Bristol Ladies Union go top, but they will have a real battle to stay there
FRANKIE Stone's double and goals from Cheryl Baber and Amy Caswell gave Bristol Ladies Union the 4-3 win at Cleeve West Town which took them back to the top of the SW Women's League Premier Division.
But head coach Rich Sears admitted they are there by default as title rivals Larkhall Athletic were without a game – and was far from happy with his side's performance.
BLU are three points ahead, but the Bath-based club lie second with two games in hand.
Sears said: "We will fight all the way to end. We know Larkhall are our main threat, but only if we win everything around the two fixtures we have against them in January. If we win those games against them and maintain our league run, the title is ours."
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Friday, May 31 2013
Sears was unhappy with a stuttering performance against Cleeve, although he did praise the display from reserve-team player Chloe Campbell, who stepped up after a number of first-team players were ruled out by illness.
Sears said: "She will be ready for the seniors soon. She has the right attitude, approach and enough skill for us to polish and refine to make her a permanent player in this team. I was very impressed but we will have to see how she performs against the tougher teams in this league."
Meanwhile, BLU have failed in a bid to lure former England international Rachel Stowell from Downend Flyers.
Stowell – formerly McArthur – remains the only Bristol-born player to win senior caps for the national women's team during a career which included spells at Bristol City, Arsenal, Fulham, Leeds, Leicester and Southampton.
But she has elected to remain with Downend, who are enjoying a good first season in the Premier Division after winning promotion last term.
Sears said: "I am disappointed of course, but Rachel was up front from our initial contact that she has no desire to move at present. The door will always remain firmly open however, if she ever changes her mind."
Brazilian striker Fabiana Rodrigues scored both goals for Keynsham Town Reserves in their 2-0 win over Forest of Dean in the Eastern Division.
The second round of the Gloucestershire FA Women's Challenge Cup produced a couple of upsets with the underdogs triumphing on penalties.
Bitton fought back from behind to put out Cheltenham Town 4-2 in a shoo-out after the scores were locked at 1-1, Jess Morgan netting the leveller for the Ton.
Keeper Chloe Gallagher was the star when it came to spot-kicks, saving two of Cheltenham's attempts.
Bristol & West ousted Oldland Abbotonians 4-3 in a shoot-out after their game was also deadlocked at 1-1, Jenni Hand scoring for the home side and Lise Fletcher grabbing Oldland's leveller.
"We were off the boil in the first half, then had wave after wave of attacks in the second half – but we are missing a goalscorer and struggling to find the net," said Oldland's assistant boss Steve Lavis.
Doubles from Amy Jefferies and Becky Rexworthy, along with a Joanne Granger goal, gave St Nicholas a 5-0 win over Longwell Green to set up a home quarter-final tie against Stoke Lane Athletic, who went through without kicking a ball as opponents Mitcheldean were unable to field a team.
Holders Bristol Academy Under-18s stormed through 27-0 against hapless Quedgeley and will travel to Forest Green Rovers in the last eight on February 17, while Bristol & West will host Bitton and Downend have a home tie against Cirencester.
The Flyers ran out 8-3 winners at Longlevens thanks to doubles from Katie Michael, Laura Baker and Alana Willson, with Grace Bunker and Hayley Bullock also on target.