Everton were crowned WSL 2 Spring Series champions with a big win away to the Bees as Millwall finished their SS on a high away to Watford. Sunday saw the one-off tournament wrap up with goals galore, Oxford on the end of a heavy defeat to the Belles as Brighton put on a show at the Amex and Aston Villa pulled off a stunning comeback against Durham.
London Bees 0-4 Everton
Although the Bees hit the woodwork early in the match it was all one-way traffic at the Hive, the Blue Girls able to take the lead through a scuffed Mollie Green effort late in the half, the former-Red a livewire for her new team. Michelle Hinnigan doubled the advantage five minutes later with a firm header that had Sophie Harris easily beaten, the hosts starting to come undone as the Toffees strolled to the Spring Series title.
Powering up through the gears after the break, substitute Claudia Walker bagged a quick-fire brace late in the game, first winning a penalty and getting enough on it to best Harris before sending a delightful curler into the far corner from outside the box.
There was plenty of drama to be had in Kings Langley when Millwall grabbed a stoppage-time winner against the Golden Girls. In a gritty match on a less than perfect pitch, the Lionesses looked to have found a winner when Billie Brooks nodded past Jo Fletcher at Megan Wynne’s free kick just after the hour.
After Danielle Puddefoot was dismissed for a second bookable offence the hosts grabbed an unlikely equaliser through Merrick Will before substitute Ashlee Hincks stole all three points for the Lionesses. The win sees Millwall on a high after a hugely successful Spring Series, five consecutive wins to show for all the hard work put in by Lee Burch and his team, similarly Keith Boanas has been able to slowly grow his Watford team over the one-off tournament and ready them for the upcoming season.
Katie Natkiel got the hosts on the board half-way through the first-half with a sublime volley from Alessia Russo’s whipped corner, the hosts knocking on the door all match long, their lead doubled through an Kenedy Owen own goal as she attempted to clear a dangerous corner. Not giving an inch after the break, the Seagulls continued to hound the away box but with time ticking down it seemed as if they’d have to make do with a 2-0 until, finally, Russo got her goal three minutes from time with a delightful curler from outside the box.
A stoppage-time incident in the box saw Sheffield grab a late conciliation as Carla Ward sent substitute Faye Baker the wrong way from the spot to put a blemish on a fine afternoon’s work for the hosts at the Amex.
Aston Villa 5-4 Durham
In what was arguably the match of the Series, Aston Villa saw their early lead crumble before staging a late and dramatic come-back to leap-frog their opposition and finish fourth in the Spring Series.
A fifth minute corner saw the hosts take the lead from Jade Richards as she diverted Mollie Rouse’s ball home, a corner the catalyst for the equaliser fifteen minutes later when the afters saw Zoe Ness turn the ball home from Nicola Gibson’s ball in. With their tails up the Wildcats hit the hosts for another two before the break, Ness with the hat trick first with a driving run and a low past Chloe Beattie before putting Nicki Gears’ neat ball away.
The ball continued to drop for Durham after the break and when Beth Hepple tucked away her penalty five minutes after the restart to make it 4-1 there looked to be no way back for Villa but the hosts didn’t let their heads drop and found a way back through Richards again. The defender’s header too much for Megan Borthwick at a corner on the hour but still two goals down the drama didn’t start until the last ten minutes, Richards involved again as she teed up Lucy Shepherd ten minutes from time for Shepherd to find the bottom corner. Maddy Cusack’s half-volley two minutes from time looked to have earned the Villainesses a point at home before substitute Alys Hinchcliffe turned and fired in the box in stoppage time to see the hosts complete a stunning comeback.
Christie Murray continued her fine form this year with the opening goal at the Northcourt, the attacker able to put the ball away from close range with ease before countrywoman Kirsty Hanson doubled the lead on the stroke of half-time as she chipped an advancing Demi Lambourne. The dominant side in the match, the Belles made it three just after the restart when Sophie Barker fired into the top corner, the defence well worked throughout, keeping the score far more respectable than it could have been.
With less than five minutes left on the clock Rebecca Rayner made it four, the teenager netting her first for the Belles as she was first to react to after Courtney Sweetman-Kirk had cannoned the woodwork, the goal enough to cap off a fine win in a mixed Spring Series.