WSL 2 week 18 review: Sheffield edge seven-goal thriller

WSL 2 week 18 review: Sheffield edge seven-goal thriller

Belles sign off with a flourish

soppysophs
Sophie Lawson

It was a day of heavy scoring as WSL 2 wrapped up for the season on Sunday afternoon, with Sheffield hitting Villa for four of the best with the hosts bagging three of their own as Millwall put three past Brighton and the Belles fired four past Oxford. Further south, Spurs and the Bees played out a derby draw as Durham consigned Watford to their sixteenth loss of the season.

Aston Villa 3-4 Sheffield

Scoring for fun this year, Sheffield took their total tally of league goal to 40 as they hit a team for four or more for the seventh time this term.

Starting the match on a sour note as they were temporarily reduced to ten after Sarah Jackson was stretchered off, the visitors fell behind to a Jade Richards header at an early corner. Not on the back foot for long, Sheffield restored parity two minutes later when Melissa Johnson converted from close range. The match turned around on the half hour when Johnson carried the ball around Aja Aguirre before slotting home, the attacker involved again before the break to tee up Chloe Dixon. Johnson’s first half hat trick completed in stoppage time with style when the attacker chipped the ball over Aguirre from the top of the box to leave the hosts with no way back.

Fired up after the break, the Villainesses came out storming and soon cut the lead back to two, Jodie Hutton’s determined run and relaxed finish enough to turn the tide. A poor clearance from the away defence gifted the ball to Beth Merrick for the midfielder to rifle home twenty minutes from time and set up a grandstand finish. The hosts unable to dig out an equaliser despite cannoning the woodwork, finish the season one from last as Sheffield locked down a fifth place finish last time out.

Brighton and Hove Albion 0-3 Millwall Lioness

Having somewhat fallen away in recent weeks with off the pitch struggles as well, Millwall bounced back to end the season on a high against WSL 1 bound Brighton. The visitors on the scoresheet half way through the first half courtesy of a fine volley from Rianna Dean, the hosts left to struggle with Millwall’s attack. Tightening things up after the break, the Seagulls looked for a way back into the tie but were undone late in the day, shipping two goal in two minutes. Ashlee Hincks’ effort from range found the back of the net before Ella Rutherford finished the season with a flourish, her bicycle kick enough to best Laura Hartley for a third time.

Doncaster Belles 4-0 Oxford United

Finishing the season in style, Donny hit lowly Oxford for four as they again showed their class in what at times has looked like a too-easy league for them. Following a foul on Kirsty Hanson in the box, Jess Sigsworth got the match underway from the spot just after the quarter hour. The lead doubled less than ten minutes later when Rhiannon Roberts powered a header into the bottom corner at a successfully worked short corner before Sigsworth made it three just before the break, once again from 12-yards.

Well in charge in the match and cannoning the woodwork for fun, the Belles rounded off their win fifteen minutes from time when Sigsworth completed her hat trick with a finish to the bottom corner. Her hat trick mirroring Melissa Johnson’s against Villa to leave the Doncaster woman one goal off of Johnson in the race for the golden boot.

Tottenham Hotspur 1-1 London Bees

With places still to be played for, Spurs and the Bees capped of their not always successful seasons with a London derby, precious little to sperate the pair coming into the tie there was little to pry them apart at the whistle either. Having conceded three fewer goals and scored two less than their hosts, the Bees had the advantage of a single point over Spurs, leaving the Lilywhites in need of a win to leapfrog their opposition into sixth.

After a stilted first half that lacked a clinical touch, the hosts broke the deadlock early in the second half, Bianca Baptiste’s low finish giving the hosts a deserved lead. Not quite at the races and struggling to create for most of the match, the Bees found parity ten minutes later when Katie O’Leary drove Toni-Anne Wayne’s parry into the roof of the net. Buoyed by the goal, the visitors got more into the finely balanced match, neither side able to claim the vital winning goal however.

Watford 0-2 Durham

Having established themselves as one of the best teams in the division over the last handful of years, it was of little surprise that Durham finished the season with a win over strugglers Watford. Up ten minutes in when Becky Salicki rose well in the box to nod Beth Hepple’s corner beyond Fran Kitching to keep the Wildcats hopes of finishing third alive. Up against a resolute Kitching, the visitors found themselves denied time and again before Jordan Atkinson found a late second to put the tie to bed. The three points not quite enough for third with Millwall getting the job done at Culver Road but it still sees Durham finish the season with their best ever points tally.

 

WSL 2 table as it stands at the end of the season (Credit: The FA)
WSL 2 table as it stands at the end of the season (Credit: The FA)
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