compete with every team in the league.
WSS: You have no game this week but return to action next Sunday against Port Talbot, what kind of game do you anticipate against them?
HB: Port Talbot, over the past few seasons, have been one of our bogey teams. They're a strong and physical side, who proved they're not a team to be underestimated - picking up a point against Swansea on Sunday. I imagine we're in for a tough game, in which we will have battle hard as a team if we are to get a result.
WSS: The win against Cardiff City FC keeps you in the hunt for a top three place, is that something you would have targeted at the start of the season?
HB: We've continued to build on our league position year on year and a top three finish was definitely one of our goals at the beginning of the season. The first half of our season has meant that this is still a realistic aim, though there is a long way to go to the end of the season and we face some tough challenges if we're to achieve this.
WSS: Cyncoed have made a lot of progress over the last two or three years, how far do you think the club can go in the future?
HB: I think with the squad of players, as well as the talented and committed coaching staff we have at Cyncoed, we can certainly start to put ourselves among the contenders for league titles and cups. The ultimate dream is to win the WPWL and reach the qualifying rounds of the Champions League.
Our thanks to Holly!
Liverpool Feds LFC are inviting applications for this year's Zoe Tynan tournament, which is set to take place on Saturday 19th May.
The first Zoe Tynan tournament was held on May 20th 2017 and despite the weather, it was a great success. 32 girls teams enjoyed matches playing in either the Cup or plate competition. Medals for all participants were awarded by members of Manchester City women's team including many England Internationals.
The event was covered by Granada TV and raised £6,000 shared between ‘If you care share' , Papyrus and Alzheimer UK charities. The event was a magnificent tribute to a special young lady.
Liverpool Feds Chairperson Sue Carmichael says: "Zoe joined Liverpool Feds at 6 years old and it was soon obvious how committed Zoe was to her football. Zoe asked technical and tactical questions beyond her years and was dedicated to improve herself and her team.
"We loved many sideline stories shared by Alison and Carl about Zoe's ambition and dedication. She signed her name Zoe Zidane, much to her teacher's confusion...was that her middle name? She would sleepwalk in her shin pads, Saturday morning games couldn't come too soon. When a wet and windy Heron Eccles was called off, coaches and parents...and Beth... may have been happy for a morning indoors, but for Zoe it would be a huge disappointment.
"She also juggled her athletics with football....often going off to a race a bit muddy after a match.
"Zoe went to Everton Centre of Excellence with our blessing as we recognised what a talent she was and knew that she need to be at the next level of girls' football to be recognised. It was such a thrill for our club that Zoe had recognition at an international England level and then went onto play in the Women's Super league with Everton and Man City.
Zoe and her family never forgot her football roots with the Feds and she came back (with Natalie of course) to help coach with our junior teams. Their help and insight and coaching of our younger players is a matter of pride for our club.
"We thank Alison, Carl and Beth for their support on another tough day for them.
"We thank Anna Farrell at the County FA, friends of the Tynan family and of course Liverpool Feds players and staff for making this very special tournament happen."
Under 10s and 12s 7 a side tournament
(Register 10 in a squad)
SATURDAY MAY 19th 2018
WALTON HALL AVENUE. L4
Register 9:30am - Kick off 10am.
Please make a payment of £35 per team to Liverpool Feds and return to 35 Stevenson Street, Wavertree L15 4HA by March 1st 2018.
Each team will have 3 games in a league of 4 and then compete for either the Cup or Plate in a further 3 league games before a semi final and final for the top teams.
Hayley Williams has been appointed as the new permanent Manager of Port Talbot Town.
Williams had been given the role on a caretaker basis following the departure of Jason Rees, and the club has now decided to keep her in charge on a permanent basis.
Williams takes her side to Rhyl for her first game in permanent charge on Sunday after coming back from two goals down to earn a point at Swansea City last weekend.
The FA People's Cup is back following a very special launch event at St. George's Park (on Friday 12th January), turning dreams of lifting a trophy at Wembley Stadium into a reality for people all over the country.
With registration to the free-to-enter five-a-side tournament now open to amateur players of all ages and abilities, people can dust off their boots in preparation for the nation's largest and most inclusive small sided football competition.
To celebrate the launch, a diverse group of amateur players came together at the National Football Centre to take part in The FA's first ever specialist five-a-side training camp, taking the opportunity to hone their five-a-side-football skills ahead of this year's tournament.
Attendees, including U14 girls and boys, university students, disability players and walking footballers, took part in expert sessions with elite FA coaches, with advice on perfecting the often match-deciding ‘one-step- penalty' and mastering the ‘showboating skills' needed to beat your opponents in style.
Those in attendance were also able to follow in the footsteps of England's 28 National teams by playing on the pitches at St. George's Park, which will host the Finals of this season's FA People's Cup for the first time in the competition's history.
One of the teams in attendance at the training camp were the Crawley Old Girls, a side who reached the Finals of last year's FA People's Cup in the Women's Vets category (over 35s).
The team, who describe themselves as "a group of ‘old' girls learning to play football while having fun and making new friends", are a great example of the inclusive and positive nature of the competition.
Les Howie, Head of Grassroots Football for The FA, said: "The FA People's Cup is extremely important to grassroots football in this country, providing a fantastic opportunity for people to play the game we all love. With 18 categories welcoming a truly diverse set of entrants, this competition really is for all. And with the added appeal of a final at St. George's Park, 2018's tournament is set to be the best yet".
Teams and individuals are able to enter the tournament by visiting www.TheFA.com/FAPeoplesCup where they can find more details on the competition and how to sign up.
There's not much Jo Love hasn't done in her 182 caps for Scotland but in their opening match of 2018, she will pull on the captain's armband for the first time.
Making her debut in 2002 against Canada as a 16-year-old, the girl from Kilbirnie couldn't have predicated what else was to come her way.
Juggling a full time job during her time playing for the national team, Love has been an integral part of the national team and will now captain her country, taking over from the injured Rachel Corsie for two games against Norway and Russia.
"Being called ‘Captain' is bizarre but it's music to my ears and such a privilege," Love said. "It's one of my proudest moments of my footballing career and I really appreciate the position I'm in at the moment.
"Becoming captain is not something I've obsessed myself over but whenever I come away with the squad I look to be as big a part of the team as possible.
"First and foremost I'm here as a team mate and a friend of the girls. If they look up to me then that is nice as well and I'm always happy to give advice when asked."
Currently employed as a Consumer Protection Analyst for Glasgow Scientific Services, Love is in La Manga for the first of two winter training camps as preparation for the next two World Cup qualifiers against Switzerland and Poland hots up.
The 32-year-old is the former teammate of head coach Shelley Kerr who was delighted to name Love as her skipper for the upcoming two games.
Kerr said: "Jo was just a fresh faced teenager when she broke into the squad and it's a credit to her and her work ethic that she is still able to perform to such a high level consistently.
"She's developed well over the years and one thing that epitomises her is that she is one of the players who has had to juggle a full-time job as well as play at a high level.
"To do that and consistently play well is really inspiring."
East Midlands League
Just three points cover the top four teams in the Premier Division now, after leaders Leicester City Women Development went down to a 2-1 defeat at the hands of third placed Oughtibridge. Jenny Selman and Katie Denton were on target for Oughtibridge, with Lauren Bartle replying. Nettleham moved level on points with Leicester as a Katy Thornley brace and Sophie Crosby gave them a 3-0 victory over Loughborough Students. Peterborough Northern Star sit just outside the top three after doubles from Emma Pollard and Cassie Steward earned them a 4-1 success against Mansfield Town. Rachael Bell netted twice along with Jess Woffinden, Emma White and Amy White for Ollerton Town as they beat Eastwood Ladies 5-0 and Mansfield Hosiery Mills won 3-0 at Arnold Town thanks to Beth Wilcockson (2) and Amy Jones. Kettering Town moved above Rise Park and out of the bottom three after beating them 3-0, courtesy of a Laura Beckett brace and Mikaela Welford.
Hykeham Town have extended their lead in Division One North to six points following their 4-1 win away to Lincoln Moorlands Railway, Amy Blinkhorn hitting a hat-trick and Millie Seaton adding the other. Calverton MW made up ground on the top three by scoring six times past Market Warsop, spearheaded by a Saqqara Nugent hat-trick as well as Hayley Brown (2) and Demi-Leigh Crofts. Jade Baker netted twice along with Joanne Wilson, Laura Jones and Tawni McMillan for Sleaford Town in their 5-1 victory over Teversal. Emily Yeboah Obeng's double and Shauna Sweeney gave Arnold Town Development a 3-1 win away to Draycott Victoria and Clifton won for the first time in style, 5-1 against Grimsby Borough thanks to Emma Clarke (2), Alex Drizolnic, Hannah Whiting and Emma Jacobs.
The top two did not play in Division One South and Peterborough Utd have made up ground on them by beating Loughborough Foxes Vixens 7-2. Jessica Driscoll scored a hat-trick and there were braces from Jeorgia Carr and Keir Perkins. Corby Town and AFC Leicester occupy the next two places after sharing a 3-3 draw, Laura Dodwell scoring twice along with Nicole Andrejczuk. Hannah Pendred (2), Briony Cox, Emma Robinson and Shannon Kelland gave Thrapston Town a 5-2 win against Heather LFC and Desford beat Corby S & L 2-0 thanks to Kayleigh Aylmer and Claire Harrison.
Eastern Region League
Billericay Town have returned to the top of the Premier Division after they won 7-1 away to Writtle. Georgia Box was on target four times, Lindsey Morgan weighed in with a brace and Nancy Butler added the other. Previous leaders Cambridge City are back in second place as they shared a 1-1 draw with AFC Sudbury, Carla Penny netting their goal and Megan Partridge replying. A late strike from Paida Dedza gave Brentwood Town a 1-0 win over Bedford Ladies and takes them up to fourth place.
Histon lifted themselves into the top four of Division One North by winning 4-1 at Silver End Utd. Katie Segrave and Siobhan White each scored twice, with Megan Jiggins replying.
Division One South leaders Stevenage Ladies Res once again recorded a win and kept another clean sheet in the process. Daniela Martucci netted a brace and she was joined on the scoresheet by Hannah Marshall, Emily Schofield, Mary Lisle and Emma Marshall.
In the League Cup, Royston Town went through to the quarter finals with a 5-0 win over Colney Heath. Francesca Smithers hit a hat-trick and there was one apiece from Becky Shephard and Sammy Tinsley.
London & South East League
Crawley Wasps kept themselves six points clear at the top with a 5-2 victory away to Carshalton Athletic. Kemina Webber netted twice along with Naomi Cole, Faye Rabson and Jade Elphick, with Laura Curtis and Tori Adlam replying. Christy Haragan and Saskia Philp were on target as second placed AFC Phoenix won 2-1 against Parkwood Rangers, whose consolation came from Emily Vaughan. London Kent Football Utd also made sure of keeping up their challenge by beating Eastbourne Town 5-0 with goals from Adele Keech (2), Emily Hart, Verity Snow and Elizabeth Adams. Aylesford meanwhile also scored five without reply against Watford Development thanks to braces from Beth Hulme and Rebecca Parkin, with Zara McAiney adding the other.
North East League
Tynedale have moved up to third place, their highest of the season so far, following their 7-2 victory against Castleford White Rose. Christine Murray netted a hat-trick and the others came from Ashley Lambert, Natasha Wilson, Kelly Loughhead and Rachel Maddison, while Lauren Breen hit a brace in reply. Tara Nolan, Kennedy Power and an own goal earned Wakefield their second point of the season as they shared a 3-3 draw with Wallsend Boys Club.
One match was played in the Northern Division and it resulted in a change of leadership, Consett Ladies returning to the top of the table after defeating Cramlington Utd 5-0. Steph Curry bagged a hat-trick for Consett and there was one apiece from Beth Wilson and Nicole McEvoy.
Harrogate Railway narrowed the gap on Southern Division leaders Harrogate Town to two points by winning 4-3 away to Sheffield Wednesday. Emma Lansdall spearheaded the victory with a hat-trick and Nicola Hadley added the other goal, with Wednesday replying through Stacey Buxton, Amy-Leigh Barringham-Beck and Sophie Eyre.
North West League
Stockport County maintained their lead of four points with a 5-0 victory over Blackpool, whilst second placed Tranmere Rovers were 5-2 winners away to MSB Woolton. Merseyrail Bootle meanwhile got back to winning ways as they scored six times without reply past Accrington Girls & Ladies. This result lifted them back up to third place above Fleetwood Town Wrens, who did not play, and Wigan Athletic who went down 2-0 at home to Burnley Girls & Ladies. Manchester Stingers are in mid-table after running out 8-0 victors at CMB Ladies and Sir Tom Finney claimed their third victory of the season, 2-1 against Blackburn Community.
Penrith AFC march on at the top of Division One North and, with Cammell Laird not playing, they stretched their lead to nine points with an 11-1 win over Bolton Wanderers Res. Workington Reds stay in fourth place following their 2-2 draw with Preston North End, just ahead of Carlisle Utd who defeated Burscough Dynamo 2-1. Morecambe Res were also 2-1 winners away to Leigh RMI and this result lifts them up a number of places and into mid-table.
FC United of Manchester strengthened their grip on the Division One South title race by beating West Didsbury & Chorlton 3-0. They remain seven points ahead of Curzon Ashton who were 10-2 victors against Northwich Vixens 10-2. Warrington Wolverines came away from Altrincham with a 2-1 win under their belts and they stay third, ahead of Liverpool Marshalls Feds who scored ten times without reply past City of Liverpool. Stockport County Blues complete the top half of the table after they defeated Crewe Alexandra Development 4-0.
South West League
The resignation of Yeovil Town Intermediate has prompted a re-calculation of the Premier Division table and following Sunday's matches, Torquay Utd have a lead of six points at the top, which they picked up with a 3-0 victory over Downend Flyers in which Sian Chapman, Emma Mingo and Sarah Smith all scored. Bishop's Lydeard and Ilminster Town occupy third and fourth place respectively after their meeting finished in a 1-1 draw. Natalie Poole was on target for Lydeard, with Ilminster replying through Shannon Crouch. Rhianna Ben-Carew scored the only goal of the game as Keynsham Town Development won 1-0 against Charlestown.
In the Eastern Division, Taylor Gainey netted both goals for second placed Portishead Town as they won 2-1 away to FC Chippenham, who replied through Nicole Kirkman. Swindon Town Development follow on after they beat Almondsbury 3-0, thanks to second half goals from Gipsy Viveash (2) and Natalie Goodright. Team Mendip replaced Swindon Spitfires in fifth place by defeating them 5-1, Ellison Roberts netting four times and Natasha Crew adding the other. A solitary strike from Fran Dallon earned Oldland Abbotonians the points with a 1-0 success away to St Nicholas and Frome Town won for the first time, 3-1 against Cheltenham Town Development thanks to a Kate Minty double and Nieve Edwards.
Southern Region League
League leaders Chesham Utd booked their place in the semi finals of the League Cup by scoring eleven times without reply past Ascot Utd. Gemma Fraser was on target four times for the Clarets along with Kate Bowers (2), Tasha Smith (2), Natalie Adams, Paula Lambert and Sarah Hazell. Warsash Wasps caused a surprise when they ousted New Milton Town, beating them 5-3 thanks to Nicolle Keen (2), Megan Fox, Justine Hammond and Stacey Parkinson. The top two in Division One North met each other with Woodley Utd beating leaders Barton Rovers 6-1, May Hamblin hitting a hat-trick along with Rosie Page-Smith, Mollie Haines and an own goal.
Oxford City are one game away from a third successive appearance in a Cup Final, this time in the Chairman's Cup following their 4-1 win against Eastleigh. Lauren May netted twice and there was one apiece from Rachael Mariam and Tiana Russell-Cartwright. Charlie Snelling and Francesca Thornton each netted twice along with Beth Norman for Winchester City Flyers in their 5-2 victory over Wokingham & Emmbrook. Wargrave Ladies emerged as winners from a penalty shootout after their tie with Southampton Women Res ended in a 2-2 draw after extra time. Sarah Bradshaw and Kellie Warren were on target for Southampton, with Wargrave replying through Hannah Sheehan and Isobel Devine-McGovern. Wycombe Wanderers complete the semi final line up with a 9-2 win away to Fleet Town, Abi Canvin finding the net four times and Tara Woodward contributing a hat-trick, with one apiece from Kitty Jones and Niamh Potts.
One match was played in the Jubilee Cup, Oxford City Nomads running out 8-1 winners against Winchester City Flyers Res whose consolation came from Katie Johns.
West Midlands League
Bedworth Utd have opened up a lead of four points at the top of the Premier Division after scoring eight times without reply past Worcester Utd. A win would have taken Crusaders second but they remain where they were as they went down to a 3-0 defeat at the hands of Lye Town. Kingshurst Sporting Club meanwhile climbed back into the top half following their 4-2 win away to Wolverhampton Sporting.
Goldenhill Wanderers are the new table toppers in Division One North following their 3-0 victory over Brereton Town, which stretched their 100% record to eight matches. Previous leaders Wyrley Ladies and Leek Town occupy the next two places after their meeting ended in a 1-1 draw. Shrewsbury Town made sure of keeping in touch with the leading sides and got back to winning ways with a 7-1 success away to Florence.
Kidderminster Harriers are two points off the pace in Division One South as they kept up their recent good run by winning 4-1 away to Droitwich Spa. In the other game, Stourbridge also recorded a 4-1 victory against Solihull Sporting to consolidate themselves in mid-table.
Georgia Stevens netted twice and Leanne Prescott added the other as Northern Division leaders Blackburn Rovers won 3-1 away to Bradford City, whose reply came from Sian Keating. Middlesbrough remain three points behind in second place after beating Guiseley Vixens 4-1 with goals from Abbey Loughran (2), Harriet Dryden and Beth McIlvenny. Sheffield Utd meanwhile claimed their second win of the season, 3-2 against Leeds Utd thanks to a Carly Herrick brace and Caitlyn Douglas.
Leicester City Women stretched their Midland Division lead to eight points with a 4-0 victory over Cardiff City Ladies, Ellie May hitting a hat-trick along with Gracie-Mai Williams. A win would have taken Loughborough Foxes into second place but they were beaten 2-0 by Derby County for whom Amber-Leigh Denny and Bethany Naqwi scored. Roisin Kivel (2), Kerri Brown and Lucy Ridgway were on target as Stoke City defeated Sporting Khalsa 4-2, they remain unbeaten and have games in hand on the teams above them, meanwhile West Bromwich Albion ran out 9-3 winners over Long Eaton Utd. Shannon Kelly bagged herself a hat-trick and she was joined on the scoresheet by Courtney Reynolds, Rebecca Gompertz, Shannon Stamps, Lily Eustace, Seanna McCann-Lloyd and Indiana Totty. Nottingham Forest were to go one better as they triumphed 10-3 away to Burton Albion, Bella Reed leading the scoring with a six-goal haul and Danielle Sanderson weighed in with the other four.
Portsmouth continue to set the pace at the top of the Southern Division, making it nine wins out of ten when beating Denham Utd 9-1. Zoe Ridley, Kayleigh Tonks and Charmaine True all netted twice for Pompey along with Rebecca Bell, Eshe Johnson and Beth Roche. Charlton Athletic stay five points behind after an Olivia Hembrough goal gave them a 1-0 win away to AFC Wimbledon. Crystal Palace remain in third place but lost a little ground as they were held to a goalless draw by Lewes. Milton Keynes Dons defeated West Ham Utd 4-2, Zara Dodd was on target twice along with Tayla Duffy and Sarah Payne.
The FA WSL Development League returned to action over the weekend and one match was played in the Northern Division, Aston Villa winning 3-2 away to local rivals Birmingham City whose goals came from Heidi Logan.
In the Southern Division, Ann Marie Heatherson and Megan Robinson each netted twice, with Leonie Hobbs and Rachel Hignett adding the others as Yeovil Town ran out 6-2 winners at London Bees. Oxford Utd meanwhile won for the first time, edging out Bristol City by the odd goal in seven.
Northern Division One
Morecambe are having a fine season and have moved back into the top three after running out 8-2 winners over Mossley Hill. Yasmine Swarbrick led the scoring for the Lancashire side with a hat-trick and she was joined on the scoresheet by Melissa Brown, Louise Gibbins, Charlotte Higginson, Hannah Paling and Elizabeth Chapman, with Amy Hughes hitting a double in reply.
Crewe Alexandra made sure that their long journey to Chester-le-Street Town was a fruitful one, returning with a 2-1 victory under their belts which lifts them into fifth place. All of the goals came in the first half, Nichole Goundry-Havery giving the Cestrians a seventh minute lead, before Amanda Fallon levelled the scores and Laura Garner netted the decisive goal just before half time.
Newcastle Utd are out of the bottom three following their 3-2 win against mid-table Barnsley. Megan McKenzie was on target twice for the Magpies along with Steph Ord, with Barnsley replying through Rebecca Fevers and Darcie Kendall-Greene.
Midlands Division One
Loughborough Foxes remain as leaders following their 6-0 victory over Long Eaton Utd. Charlotte Cooper netted a first half double, either side of a Vicky Brackenbury strike to put them three ahead at the interval, with Lindsey Tugby adding two after the break and Tiana Hicks rounding off the scoring.
TNS Ladies ensured they stay one point behind Loughborough Foxes after scoring five times without reply past Leicester City Ladies. Emily Ridge, Kim Bebbington, Laura Morris, Charlotte Canlett and Louisa Anderson all scored a goal apiece for TNS to give them their fifth straight league win.
Sheffield Utd complete the top three as they won 5-2 away to Solihull Moors. Abbie Taylor gave the home side the lead in the opening minute, with Tania Marsden equalising straight away and after Sophie Bell had put the Blades ahead for the first time, Georgia Jones ensured the scores were level at half time. After the break, Bell grabbed a quickfire double to complete her hat-trick and Millie Kenyon sealed the win with the final goal.
Sporting Khalsa meanwhile moved themselves closer towards mid-table with a 2-0 success at Rotherham Utd. After a goalless first half, Stephanie Speck gave Khalsa the lead midway through the second half and Jodie Lewis wrapped up the points with ten minutes remaining.
South East Division One
Milton Keynes Dons pepped up their title challenge with a 2-1 victory over second placed Leyton Orient. Charly Clarke and Louise Naylor scored the goals for MK, who trail leaders AFC Wimbledon by six points with a game in hand, while Vanessa Wilson replied for Orient.
Ipswich Town made sure of staying in contention by scoring nine times without reply past Haringey Borough. Sophie Welton led the scoring with a four-goal haul, Amanda Crump weighed in with a brace and there was one apiece from Cassandra Craddock, Miagh Downey and Natasha Thomas.
Cambridge Utd returned to winning ways with a 2-1 success against Stevenage Ladies. Amber Cantwell and Amy Howlett were on target for the U's, with Chloe Gunn netting a consolation for Stevenage.
Denham Utd are out of the bottom three places after they defeated Norwich City 3-1. Alissa Down netted twice and Annie Hewitt added the other, with Natasha Snelling replying.
South West Division One
Southampton Women are continuing to set the pace at the top of the table, stretching their winning run to ten games with a 4-0 victory over St Nicholas. Both teams went into the game in good form but it was Southampton who led at the break through a goal from Natasha Angel, before they went on to add further strikes in the second half through Karleen Hellard, Emma Pinner and Sophie Solloway.
Plymouth Argyle also maintained their 100% record but needed to be patient in their 3-0 win away to Larkhall Athletic. The first half was goalless but nine minutes after the restart, Zoe Cunningham curled home a free kick to break the deadlock and the talented midfielder quickly added a second with a solo effort. Ten minutes from time, Cunningham completed her hat-trick when she slid home the rebound after Nicki O'Connell had blocked Natasha Knapman's initial effort.
Brighouse Town produced a superb result in winning 3-1 away to Derby County, from the division above, to reach the Fourth Round of the SSE Women's FA Cup for the first time in their history.
The tie had been delayed for a week because of the weather and was the only outstanding one in the Third Round, but Brighouse made up for lost time by taking the lead after seven minutes through leading scorer Jodie Redgrave.
Lisa Giampalma levelled the scores for Derby shortly before half time but ten minutes after the restart, Brighouse were back in front again when Redgrave netted her second and a brilliant strike in the dying minutes from Annabelle Cass sealed one of the results of the round.
Brighouse's reward in the Fourth Round is a trip to the north east and a tie with WSL 1 side Sunderland.
Abingdon Utd 6 Woodstock Ladies 0
Abingdon United maintained their 100% record after ten games in the Thames Valley League Division One with a 6-0 home victory over second placed Woodstock.
The hosts scored five times late in the last half hour to see off a spirited and competitive Woodstock, displaying some clinical finishing to boost an already impressive goal difference and round off a fine team performance.
After an even opening ten minutes Abingdon started to test the Woodstock defence with quick passing moves ending with shots from Heather Young and Amy Pipe well held by Amy Bourton. A fine tackle by Emma Martin then denied Kiera Isaac as she shot in front of goal. Woodstock had plenty of good possession but were kept away from Sophie Kirby's goal by strong and well organised defence.
The opening goal came on the half hour when a through ball found Pipe clear of the defence and she finished calmly. Young nearly added a second soon after but was just wide from 20 yards. A superb five-player passing move saw Young clear to the right of goal on 43 minutes but her powerful drive was well handled by Bourton and Abingdon went to the break with just a single goal lead.
Woodstock threatened more after the break and Kirby had to be quick off her line to foil Abi Haynes. The keeper then saved a powerful Charley Hamilton shot as the visitors went in search of an equaliser. However it was Abingdon who scored a crucial second through Isaac with a close range finish on 63 minutes.
Young added a third with a low shot from 10 yards on 69 minutes and the home side then brought on fresh players to add to their attacking options. Woodstock went close on 75 minutes with an Amberley Vircavs header from a corner well held by Kirby but it was not long before Pipe notched her second and Abingdon's fourth with a well placed shot.
Substitute Molly Lygo nearly added another with a right wing cross shot but it was another substitute, Charmaine White who fired in the fifth on 85 minutes as the hosts finished with real fluency. The final goal was the best of the match, Pipe marking her hat-trick with a lovely lofted first time finish as she turned on to a pass ten yards from goal.
With a strong and experienced squad, many of whom have played at Regional League level, it was easy to see why Abingdon United are having such an outstanding League season with fifty goals scored and just three conceded in their ten wins. Woodstock battled hard throughout but could not contain the pace and trickery of the Abingdon attack in the last third of the match.
Sophie Kirby, Gina Ianiello-Phillips, Marisa Chamberlain, Amy Chivers, Beth Dunbabin, Steph Carrick, Heather Young, Nell Boxall, Kiera Isaac, Abbie Smith, Amy Pipe. Subs: Kelly Talbot, Tina Higgs, Jane Younger, Molly Lygo, Charmaine White.
Amy Bourton, Amber Berry, Bryony Bennett, Hayley Bennett, Emma Martin, Amberley Vircavs, Sarah Coles, Abi Haynes, Charley Hamilton, Georgina Tayman, Steph Kubat. Subs: Becky Bowerman, Lauren Hemming, Lauren Major, Tina Stevenson.
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
Photos by www.jamesprickett.co.uk:
(top) Amber Berry slides in to challenge Kiera Isaac
(middle) Sophie Kirby makes a save at the feet of Abi Haynes
(bottom) Kiera Isaac battles for the ball with Amberley Vircavs
Cardiff Met Ladies picked up their eight win in eight games and extended their lead at the top of the Orchard Welsh Premier Women's League to five points with a 6-0 victory over Rhyl Ladies.
Lauren Townsend fired Met into an early lead from a free kick, which turned out to be the only goal of the first half. However a minute after the restart, Steph Turner doubled their advantage before Katy Wells and Jasmine Simpson each contributed doubles to round off the scoring for their side.
Swansea City meanwhile were left frustrated as a second half fightback from Port Talbot Town saw them hold the reigning Champions to a 2-2 draw. The Swans looked to be on their way towards another victory when Kelly Newcombe and Jodie Passmore put them two goals ahead at the break but Port Talbot had other ideas, Vicky Stratton pulling one back just after the hour and Jesci Hare ensured they picked up a share of the spoils with five minutes remaining.
Abergavenny Women netted five times without reply past Caernarfon Town and this result has taken them back into the top three. Aber led at half time through a sixth minute goal from Maxine Mudge but a double after the break from Lyndsey Davies, either side of an Eliza Atkins goal, and a further strike from Megan Jones completed the victory.
Cyncoed Ladies' good run of form continues and they made it five wins in a row in all competitions with a 3-0 triumph away to Cardiff City FC. Julia Moulton was the heroine for Cyncoed as she gave them the lead just before the half hour and she added a second half brace to seal her hat-trick and a double over their opponents.
Llandudno Ladies avenged their defeat to Caldicot Town just before Christmas by winning their return meeting 3-0. Stacey Tradewell gave Llandudno the lead midway through the first half and Sofie Owen added a second early after half time, before Tradewell completed her double and made it three, seven minutes from time.
Since the weekend, the WPWL has announced that it has deducted nine points from Caldicot Town for fielding an ineligible player. Town were found to have fielded the player three times earlier in the season, and in accordance with league rules have been deducted three points for each game.
Last season's beaten finalists Charlton Athletic came through a tough tie away to C & K Basildon with a 2-1 success after extra time.
Angela Addison gave C & K a first half lead with Charlotte Gurr equalising after the break and during the extra period, Kit Graham scored what proved to be the winner with nine minutes remaining.
Blackburn Rovers booked their place in the quarter finals once again after a 2-1 win away to Liverpool Marshalls Feds. After Kaylea Cunliffe had given Blackburn a fifth minute lead, Carla Lee levelled the scores just after the quarter hour and the game remained in the balance until seventeen minutes from time, when Alex Taylor netted the winning goal for Rovers.
Nottingham Forest swept into the next round on the back of a 5-0 victory over Guiseley Vixens. Nicola Emery ensured that Forest had a one-goal lead going into the interval and she netted her second three minutes after the restart, with Charlotte Griffin quickly adding a third. Summer Holmes further increased Forest's lead and Griffin rounded off the scoring when she completed her double.
Lewes moved a step closer towards a potential second major Cup success in two seasons with a 5-1 victory against Portsmouth. An own goal opened the scoring for the Rookettes with Katie McIntyre and Sarah Kempson also getting on the scoresheet before half time. Rachel Panting gave Pompey hope when she pulled one back after the break but Victoria Carleton restored the three-goal advantage just two minutes later and Georgia Bridges netted the final goal late on.
Fylde Ladies were taken all the way by Leeds Utd before securing their place in the quarter finals of the Premier League Plate.
The Coasters were held to a goalless draw by their Northern Division One opponents but managed to triumph 4-3 in the resulting penalty shootout.
West Ham Utd had a smoother passage against lower division opposition as they scored six times without reply away to Brislington. Rosie Kmita led the scoring for the Hammers with a hat-trick and they added further second half goals through Molly Peters, Amber Stobbs and Kelly Weathall.
Kerry Bartlett netted five first half goals to help Keynsham Town towards a 10-1 victory at Swindon Town. Justine Lorton and Cristina Vega Leandro each added doubles and Clarice White was also on target as Keynsham reached the last eight for the third successive season, while Emily Arrell hit a consolation for Swindon.
Luton Town booked their place in the quarter finals after they defeated Southampton Saints 3-1. Jess McKay netted twice for Luton along with Natasha Fensome, with the Saints replying through Krystal Whyte.
League leaders Middlesbrough are likely to be the happiest team with the result of a 1-1 draw between their two nearest rivals in the table, Huddersfield Town and Leicester City Women.
Paige Crossman gave second placed Leicester a first half lead with Huddersfield hitting back to earn themselves a share of the spoils via a goal on the half hour from Brittany Sanderson.
Stoke City meanwhile consolidated their place in the top four by running out 6-2 winners away to Bradford City. Hannah Keryakoplis had a great day in front of goal for Stoke, netting twice inside the opening twelve minutes and going on to score four times in all. Ashleigh Hayes and Emily Owen were Stoke's other markswomen whilst Bradford replied with first half strikes from Abigail Lee and Hannah Smith.
Crystal Palace narrowed the gap on leaders Charlton Athletic to two points with a 2-0 win against Gillingham.
After a goalless first half, Ellie Stenning opened the scoring for Palace eight minutes after the restart and Gemma Bryan sewed up the points with the second goal.
Cardiff City Ladies and Queen's Park Rangers each picked up an important point as they shared a 1-1 draw. Dominika Netschova gave improving Rangers the lead just before half time, with Zoe Atkins grabbing an equaliser for Cardiff after the break.
Manchester City and Arsenal - the only two teams to have won the trophy - will contest the Continental Tyres Cup Final after both sides produced away victories in their respective semi finals.
City, the current holders, made the trip to Chelsea in a clash between the top two in the WSL 1 table and it was Chelsea who nearly went ahead when Fran Kirby's shot was cleared off the line by Steph Houghton. Moments later, City went on the attack themselves and Nadia Nadim gave the lead with a close range finish from Jill Scott's cross.
Nikita Parris almost added a second on the stroke of half time but in the second half, Karen Bardsley kept her team in front with a great save from Hannah Blundell and Millie Bright was unable to convert a late chance as City held on to win 1-0.
Arsenal meanwhile were playing away to Reading FC Women who were playing at this stage for the first time and had won the previous meeting between the clubs in the group stages. The Gunners opened the scoring through Beth Mead with five minutes on the clock but Reading hit back instantly, Brooke Chaplen levelling the scores just two minutes later. Both teams had chances but were finding the two goalkeepers in fine firm until midway through the second half, when Lauren Bruton fired home from the edge of the area to put Reading ahead for the first time. This time it was Arsenal who responded quickly with Vivianne Miedema equalising once again and with eight minutes remaining, Jordan Nobbs struck to earn the Gunners a 3-2 victory and set up a repeat of the 2014 Final.
Birmingham City brought their winless run to an end on Sunday when they won 2-0 against Bristol City in their re-arranged WSL 1 fixture at Solihull.
The Blues had not scored in any of their previous three league matches but seven minutes into the second half, they broke their duck when Aoife Mannion slotted home from the penalty spot after Caitlin Leach was adjudged to have brought down Sarah Mayling.
Before the Vixens were able to recover, they found themselves two behind as a cross by Marisa Ewers was forced home at the far post by Charlie Wellings.
The result means that Birmingham are now level on points with Bristol City but move above them on goal difference.
Millwall Lionesses narrowed the gap on WSL 2 leaders Doncaster Rovers Belles to a single point and maintained their unbeaten start to the season as they defeated Tottenham Hotspur 4-1.
Millwall made a flying start to the game and were ahead with just three minutes on the clock when Amber Gaylor rose highest to head in a free kick by Billie Brooks.
Tottenham did come close to equalising shortly before half time when a Renee Hector header was cleared off the line but nine minutes into the second half, they were back on level terms when Sarah Wiltshire volleyed home from a pass by Coral-Jade Haines.
The goal seemed to spark Millwall back into life though and shortly after Ashlee Hincks had struck the post with a free kick, Charlotte Devlin curled home a shot to restore their lead.
Devlin then netted her second to put her side in a strong position with six minutes remaining and Megan Wynne rounded off a good day for the Lionesses when she slotted home the fourth goal in injury time.
Leicester City Women came from behind to win 2-1 against Bradford City on Sunday to reach the last 32 of the SSE Women's FA Cup and will travel to Plymouth Argyle in the next round.
We talked to Leicester goalkeeper Charlotte Clarke, who praised her team for the win over Bradford and looked forward to the forthcoming trip to Plymouth, as well as setting her sights on their title challenge in the Northern Division for the remainder of the season:
WSS: Well done on reaching the Fourth Round of the FA Cup, how well did the team play to come from behind and win?
CC: I think that we did well to come from a goal behind and go on to win the game, we played better in the second half after having talked amongst each other and inspire ourselves to play for each other.
WSS: A great winning goal in injury time from Leigh Dugmore too, she couldn't have timed the goal any better?
CC: A goal was coming but it was just a matter of when. It was perfect timing to get the goal after working so hard in the second half, but at the end of the day it came as no surprise that Leigh scored because it's something she works on in training all of the time, and time and time again, her hard work pays off with help from the team of course.
WSS: The draw for the Fourth Round has handed you a long trip to Plymouth Argyle who had a good win themselves against Fylde, what sort of game do you expect there?
CC: With a long trip ahead of us, we need to work just as hard as we have been doing in the past few games and not become complacent and make sure that everyone is on top of their game. I think it will be a game that will be full of action, because after defeating Fylde they will be on a high and will give it their all.
WSS: Overall, you're second in the league and still in two cups, are things going as well as you hoped at the start of the season?
CC: I believe that the season has been a success so far; the response since the Stoke defeat has defined our character and galvanised us as a team. Obviously, it's a tremendous feeling still being in two cups and if we keep working hard, then we've got a high possibility of winning at least one cup. However, we can't become complacent, we must continue to develop as a team to get the most out of the second half of the season to achieve our goal of winning the league.
WSS: This week you travel to Huddersfield, who you narrowly beat earlier in the week, do you anticipate another close game?
CC: I believe that it will be a close game, obviously as their goal is also to win the league and go on to play in the Super League like ours. They are only one place underneath us and they won't back out of anything. I think we will need to keep our composure and play like we have been doing and the hard work will pay off.
WSS: Every game is important of course but at the end of the month, you take on leaders Middlesbrough, do you see that as a key match in any title challenge?
CC: Of course it's a key match in any title challenge, however I believe every game should be treated the same and there shouldn't be any emphasis put on any particular game as we should go out to win every game, whether that be a team at the top or the bottom.
WSS: Are you confident that you can stay in the title chase until the end of the season?
CC: I think that if we want it enough and keep working hard, we will be a part of the title race up until the final game of the season and hopefully go on to win the league.
WSS: Although Middlesbrough have a six point lead at the moment, a number of teams can get up amongst them with a good run of form, can you see the title race being a close one this year?
CC: At this point in the season I think anything can happen, with them only being six points in front, I think that they shouldn't sit back thinking that they can run away with the title because this year the league is so unpredictable, so yes, I do believe that the title race will be a close one this year.
Our thanks to Charlotte!
Manchester City are the holders of every trophy in the domestic game - and the players are chomping at the bit to keep hold of their silverware.
That's according to Georgia Stanway and Keira Walsh, who are part of a City side with a stunning 100 per cent record in all competitions this season. Six wins from six in the FA WSL 1 is joined by four wins from four - over two legs - in the women's Champions League, as well as a last four spot in the Continental Tyres Cup after an unblemished group stage record preceded a quarter final triumph over Bristol City.
Arguably their toughest domestic test to date this season comes on Sunday in their Continental Tyres Cup semi final clash against Chelsea, who are also unbeaten in the league and boast a glittering array of talent within their ranks. But midfielder Walsh says City's unwavering focus on retaining all three domestic trophies reflects a solid confidence in each other, head coach Nick Cushing and the backroom staff after such a tremendous period of success.
"We're definitely looking to win all three domestic trophies again and bring them back to Manchester, there's no better feeling than being double champions, retaining championships after putting in all the hard work," said Rochdale-born Walsh, who was called up to the senior England squad for the first time in November.
"Nick is an exceptional coach and gets us all playing a particular way and if we can keep doing that hopefully we can bring more trophies back to Manchester.
"The drive for more trophies doesn't stop. Nick says to never let enthusiasm get in the way of intelligence and I think that's something that really sticks out on the pitch for us, in that we play with hunger but we try not to lose our heads."
City have bolstered their ranks for the second half of the season by adding Sweden midfielder Julia Spetsmark and Denmark striker Nadia Nadim, who starred in her country's run to the final at last summer's European Championships in the Netherlands.
Striker Stanway, who appeared with Walsh at Cedar Mount Academy in Gorton, Manchester, to help with the official SSE Women's FA Cup Fourth Round draw on Monday, echoed her team mate's confidence that the City juggernaut can keep rolling and add even more silverware to their bulging cabinet.
"We've had so much success as a team and it makes you hungry for more," said the 19-year-old, who was nominated for the 2017 PFA Women's Young Player of the Year Award. "We know what's it like to win trophies and who says we can't do it again?
"I'm not sure there's a secret to our form this season - we just really like winning!
"Chelsea are a terrific side and they've made a lot of new signings. But we've got a very good team, we bond very well and we know what we want from each other and we'll do as much as we can to get it."
Monday's draw, which also involved Walsh and Stanway answering questions from students and join in a girls' football training session, saw Cushing's in-form City drawn to play FA WSL 2 outfit Brighton and Hove Albion on Sunday 4th February, City's first step in defending the trophy they lifted at Wembley in May in front of more than 35,000 fans.
Walsh added: "Brighton are a good team and want to play football in a similar way to what we do - it's going to be a tough game and it is a long way to go but we need to make sure we get the win and put ourselves in the next round."
Tickets are now on sale for the SSE Women's FA Cup Final on Saturday 5th May at Wembley Stadium connected by EE. For more information about tickets and what SSE do for women's football, visit www.sponsorship.sse.com.
By Jimmy Booker, Sportsbeat
(Photo - Pierre Melion-Sportsbeat)
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