Notts County manager Rick Passmoor lauded two-goal hero Aileen Whelan as his side staved off relegation from FA Women’s Super League 1 with a 2-0 defeat of Everton, demoting the Blues in the process.
Whelan struck in each half at Meadow Lane to move Notts County 10 points clear of Everton at the foot of the table with two games remaining.
Passmoor said: “I am pleased for Aileen Whelan. She deserves the goals for the effort she has put in.
“We have got a fantastic group of players at this club who give their all. We just need to find some goals in the team and that is something we will work on.
“Being safe from relegation is a nice feeling. It was a worry, although we didn’t mention it in the dressing room because you do no want to put pressure on the players.”
Bristol Academy will also play top-flight football again next season, following a 1-0 victory over Continental Cup finalists Manchester City.
Captain Corinne Yorston struck the games only goal as Bristol rose above City to fifth and manager Dave Edmondson believes staying up has safeguarded his future.
He said: “The result means I will still be in a job next year and so will some of our players. It’s tough on whoever goes down, but I think it’s a great thing for the league because there is nothing worse than having nothing to play for.”
In FA WSL 2, Melissa Fletcher struck twice as third-placed Reading inflicted a 5-0 defeat on struggling Oxford.
Laura May-Walkley, Jemma Connor-Iommi and in-form Lauren Bruton were also on target.
And boss Jayne Ludlow said: “We won’t catch Sunderland [in first place] but it’s important to finish strongly. We need to push on and continue to build and grow in the way we have done so far.
“We have some tough challenges still to come but coming off the back of that performance, we should be able to finish the season strongly.”
Aston Villa, meanwhile, recorded a 1-0 victory over Durham to continue their strong end to the season.
Maddy Cusack’s goal proved decisive as Villa recorded their third consecutive win.
But manager Ron Mellor is hoping for a better performance when the sides do battle again next weekend.
He said: “We scored a fine goal but we produced that sort of moment very sparsely and struggled to finish but three points is three points.
“We go to their ground next week and I hope for a more positive performance – I doubt whether we will dominate the game as much there because that was almost total domination.”