Durham came away from London Bees as 3-1 victors, while Sheffield FC sent Watford to a 4-0 defeat.
Sunday 15th April
FA WSL 2
London Bees 1-3 Durham (Att: 142)
Sheffield FC 4-0 Watford (Att: 321)
Durham close in on top three spot
Beth Hepple’s unbeatable free-kick saw Durham to an impressive 3-1 win over London Bees at The Hive.
Sarah Robson and Emily Roberts scored either side to make it seven wins in nine, drawing the top three even closer.
Durham now sit in fourth on 23 points, only two behind Brighton in third but having played one more match.
Durham had the first chance after 8 minutes as Roberts’ effort was straight at Bees’ Grace Taylor.
Bees gave the visitors a scare on 13 minutes as Howells’ corner kick ended up on top of the net.
But the hosts conceded through a corner kick themselves, as Robson nodded in just before the half hour mark for the lead.
Bees’ Destiney Toussaint almost responded immediately as she found space in Durham’s penalty box but headed over under pressure.
Hepple doubled the visitors’ lead with an excellent free kick and Durham went near to a third from the restart, Roberts ghosting in to shoot, but Taylor pushed it onto the post.
Roberts took the second chance though on 48 minutes to get her goal, being left on her own in the box again to cooly slot in for Durham’s third.
Bees’ Emma Beckett hit a long ball to Toussaint on the counter-attack 17 minutes later, but hit straight at Helen Alderson.
The home side had a lifeline with 15 minutes left when Hepple handled in the box, Katie Wilkinson smashing the penalty into the left corner, but couldn’t muster a comeback.
WHAT THEY SAID
London Bees quote from captain Emma Beckett said: “It was disappointing. It’s fair to say we didn’t have our best game in the lead up on Thursday.
“I thought we started quite brightly and had a lot of possession, certainly in the first half.
“The goals came against the run of play. Anytime you face Durham, you think about not giving away set pieces, but sadly we did and we paid for it.”
Beth Hepple said: “We’re delighted. I think it’s been a long break with the internationals, so it’s good to get back playing after a disappointing result against Oxford at home. Delighted with the three points going into a tough week.
“Bees are a very good team, and they’ve done well this season, so this is always a tough place to come. They held their own, it was a hard game.
“I love a free kick, so it’s great when they actually go in for once!
“I thought we were really clinical today, especially with the chances we created today. The third goal was great football.”
Sheffield FC ran out comfortable 4-0 winners against struggling Watford to record their first win since January on Ellie Gilliatt’s 200th appearance for the club.
Goals before the break from Beth Donoghue, Hannah Cain and an Emma Johnson penalty put Zoe Johnson’s side in full control.
The win sees Sheffield FC climb to seventh place in FA WSL 2, while Watford remain bottom of the table.
After a quiet opening 15 minutes it was Donoghue who broke the deadlock with her first league goal for the club after being played through on goal by Johnson, the striker taking a touch and slotting behind Kitching in the Watford goal.
That opened the first-half floodgates for Sheffield FC and it was two soon after when the returning Cain sent an excellent shot past Kitching.
Watford almost held out until the break but Sheffield FC were presented with a chance to score a third after the lively Cain was felled by Kerr inside in the box in stoppage time.
Midfielder Johnson stepped up to add a goal to her earlier assist and give Sheffield a comfortable buffer going into the break.
Despite the one-sided score it was goalkeeper Kitching that provided Watford’s best moments of the day, pulling off several excellent saves to deny Sheffield an even more comfortable afternoon than they’d been presented with.
Johnson’s side did though add a fourth with 15 minutes to go after substitute Lord-Mears made her way into the box to connect with Dixon’s low cross from just six yards out.
WHAT THEY SAID
Sheffield scorer Hannah Cain said: “It’s always good to be back and I’ve been looking forward to it. I’ve been away with England so it’s good to come back and add into the team, we had a solid performance too today so all round we’re very happy.
“It’s great to get another win, it’s a happy camp and not conceding is a big thing too. It’s always disappointing to get the goals and lose or concede late on but we kept hold of it today and we’re happy with that.”
Watford’s Helen Ward said: “It was a frustrating afternoon for us, it’s been a frustrating season. We’ve got a very young group of players out there who are working hard but we’re making little mistakes that you can only get with experience.
“It’s a hard situation and as an experienced player I’ve got to keep everybody going. The girls work hard and I can’t fault their effort, coming into this situation is difficult and it’s a big step up from development football to league level. Individually they are fantastic players but that gap is getting bigger and we’re coming up against teams who have been together a long time.”
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