Durham defeat Brighton to hand Doncaster #FAWSL 2 title

Doncaster after winning at St Paul’s Sports Ground. (Photo: @donnybelles)

Doncaster Rovers Belles celebrated their FA Women’s Super League 2 triumph with victory at Millwall.

Jade Pennock’s heavily-deflected strike was enough to hand Neil Redfearn’s team all three points.

With Brighton losing 4-0 at Durham, Doncaster had already secured the title before kicking a ball.

Millwall stay third despite their first home loss since February 2017 and finish their campaign away to Brighton on May 20.

The hosts should have taken the lead when Charlie Devlin burst clear and squared to Ashlee Hincks, but her scuffed shot was saved well by Bethan Davies in the Doncaster goal.

Kirsty Hanson was causing problems for the Lionesses’ defence, and saw her angled drive pushed wide by Quantrill.

Leighanne Robe’s free-kick on the halfway line almost caught out Davies, who had to stretch to palm it away.

Rebecca Rayner showed great skill in the box to work space for a shot, but the keeper was equal to it.

Rhiannon Roberts saw her header somehow cleared off the line, but the ball wasn’t cleared and Pennock’s shot from outside the box was deflected into the corner of the net on 75 minutes.

With seconds left, Davies pulled off a stunning save from Devlin’s free-kick to preserve her clean sheet.

Leandra Little, Doncaster captain: “It speaks volumes about our character as a team, about our determination, because we wanted to ensure we not only won the league but gained as many points as we can.

“We obviously knew the outcome before we went out there but that was really empowering for us because that enables us to just enjoy the game.

“It makes it sweeter having won the league and won the game as well. It would have been mixed emotions if we’d lost today.”

Bonnie Horwood, Millwall midfielder: “I think we created quite a lot of chances today, but it’s just that we were not clinical enough all over the park.

“All year we have managed to kill teams off but it just seems that in the last few games we just haven’t done it.

“We pushed them really hard throughout the game, but the team who take their chance get the points at the end of the day.”

Attendance: 323

Durham claimed comfortable 4-0 win against second-placed Brighton, and in doing so ended the visitor’s chances of winning the league at New Ferens Park.

Emily Roberts scores for Durham against Brighton. (Photo: Sue Gutteridge)

First half goals from Zoe Ness and Nicki Gears put Durham in control at the break and then Emily Roberts scored twice in the second half to make sure of the victory.

The result means that Brighton are no longer able to win the league and Doncaster Rovers Belles claim the FA WSL 2 title.

Durham started with a flourish, taking the lead six minutes in through Zoe Ness, before adding to their advantage through Nicki Gears’ strike just before the half-hour mark as Brighton started slowly in a game involving a 666-mile round trip for the visitors.

Emily Roberts effectively ended matters three minutes after half-time with a third prior to scoring again on 74 minutes.

Emily Roberts, Durham forward and scorer of two goals today: “We’re absolutely thrilled. Everyone put in such a good performance, we all worked as a team and it all paid off so we’re all really happy.

“I think we all expected a really hard game, they passed the ball around well but, luckily, we were able to take the chances we were given. We pressed from the start, we tried to push them into mistakes and we were able to take advantage of that.”

Dani Buet, Brighton midfielder and captain: “It was one of those days where it didn’t look like we were going to score. We started far too slowly.

“We knew they were going to come out of the blocks, they’re strong at home, and we weren’t ready for it. We’ve had a hard couple of games and with the journey we looked a bit leggy and tired; they’re no excuses for it though.”

Attendance: 386

Two goals from Charlie Wellings helped Birmingham City climb up to fifth in the FA Women’s Super League 1 table with a 3-0 win over Everton at the Marine Travel Arena.

Two-goal Charlie Wellings (Photo: Martin Bennett for FA)

Goals in either half from Wellings and a late strike from Ellen White secured all three points for the away side, with Andy Spence’s remaining in eighth.

Ultimately it was the quality of finishing that proved the difference between the two sides.

Both sides enjoy spells of possession in the first half but Wellings’ spectacular opener was the standout moment. Following some neat play on the right wing for the visitors, Wellings found herself in space 30 yards out and her dipping effort flew over Kirstie Levell and into the top corner on 20 minutes.

Ellen White almost doubled Birmingham’s advantage on 33 minutes, when a loose ball ricocheted into her path. But her close-range effort was blocked by an excellent challenge from Gabby George.

George almost found an equaliser for the Blues three minutes later, but her powerful header was cleared off the line by two Birmingham City defenders.

Birmingham upped the tempo and found a second goal, Wellings was the scorer again as her low effort found the bottom corner from 20 yards.

White sealed the victory for Birmingham on 86 minutes, showing great balance to avoid two Everton tackles, before blasting an effort past Levell, from distance.

Everton’s Taylor Hinds: said: “Our performance was good, unfortunately that is not reflected in the score line.

“We have to keep enjoying our football, this is our first time in this division and we’ve done really well this season, to be where we are.”

Birmingham City’s Aoife Mannion said: “Game management is something we have been working on a lot in recent weeks, and it paid off.

“We went in at half time 1-0 and we knew that we wanted to get more. Once it was 2-0 it was all about managing the game, and ensuring that Everton could not get back into it.”

Attendance: 337

Jenna Schillaci’s strike direct from a corner was cancelled out by Elisha N’Dow’s header in a competitive 1-1 draw between Tottenham Hotspur and Aston Villa.

Jenna Schillaci lets fly for Spurs. (Photo: Kate Green for FA)

Spurs had the better of the first half and Schillaci’s in-swinging corners were causing the Villa defence difficulties from the start with her effort just before half-time going straight in.

But Villa hit back in the second period thanks to N’Dow’s effort to keep the hosts in ninth place in the FA WSL 2.

In a frantic end to the first half, Spurs went ahead through Schillaci’s corner, which went in off the far post, and almost doubled their lead a minute later as Wiltshire’s shot from distance cannoned back off the bar.

Villa came close to equalising as Natasha Baptiste’s header was palmed away by Morgan, but that sparked Spurs back into life. Wiltshire stabbed Bianca Baptiste’s cross narrowly wide.

The home side improved in the second half. A stray pass from Neville was intercepted by Amy West, whose deflected shot shook the crossbar.

Just before the hour mark they equalised as Spurs failed to properly clear a corner and Elisha N’Dow headed home from close range.

Villa nearly went in front shortly after but Beth Merrick had two shots well stopped. The second was turned onto the bar by a covering defender on the goalline.

Wiltshire almost won the game for Spurs late on but was superbly denied by Aja Aguirre after good work down the right from substitute Rea Laudat.

Aston Villa’s Natasha Baptiste said: “I think we showed our team morale. We’ve had it all season but it really paid off towards the end of the game. We could have gone ahead because we had chances, but they did too. It’s just good to keep that morale going.”

“It’s difficult to come back from a goal down but we could have been one or two goals up. To come back from a goal down is hard but that’s football for you. You’ve got no choice.”

Jenna Schillaci, Tottenham’s goalscorer, said: “We’re a bit disappointed with our performance. We felt we created quite a few chances but just didn’t take them. We’ve put in some really good performances against Durham and Millwall in recent weeks so we’re just disappointed that we played nowhere near the standards we can today.”

“I think the corner went straight in and then came back out. Some of the girls are claiming it. It was good to see it go in but I’m disappointed that it doesn’t really mean anything now we’re going away with a point.”

Attendance: 208

Goals from Helen Ward and Simona Petkova were enough for Watford to record their first win of the season with victory over Oxford.

Helen Ward scores for Watford against Oxford. (Photo: Andrew Waller Images)

Watford had to come from behind after conceding an unfortunate own goal off the back of goalkeeper Frances Kitching.

But Ward equalised minutes later and Petkova’s second-half strike was enough to seal a huge win for the Hertfordshire club.

Oxford opened the scoring in the 15th minute when Noble’s long-range effort cannoned off the crossbar and hit the back of the unlucky Kitching before finding the net.

Watford were level soon after, Ward powering her shot low past Demi Lambourne on 17 minutes.

Ward turned provider in the second half, seeing her low cross turned in at the back-post by Petkova in the 64th minute.

Oxford pressed for an equaliser but continued to find Kitching in fine form in the Watford goal, pulling off a super save to deny Dan Carlton in the 77th minute.

Helen Ward, Watford striker: “We’re thrilled and delighted with the result today.

“It’s been a long time coming for us and it’s been a tough season.

“I’ve said it a few times, we’ve had a lot of changes, a lot of younger players that have got to come in and step up and in recent games I think the scorelines haven’t reflected our performances.”

Riva Casley, Oxford United defender: “It’s hard to put into words how disappointed we are.

“We’ve all worked so hard for the past two weeks coming out of that Sheffield game, we were so disheartened and coming into this game we saw it as our last home game ever maybe as a team, maybe as a club, so we just wanted to put absolutely everything into it.

“We’ve still got such a young team, if you look at the starting line-up today you’ve got about three or four under-20s playing.”

Attendance: 525

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