Natalia lands a knock­out blow

The Football League Paper - - WOMEN'S FOOTBALL WEEKLY - By Jake Evans

NATALIA Pab­los’ first-half goal saw Ar­se­nal gain re­venge for last sea­son’s Con­ti­nen­tal Tyres Cup de­feat by Manch­ester City and reach the semi-fi­nals.

Pab­los scored the game’s only goal in the 34th minute with a neatly taken volley as Ar­se­nal held on to knock­out the hold­ers, de­spite late pres­sure from City.

And Leah Wil­liamson was de­lighted the north Lon­don side were able to stay in the hat at City’s ex­pense.

Re­venge

“Last year’s fi­nal was al­ways in the back of our minds and we know how good a side City can be,” she said.

“Af­ter go­ing 1-0 up it was all about de­fend­ing, which we man­aged to do, and it was a great re­sult for us.”

In FA WSL 2 last week­end, vic­tory for Don­caster Rovers Belles se­cured their pro­mo­tion. And they will be joined in the top-flight next sea­son by Read­ing, af­ter third-placed Yeovil suf­fered a sur­prise de­feat.

In-form striker Court­ney Sweet­man-Kirk scored twice for Don­caster in a 2-1 vic­tory over Lon­don Bees. Emma Whit­ter had opened the scor­ing for the Bees in the 18th minute, but Sweet­manKirk’s goals ei­ther side of half-time sent Don­caster up with two matches to spare.

She said: “It feels amaz­ing. It puts a few de­mons to bed. Pro­mo­tion is pro­mo­tion and we’re ec­static.”

Read­ing also con­firmed their place in WSL 1 next sea­son with a 3-1 away win over Wat­ford.

Goals from Melissa Fletcher, He­len Ward and Rachel Rowe put Read­ing 3-0 up, be­fore El­lie Ma­son scored a late con­so­la­tion for the hosts.

The race for the ti­tle is now top of the agenda, with Read­ing three points be­hind Don­caster but a game in hand.

And Fletcher be­lieves the ti­tle could be de­cided on goal dif­fer­ence: “Goals on top of the win would be a bonus, as the league may come down to that, but three points were the min­i­mum and we’re de­lighted with that.”

Yeovil Town’s pro­mo­tion hopes ended with a 1-0 home de­feat to Ox­ford United.

Kayleigh Hines scored the win­ner as Yeovil slipped eight points adrift of sec­ond with two matches left.

There was lit­tle but pride to play for as As­ton Villa beat Mill­wall Lionesses 2-1 thanks to a stun­ning 80th-minute over­head-kick from Katie Wilkin­son.

Rin­sola Baba­jide put Mill­wall 10 up be­fore Bethan Mer­rick and Wilkin­son scored sec­ond-half goals to com­plete a come­back.

In WSL 1, Manch­ester City thrashed Bristol Academy 6-1 be­fore their cup de­feat to Arse- nal, en­sur­ing the ti­tle will be de­cided on the fi­nal day.

Iso­bel Chris­tiansen scored twice while Jill Scott, Lucy Bronze, Nikita Par­ris and Ge­or­gia Stan­way grabbed a goal each.

Sur­vival

Caro­line Weir net­ted late on for Bristol, but the re­sult saw them con­demned to FA WSL 2.

The league lead­ers and City’s ti­tle ri­vals Chelsea went top of the league with an im­pres­sive 4-0 away win over Liver­pool.

Star for­ward Ji So-Yun scored twice for the Blues, while Eng­land in­ter­na­tion­als Frank Kirby and Eniola Aluko each bagged a goal in a dom­i­nant dis­play from the would-be Cham­pi­ons.

And Kerys Har­rop scored an 88th-minute win­ner for Birm­ing­ham as they sealed their top-flight sur­vival with a dra­matic 1-0 win over Notts County.

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