With their nearest rivals not in league action, Middlesbrough bounced back to winning ways to strengthen their title credentials in the Northern Division of the FA Women’s Premier League.
In the Southern Division, Crystal Palace moved to within touching distance of the top of the table while the line-up for next month’s FA WPL Cup semi-finals was confirmed.
Middlesbrough got their title challenge back on track by banishing the spectre of their 9-2 loss to Bradford City last time out.
- Sunday, 25 February 2018
- By Dan Barnes
This time out, they helped themselves to a 3-1 win over Derby County, Millie Bell and Emily Scarr notching to put Boro 2-0 up.
Andi Belle reduced the deficit before the break but Boro, who moved six points clear of second-placed Huddersfield with three games in hand, rounded things off with a second goal from Scarr.
Elsewhere, third-placed Stoke City moved level on points with Huddersfield Town courtesy of a 4-1 win at Wolverhampton Wanderers, Kate Asher, Cassie Hyde, Hannah Keryakoplis and Faye McCoy grabbing the goals, with this a record-equalling fifth consecutive FA WPL win.
Blackburn Rovers went to Bradford and ran out 3-0 winners while Fylde also picked up a big victory on the road, defeating West Bromwich Albion 5-0.
Leicester City progressed into the semi-finals of the FA WPL Cup by beating Nottingham Forest 5-4 on penalties following a 1-1 draw.
Crystal Palace moved to within two points of the top of the Southern Division table, as well as stretching their unbeaten run to three matches with a 2-1 win at London rivals Queens Park Rangers.
Ciara Sherwood’s curling effort and a strike from Ellie Bailes goal helped cancel out Mara Deluca’s earlier equaliser.
Meanwhile, Portsmouth ran out 2-0 winners at Cardiff City thanks to second-half goals from Daisy McLachlan and Eilidh Currie.
Like Leicester, Coventry United were victorious in the quarter-finals of the FA WPL Cup, defeating Plymouth Argyle 3-0, while Charlton set up a meeting with Crystal Palace in the final of the Capital Women’s Senior Cup after they defeated Leyton Orient 3-2.
GAME OF THE WEEK
Leicester’s cup clash with Nottingham Forest took the biscuit, with the quarter-final tie being settled with a nail-biting penalty shoot-out following a 1-1 draw.
Ellie May stabbed home to give Leicester a first-half lead, Forest’s Natasha Hudson levelling, and then, after the two teams couldn’t be separated, the result was settled from 12 yards.
MANAGER OF THE WEEK – Lindsey Stephenson (Middlesbrough)
Having seen her team slip to a galling 9-2 loss at the hands of Bradford on February 18, Middlesbrough manager Lindsey Stephenson would have been after a response against Derby.
Boro responded with vigour, comfortably winning 3-1 to keep their title charge in rude health.
GOAL OF THE WEEK – Emily Scarr (Middlesbrough)
Winger Emily Scarr has been in fine form for Boro so far this season and her impudent effort that rounded things off against Derby stood out.
From a free-kick, Scarr managed to squeeze an effort under the wall to pull the wool over the Ewe Rams’ eyes.