It was pretty much as expected in the WSL 1 this weekend, although a certain youngster continued to enhance her huge reputation.
Super sub seals victory – Doncaster Belles 0-1 Birmingham City
With the Belles having shown improvement under new boss Emma Coates, their first home game since the opening week of the season would have been a perfect jumping off point for the team up from WSL 2 who are yet to earn a point in the top flight. However once more luck was not on the side of the Belles, the defining moments came just after the hour after Kirsty Linnett – whose season has been blighted by injury – came off of the bench to knock the ball past Nicola Hobbs with her first touch of the game.
After both Emily Simpkins and Jess Sigsworth were withdrawn through injury, Katrin Omarsdottir was thwarted by Blues keeper Sophie Baggaley twice in one-on-one situations before Scottish international Christie Murray fired wide.
Seven league games into the season and the Belles are still without their first point as Birmingham are sitting pretty in fourth.
Sublime Stanway sinks Sunderland – Manchester City 3-0 Sunderland
Although the Lady Black Cats started full of confidence it didn’t take the league leaders long to break the deadlock, Georgia Stanway picking the defender’s pocket before powering her low shot past a helpless Rachael Laws. But the visitors did well to compose themselves and stand up to whatever the Citizens could throw at them and went into the break trailing by one.
The second-half flowed as the first had, City attacking and Sunderland dealing well but once again Stanway was their kryptonite, the England youth international reproducing a carbon copy of her first to double to advantage ten minutes after the restart. Whilst her teammates weren't at their best, Stanway was leading the charge with aplomb and sealed her hat trick less than ten minutes from time with a fine left-footed curler to beat Laws.
Royals notch another draw - Reading 1-1 Notts County
Reading looked to be the team on top in the early exchanges, winning a slew of set-pieces to test the away defence but the Lady Pies stood up to the test to ride out the danger before finding their feet in the match.
With the two relatively evenly matched, it was unsurprising that the door would be unlocked with a set-piece, after Rachel Rowe brought Dani Buet down 25 yards out. With her teammates lining up, the utility midfielder opted to go for goal herself, her direct free kick struck perfectly to loop over the wall and find the top corner to beat a diving Mary Earps.
Although the visitors were arguably the team on top, Reading drew level thanks to a solo goal from Emma Follis, making something out of nothing, cutting in from the left before letting one fly inside of the far post. Notts pushed for a winner and as the game wore on were denied a number of times notably late in the day when Jess Clarke had a point-blank effort cleared off the line before Alieen Whelan had her follow up from two yards out saved off the line too.
Draws are fast becoming Reading's specialty but if they are to progress in the division will need to find their first win sooner rather than later. Rick Passmoor will be pleased with the effort from his team after seeing a woeful performance against Man City last week but Notts too, need to find their best form to start getting the results they're worthy of.
When Arsenal took the lead less than ten minutes in after former-Red Fara Willams' shot cannoned off Gemma Bonner to completely wrong-foot Siobhan Chamberlain it seem like it would be a long day for the visitors but they responded well and drew level ten minutes later after a beautiful turn and shot from Shanice van de Sanden.
With the game opening up both saw chances and half-chances come to nothing but Liverpool were the side to get their noses back in front after Caroline Weir converted a 20 yard free kick. With Arsenal desperate to take something from game to keep pushing for a UWCL spot they went all out for a goal but dogged defending from Bonner and co' was enough to see the Reds leave with all three points.