Having lost their unbeaten record, Millwall picked up just one point from two outings as they were held by Spurs before losing to a rampaging Sheffield team who themselves were halted by the Belles. Keeping the Doncaster team from scooping the title early, Brighton made it two wins from two against Watford as Durham deepened Villa’s woes.
Showing improvement over the course of the season, Spurs would have been left frustrated with only taking a point at home to Millwall, the hosts asking questions from the off and rewarded for the persistence after the break. Wendy Martin’s chipped header at a corner enough to break the deadlock before the Lionesses struck back three minutes later through a deft Billie Brooks header. On point all match, Sarah Quantrill stayed lively to keep the Lilywhites at bay as Toni-Anne Wayne stopped a shot on the line at the other end.
Simona Petkova’s early strike had given the Golden Girls an unexpected lead at Culver Road before the Seagulls found their feet and came from behind to hit their visitors for four. Up for just two minutes, Watford were soon pegged back after Jenna Legg was felled in the box, Dani Buet clinical from the spot.
A Chloe Peplow corner 25 minutes in enough for the hosts to take the lead when Ini Umotong rose well to meet the aerial ball, heading over Fran Kitching. Moving the ball well down the left flank, the hosts opened up a two-goal advantage as Bronwen Thomas volleyed the ball home in first half stoppage time. Having seen shots ping off of the woodwork and cleared off of the line, Brighton finally had a fourth 15 minutes from time when Kirsty Barton wrapped her low shot home.
In red-hot goalscoring form, Sheffield made it an afternoon for Millwall to forget when they hosted the Lionesses in Dronfield on Sunday to give local rivals, Doncaster a boost in the title-race. Melissa Johnson’s clinical eighth of the season gave the hosts the lead six minutes into the tie before Niamh Cashin doubled the advantage less than ten minutes later to leave the visitors with nowhere to turn.
Two goals to the good and not in the mood to let up, Sheffield sealed the win just after the break when Chloe Dixon’s effort from the top of the box found its way past Quantrill to put the result beyond any reasonable doubt. Firm in attack and resolute when called on in defence, the win – Sheffield’s fourth on the spin – takes the Yorkshire team up to fifth in the table, just ahead of next opposition, London Bees.
Clinical when in, the Wildcats made their visitors pay for not taking their chances, the hosts in early when Beth Hepple calmly converted from 12-yards. Riding pressure from Villa, Durham pushed back to extend their lead, Zoe Ness’ low effort from just inside the area added to by Jordan Atkinson at the death.
A force in WSL 2 right now, Sheffield were stopped in their tracks after a visit by title favourites, Doncaster Belles. Unstoppable in front of goal in recent weeks, the hosts took the lead just before the half hour when Hannah Cain put Melissa Johnson’s pin-point cross past Nicola Davies.
With just one loss to their name all season, the Belles weren’t looking to make it two and came out firing after the break, parity restored ten minutes into the second half by half time substitute Rebecca Rayner. The change worked perfectly for Neil Redfern’s team, the team revitalised after the break, Rayner’s firm strike to the bottom corner their reward. Another ten minutes passed before the visitors took the lead, Kirsty Hanson’s whipped cross turned home at the back post by Emily Simpkins. Finishing well, Sheffield pushed their opposition all the way but the Belles hung on to claim all three points.
Watford 0-1 Brighton and Hove Albion
Up against a familiar Watford team, Brighton didn’t have things all their own way in Kings Langley, the team having run riot just four days prior on the south coast. Asking questions of the defence but not as sharp in front of goal as they needed to be, the Seagulls broke the parity five minutes before the break when Aileen Whelan slipped her shot home at the near post. Diligently trying to open a bigger gap all through the second half, Brighton failed to get the better of Kitching again before Lucy Gillett came up trumps to deny the hosts an equaliser. Having been refused a penalty shout at the start of the match, the Golden Girls were given a golden opportunity to snatch a point ten minutes from time after Adekite Fatuga-Dada had been fouled in the box. Get to find the back of the net for Watford this term, Helen Ward as forced to continue her wait when she saw her penalty saved by Gillett, the former Watford shot-stopper.