It was a tale of two hat-tricks in the Barclays FA Women’s Championship as Southampton and London City Lionesses kept pace with league leaders Bristol City.
Katie Wilkinson delivered the goods for Southampton during the week before Shanade Hopcroft followed suit for the Lionesses on Saturday as both sides moved to 17 points, two short of City.
The table-toppers had their game at Lewes postponed owing to rain, while Crystal Palace’s match with Sheffield United also suffered the same fate.
Elsewhere, there were wins for Blackburn and Charlton, who both look well-placed in the top half of the table.
Wilkinson masterclass sees Southampton keep pace with leaders
The matchday nine action began in midweek, when Southampton entertained Coventry United on Wednesday evening.
Wilkinson’s first-half hat-trick was the difference between the two sides, and the forward’s first goal for the club came after just 27 seconds at St Mary’s.
Her first was a brilliant half-volley from just outside the box which flew into the bottom corner as Saints made the perfect start under the lights.
Ella Pusey then set up Wilkinson for her second on 38 minutes, before the game was soon beyond the visitors when full-back Megan Collett swung in a brilliant cross that allowed Wilkinson to tap home.
Charlton edge out Durham to move fourth
Melissa Johnson was the matchwinner at Maiden Castle as Charlton beat Durham 2-1 to secure a first win since September.
The Addicks took the lead after just six minutes when Emily Simpkins tucked away a penalty.
The hosts were awarded a spot-kick of their own a short while later, and it was no surprise to see Beth Hepple assume responsibility and bring her side level.
Summer signing Simpkins was at the heart of all that was all good about Charlton’s play and was involved in the goal which proved to be decisive.
She won the ball back in midfield and slipped in Johnson whose strike found the net via the post.
Hopcroft’s hat-trick helps Lionesses beat Birmingham
Hopcroft’s hat-trick helped London City Lionesses stretch their unbeaten run to seven matches after they overcame Birmingham City 3-2 at Princes Park.
Hopcroft added to her two first-half strikes with a penalty as the Lionesses responded well to Louise Quinn’s 31st minute equaliser.
And Quinn was on the scoresheet once again at the death with a stoppage-time consolation.
Leek’s late strike maintains Rovers’ fine run
Blackburn made it four games without defeat after Ellie Leek scored an 83rd minute winner in their 1-0 win over Sunderland.
Rovers had been knocking on the door for much of the second half and finally found the breakthrough in the closing stages of the game when Leek lifted the ball over the onrushing Claudia Moan.
The first real chance of the game fell the visitors’ way when Libby McInnes was played through, but her shot was well smothered by Blackburn’s Shanell Salgado.
Blackburn improved after the interval and came close on a couple of occasions through Saffron Jordan.
But Leek finally broke the deadlock with a deft finish from inside the box, a goal which earned Blackburn back-to-back home wins.
Source: The Football Association