Leaders beaten as Premier League serves up another cracker

Sent Her Forward FAW Premier League round-up

Portsmouth's wall defends a free-kick against Spurs on Oct 5 2014 (Photo: Matt Underwood)

Portsmouth’s winning run ended but they grabbed a draw to keep in touch at the top (Photo: Matt Underwood)

What a magnificent incentive the lure of Super League football has proved to be to this season’s Premier League, with a battle royal brewing between the top half-dozen hopefuls.

None of the clubs can pull away, each taking points off each other, leaving just three points separating the entire top half of the table as we approach the second third of the campaign.

Charlton Athletic were the big winners today, beating leaders Brighton & Hove Albion 4-1 to move within a point of their opponents with a game in hand.

Kit Graham added to her mounting season tally with two more, and Amy Howlett and Gemma Shepherd also scored as Charlton raced into a 3-0 lead before Fliss Gibbons pulled one back for Brighton just before half-time.

Portsmouth missed the chance to move above Brighton, being held to a 1-1 draw by Tottenham Hotspur at Ware.

It was Spurs’ first point in their last three games and keeps them well in touch with the leading pack, ending Pompey’s run of five successive league wins.

Lucia Padilla put Spurs ahead in the first half, but an own goal, attributed to Katie O’Leary, levelled for Pompey with 10 minutes to go.

Leeta Rutherford is sent off for Portsmouth against Spurs on Oct 5 2014 (Photo: Matt Underwood)

Leeta Rutherford was sent off for two bookable offences (Photo: Matt Underwood)

Portsmouth’s Leeta Rutherford, who had been booked in the first half, was sent off just before the end for a second bookable offence.

Manager Perry Northeast described the draw as hard-fought, but told Sent Her Forward the result was probably fair.

West Ham United are up to fourth after a much-as-expected comfortable victory over bottom club Keynsham Town, who have lost all seven of their league games.

Kelley Blanchflower put the Hammers ahead just before half-time. Vicky Kinsman and Sarah McRea extended their lead before Pilar Garcia pulled one back for the visitors.

But Lily Mellors rounded things off with the fourth 10 minutes before the end. It was their third win in the last four and takes them within a point of joint-leaders Brighton and Portsmouth.

Hot on their heels are Cardiff City, who beat Copsewood Coventry 2-0 to move within three points of the top with at least a game in hand of all their rivals.

Cori Williams and Kelly Aldridge bagged the goals that gave the Welsh side their fourth win in six league matches.

The mid-table battle between Plymouth Argyle and Lewes ended all-square after the home side mounted a second-half recovery to secure a point.

Char Bennett had given the away team a 2-0 half-time lead before two headers ensured a nail-biting finish.

The draw will probably satisfy neither side, but pulls them each a point further away from the bottom two.

Results:
Cardiff City 2 (Williams, Aldridge) Copsewood Coventry 0

Charlton Athletic 4 (Howlett 2, Graham, Shepherd) Brighton 1 (Gibbons)
Gillingham P-P Queens Park Rangers
Plymouth Argyle 2 Lewes 2 (Bennett 2)

Tottenham Hotspur 1 (Padilla) Portsmouth 1 (O’Leary OG)
West Ham United 4 (Blanchflower, Kinsman, McRea, Mellors) Keynsham Town 1 (Garcia) 

FAWPL Division One South West
Chichester City returned to winning ways in style with a 5-1 victory over Cheltenham Town.

Naomi Greene, with two, Emma Alexandre, Kally Ambler and Cherelle Jameson scored the goals that gave Chichester their first win in four games and only their third of a stop-start season.

Manager Matt Wright tweeted his relief after the match: “Finally the girls got what they deserved, fantastic perseverance.”

League leaders Forest Green Rovers were held at home for the second week in succession, drawing 2-2 with fast-improving Exeter City. Amy Baker and Charlotte King scored the home side’s goals; Hollie Stone and Lola Garcia Sanchez got the visitors’.

But neither Swindon Town nor Southampton Saints could capitalise on Forest Green’s slip-up, the Wiltshire side falling to the biggest shock of the day, crashing 3-1 at home to Larkhall Athletic.

Lizzie Barratt, Kelly Cripps and Kate German got the Larks’ goals to seal their second win in succession following four defeats and avenge their 4-1 defeat to the Robins earlier in the season.

Beth Thompson scored a late consolation penalty for Swindon as they fell to their first defeat of the season.

Shanklin continued their improvement with a 2-0 victory at Southampton Saints, who have been in such good form. It was only their second win of the season, but they are now one of only two unbeaten sides in the division.

St Nicholas finally grabbed their first points of the season, beating fellow strugglers Gosport Borough 3-0.

Gosport’s injury problems continue to dog the side, and manager Dave Pickering was without half his preferred line-up for various reasons as they missed their best chance yet of securing their first Premier League points.

He told Sent Her Forward: “The players missing had too much of an impact, and so the best 11 players on the day were worthy winners.”

Results:
Chichester City 5 (Alexandre, Ambler, Jameson, Greene 2) Cheltenham Town 1 

Forest Green Rovers 2 (Baker, King) Exeter City 2 (Stone, Garcia Sanchez)
Gosport Borough 0 St Nicholas 3
Southampton Saints 0 Shanklin 2
Swindon Town 1 (Thompson) Larkhall Athletic 3 (Barratt, Cripps, German)

FAW Premier Reserves League
Brighton
‘s second team tops the Reserves League, too, after they toppled previous leaders Charlton Athletic 2-1 at the Withdean Stadium.

They head the division on goal difference after just three matches, with Spurs moving up to third following their 2-1 win over Lewes, whose manager, Mark Currier, vented his anger at some of the officials’ decisions on Twitter.

Lewes are now the only team without a point after Gillingham and Chichester City picked up their first points of the campaign.

The Gills won 2-0 at Bedford, while Chichester drew 1-1 at Crystal Palace, with Abbey Shrubb continuing her march back from injury with the Sussex side’s goal.

Portsmouth lost their 100% record after being held 2-2 by West Ham United. Laura Newsome and Megan Gratton scored Pompey’s goals, which leave them fourth, just two points behind leaders Brighton.

Gemma Abela and Whitney Locke replied for the Hammers.

Results:
Bedford 0 Gillingham 2

Brighton & Hove Albion 2 Charlton Athletic 1 (Manktelow)
Crystal Palace 1 Chichester City 1 (Shrubb)
Portsmouth 2 (Newsome, Gratton) West Ham United 2 (Abela, Locke)
Queens Park Rangers 4 C&K Basildon 1
Tottenham Hotspur 2 (Lipowska, Manning) Lewes 1 

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