WSL 2 trebles for Whelan & Wiltshire

Watford’s Antonia Gregoriou & Sarah Wiltshire of Spurs. (Andrew Waller Images)

Aileen Whelan hit a hat-trick for Brighton & Hove Albion, Sarah Wiltshire did likewise for Tottenham Hotspur, while Durham’s three goals were just enough to defeat Sheffield FC.

Thursday 22nd February 
Durham 3-2 Sheffield FC (Att: 347)
Brighton & Hove Albion 5-1 Oxford United (Att: 373)
Tottenham Hotspur 6-0 Watford (Att: 242)

Whelan hat-trick seals Brighton win

A hat-trick for Aileen Whelan helped Brighton & Hove Albion to a 5-1 home victory against Oxford United with Kate Natkiel and Ini Umotong also on the scoresheet.

Kate Natkiel broke the deadlock inside four minutes, as her fierce shot from 25 yards out curled past Oxford goalkeeper Demi Lambourne at her front post.

Brighton doubled their advantage in the 27th minute when Aileen Whelan pounced on a loose ball inside the area to poke the ball into the back of the net.

Three-goal Aileen Whelan

United emerged from the break rejuvenated and 13 minutes into the second-half Chloe Chivers pulled a goal as her long-range effort flew past Marie Hourihan.

In the 70th minute, Brighton’s pressure paid off as Ini Umotong embarked on a mazy run before her deflected strike fell to Whelan, who coolly slotted in her second.

Umotong then capped off an impressive performance with a wonderful solo goal ten minutes later, jinking her way past the Oxford defence and slotting home.

Whelan had her hat-trick in the 84th minute when her sublime volley flew into the top corner to secure back-to-back league victories.

Brighton captain Sophie Perry said:

“It showed great character because obviously coming in after half-time being 2-0 up, Oxford really put the pressure on and we just had to ride the storm.

“We’ve got a lot of players, as you can see, on the scoresheet each week and that’s really a strength of ours, Aileen (Whelan) was brilliant tonight as were a few others.

“Anyone of the players on the bench could have made the team today, and that will help us go in strong for the end of the season.”

Oxford’s Chloe Chivers added:

“I can’t even explain what happened. We made the game hard for ourselves in the second-half, we stuck to our game plan but it just didn’t work this time.

“I’m happy that I got a goal but it was just an off-day in general.”

Spurs hit Hornets for six

Sarah Wiltshire scored a hat-trick against her old club as Tottenham Hotspur defeated bottom side Watford 6-0 to make it back-to-back wins in WSL 2.

Tottenham’s first goal arrived after 19 minutes when Coral-Jane Haines’ long pass put Wiltshire in behind and she struck a superb shot that dipped over Fran Kitching and into the top corner.

Spurs’ lead was doubled when Lucia Leon swivelled to score into an empty net after Samantha Hallsworth had attempted to cut out Ashleigh Neville’s low cross from the right.

With the final act of the half, the hosts were 3-0 ahead when Wiltshire was on hand to tap in at the back post after Bianca Baptiste’s teasing cross had just evaded Leon.

Kitching then had to make a brilliant save to keep out Leon’s header from Baptiste’s hanging cross, as it continued to be one-way traffic.

The victory was rounded off with two confident finishes from the impressive Baptiste in one-on-one situations in the final four minutes.

Spurs’ Sarah Wiltshire: “We have been playing quite well but we hadn’t been getting the results, so tonight was really good.

“We’ve been working hard as a front three and we know each other’s strengths and we want to work hard at linking up, playing the balls through and things like that.

“It could have been more as well, we had a lot of chances and one of the things we’ve been working hard on in training is finishing more chances and scoring more goals because we haven’t been as clinical as we want to be.”

Watford manager Armand Kavaja: “I can’t really ask much more from the players – half of them are development team players.

“We’ve been here for a month now and we’re trying to rebuild. They’re 16 or 17 years old and they’re not quite ready for this level just yet. It was a tough night.”

Durham resist Sheffield FC fightback

Durham scored two goals in two second-half minutes but were forced to survive a late Sheffield comeback as they held on for a 3-2 win at New Ferens Park.

Durham celebrate a goal against Sheffield FC (Photo: Sue Gutteridge)

Durham took the lead just after the half hour mark with Nicole Kemp unable to clear a Beth Hepple corner at the near post and the ball ending up in the back of the net.

Substitute Gears latched on to a loose Holly Housley touch to lash home at the near post on 68 minutes and seconds later and it was 3-0 as Roberts fired home from the edge of the area.

Sheffield then reduced the arrears through Anderson’s fierce low drive from the edge of the box to cap off a hectic four-minute spell in the second half.

The visitors then set-up a grandstand finale when Melissa Johnson slid an effort past Helen Alderson with nine minutes to go but they couldn’t find an equaliser.

Durham’s Sarah Robson said:

“We always like to keep things interesting. I think we dominated the first half and about 20 minutes of the second half but as usual Sheffield never gave up.

“Every time we play them it is always a close game so we knew they wouldn’t stop until the end as they are a hard-working team. Luckily, we were able to see the game out and get the three points.”

Sheffield’s Katie Anderson added:

“We are disappointed. We grafted in the end and I think we were unlucky not to get a draw. We gifted them goals and in the last five minutes we grafted but it wasn’t quite enough.

“We need to start the game like we did in the last 20 minutes, work hard and not give silly challenges away and silly goals too.”

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