Brilliant Brighton setting the Premier League pace

Sent Her Forward takes a look at the weekend’s Premier League games as another club loses its unbeaten record

Com[osite photo of Lucy Quinn and Kirsty Barton (P{hoto: Jordan Hampton and James Boyes)

Portsmouth’s Lucy Quinn and Brighton’s Kirsty Barton were both on the scoresheet, but there were contrasting fortunes for their clubs (Photo: Jordan Hampton/James Boyes)

Brighton pulled a little further clear at the top of the Premier League after thrashing newcomers C&K Basildon 6-1 while champions Portsmouth lost their 100% record in dramatic fashion.

Brighton blitz Basildon

On a day of goals all over the Southern Division, James Marrs’ league leaders came from behind to dent Basildon’s bright start to their first season in the league with six goals in less than an hour at Culver Road.

After Zoe Rushen had put the Essex side ahead with her fifth goal of the campaign – bringing to an end Brighton’s run of six successive clean sheets – the home side turned it around, taking a 3-1 lead by half-time and bagging another three goals after the break.

Charlotte Gurr drew her side level with her sixth goal of the season, and then Kate Natkiel and Kirsty Barton put them comfortably ahead by the interval.

Jay Blackie, Deanna Cooper and Amy Taylor all added to their personal goal tallies after the break as Brighton increased their lead to two points and gave their goal difference a big boost.

Graham off the mark as Charlton stun Pompey

A Kit Graham-inspired Charlton Athletic moved into second place with an impressive 4-1 victory at Portsmouth, who had not dropped a point in their first four matches.

Graham, who hit a half-century of goals for Charlton last season, was without one this season before Sunday’s visit to the league champions.

But she was one of four different scorers for the Londoners, who preserved their own unbeaten start to the season with another goal glut.

Gemma Shepherd opened the scoring with her seventh of the campaign. Graham grabbed a spectacular second before half-time, and then Jenny Newman and Nikita Whinnett gave the visitors a 4-0 lead before Lucy Quinn struck a spectacular consolation for depleted Pompey in injury time.

The Blues were without three key players – goalkeeper Sadie Blakely, striker Charley Wilson, and midfielder Sarah Kempson were all said by the club to be unavailable – but it was hardly a second-rate side that Perry Northeast put out, featuring three former Super League players plus Nigeria international Ini Umotong in their matchday squad.

Charlton’s fourth win in a row lifts them to second place, where they replace Cardiff City, whose game against West Ham United was called off because of international commitments.

Five-star performances keep Spurs and Coventry in touch

Tottenham Hotspur and Coventry United stepped up the pressure in the congested top half with five-goal victories against Forest Green Rovers and Lewes respectively.

Avilla Bergin and Katie O’Leary scored two each as Spurs won 5-0 at Forest Green RoversLeah Rawle got the other.

The win takes Spurs level with fourth-placed Portsmouth but from a game more.

Just behind the pair are Coventry United, who have games in hand of both. They inflicted a fifth defeat in a row on Lewes, matching Spurs’ score at the Bedworth Oval.

Maz Gauntlett and Annabel Johnson put the former Coventry City 2-0 up in little more than five minutes. Helen Dermody (2) and Jade Brook put the gloss on the victory after the break against injury-hit Lewes.

Plymouth’s 10 condemn Rangers to another defeat

Jo Wilson in action for Queens Park Rangers (Photo: Kevin Richards)

Jo Wilson’s late goal was no more than a consolation for struggling Queens Park Rangers (Photo: Kevin Richards)

In the battle of the winless, Plymouth Argyle inflicted a devastating sixth defeat in a row on Queens Park Rangers, gaining their first three-pointer of the season on the road.

Two first-half goals from Mollie Taylor earned Plymouth – who played the last hour with only 10 players after Natalie Volpini was sent off – their first victory of the campaign. Jo Wilson, a rare bright light in a dismal season so far for Rangers, scored her third of the campaign 20 minutes from time.

West Ham are the only other club in the division without a win, but they have played only three league games so far in a stop-start season.

South East Division 1

Shannon Redhouse in action for Gillingham against Bedford, 2015/16 (Photo: Julian hart)

Shannon Redhouse scored on her birthday to set Gillingham on their way to victory against Old Actonians (Photo: Julian Hart)

Player boost for Gillingham as birthday girl Redhouse helps them up to third

While the Premier League Southern averaged five goals a game, South East Division 1 mustered fewer than two per match, with Gillingham and Norwich City the only sides to score more than once.

The Gills moved up to third with a 3-0 victory at Old Actonians, courtesy of goals from Shannon Redhouse, on her birthday, Kallie Balfour and Rachel Ahern.

The club’s prospects for a quick return to the top division have been boosted by the capture of April Bowers and re-signing of Ellie Manning, both from West Ham.

Norwich won 3-1 at Cambridge United to move into the top half, but Crystal Palace are now four points clear at the top after beating Enfield Town 1-0 – their sixth win on the bounce – while nearest challengers Luton Town were held to a 1-1 draw at MK Dons.

Denham United v Ipswich Town and Lowestoft Town v Bedford both ended in 0-0 draws.

South West Division 1

Swindon looking to make up for lost time

Runaway leaders Swindon Town look absolutely intent on making up for last season’s promotion devastation, maintaining their perfect start to the season with a 2-1 victory at Exeter City, runners-up last term.

But they had to come from behind to preserve their 100% record after Helen Kukor had put the Devon side in front. Meg Vella and Megan Attenborough scored late in the game to keep Swindon on track for another title chase after missing out last season because of a points deduction.

Steve Robertson’s side are now six points clear, with Chichester City not playing and Keynsham Town falling to a shock home defeat to Cheltenham Town.

Charlie Gee and Rosie Herbert got the goals for Cheltenham to earn them their second victory of the campaign. Aimee Clark replied right on time for Keynsham.

Larkhall Athletic, who with Swindon and Chichester, have yet to drop a point this season, continued their fine start with a 3-2 victory at Maidenhead United.

However, they are one of the knock-on victims of the demise of Gloucester City, who pulled out of the league last week because of a lack of players.

One of Larkfield’s victories this season had been an 8-1 success against Gloucester, which has now been wiped from the records, along with Cheltenham’s 4-1 win and St Nicholas’s sole victory of the season – before Sunday.

But St Nick’s bounced back in style, defeating Swindon Spitfires 2-1 away to climb to ninth.

Spitfires have lost all six of their matches and are bottom, below Shanklin – whose 5-0 home defeat to Southampton Saints was their fourth in a row – on goal difference.

Catherine Browning scored two for Saints, and Becky Bath, Krystal Whyte and Emma Whitlock one each.

Reserves South Division

Champions Charlton get back to winning ways

As with the senior league, there were plenty of goals in the Reserves division, with Charlton Athletic leading the way.

The reigning reserves league champions put five past Southampton Saints for their first win of the season, with Kylie Manktelow, Daisy Monaghan, Charlie Spice and Leigh Houilihan among the scorers. Ellen Pearce scored Saints’ only goal.

Brighton‘s development side were also among the goals, beating Lewes 4-1. See match report.

Queen’s Park Rangers also hit four, defeating West Ham United 4-2. Zemeka Clarke, Alison Read, Kasha Petit and Keisha Lawrence scored for Rangers, with Pauline Adeyemo getting both West Ham’s.

But Tottenham Hotspur remain top with their third victory in three games – 4-0 against Portsmouth. Ronnell Humes scored two, and Davina Smith and Shakira Waithe one apiece.

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