Sheffield Ladies on FA Cup trail

Rotherham's Grace Birchall gets in a shot as Sheffield's Tasha Cooke attempts to block
Rotherham's Grace Birchall gets in a shot as Sheffield's Tasha Cooke attempts to block
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Holders Sheffield FC Ladies began their defence of the FA Women’s Premier League Cup with a 5-1 win at Rotherham United.

Jodie Michalska 2, Ellie Gilliatt, plus former Rotherham players Suzanne Davies (pen) and Lynn Goodman netted for Sheffield, Amy Pollock for Rotherham whose keeper Charlie Whitely was arguably player of the match, making several fine saves.

Sheffield now go forward to the competition proper where they are joined by Steel City Wanderers, 4-1 home winners over Curzon Ashton thanks to Beth Gingell and a hat-trick by Cheryl Mawhood.

Rotherham go into the Plate, as do Sheffield United Community, beaten 4-1 at Guiseley AFC Vixens, Danielle Green on target.

Sunday’s opening games in the North East League saw South Yorkshire finish all square with Humberside. Barnsley were 2-0 home winners over Hessle in the Premier Division, Jenna Bramley and Jess Wheatman scoring.

Sheffield Wednesday, starting their second season in the Southern Division, bettered last season’s best score by 2 with a 7-0 home victory over newly promoted Courts City thanks to goals from Emma Otley 2, Natalie Ledger 2, Channy Rymer, Holly Barwick and Stacey Buxton.

Doncaster Belles (Women) lost 2-0 at home to Westella & Willerby and Dearne & District lost 5-1 at Malet Lambert, Trudi Race scoring.

Reading’s England international Fran Kirby has proved the scourge of Doncaster Rovers Belles this season. Her hat- trick in Reading’s 4-0 home victory over Belles last Saturday means she has scored half of the 10 goals Belles have conceded in 11 FA Women’s Super League 2 games this season.

Belles’ hopes of pipping Sunderland to the title have receded significantly, while they now have Reading breathing down their necks for runners up spot.

Sunderland top the table with 29 points, Belles have 24 and Reading 20, but with a game in hand on the top pair.