Women's football: Beth Mead double keeps Sunderland top

By Tony LeightonWomen's football correspondent

Teenage striker Beth Mead scored twice as Sunderland hammered lowly Nottingham Forest 6-1 to stay top of the Women's Premier League table.

Leeds United beat Reading 3-2 to remain level on points, although the Black Cats have a game in hand.

A late goal by Fliss Gibbons gave third-placed Charlton Athletic a 1-0 win at lowly Cardiff City.

Rock-bottom Watford kept alive their slim hopes of avoiding relegation with a 1-1 draw against Aston Villa.

Sunderland 6-1 Nottingham Forest

Mead set the Black Cats on the road to victory with two early goals.

The 16-year-old striker headed the opener from Nicola Devine's ninth-minute cross.

And six minutes later the England Under-17 star, who is top of the WPL scoring chart, neatly chipped in her 16th goal of the season.

Steph Bannon headed home from Sarah McFadden's 27th minute corner to increase the pressure on second-bottom Forest.

And the visitors were effectively killed off five minutes before the interval, Keira Ramshaw scoring from another Devine cross.

The second half was quiet until five minutes from time, when Ramshaw hooked in her second goal of the afternoon.

Forest bagged an 89th minute consolation goal through Aileen Whelan, who chased a long ball out of defence to score.

But, with seconds remaining, Bannon floated in a free-kick for Rachel Furness to head home the final goal of the afternoon.

Leeds United 3-2 Reading

Melissa Fletcher gave the seventh-placed Royals a surprise lead, shooting home from close range in the 12th minute.

Leeds rallied but took until the 34th minute to equalise through an Emma Lipman shot that flew in off the post.

Four minutes before half-time Reading goalkeeper Hannah Rogers saved a Clare Sykes penalty, then kept out the striker's shot from the rebound - but at the third attempt Sykes put the ball into the net to give the home side the lead.

Three minutes into the second half, the home side went two goals in front when Mille Bright fired in a 10-yard shot.

But, within 60 seconds, Reading were back in the game as Fletcher cut in from the left to drill home her second goal.

The visitors pressed for an equaliser, but Leeds also had chances in a closely-fought final 40 minutes.

Cardiff City 0-1 Charlton Athletic

Cardiff goalkeeper Rhian Nokes brilliantly saved a first-minute penalty by Gemma Bryan to set the tone for a pulsating encounter.

The play constantly switched from end to end and the two keepers were the busiest players on the pitch.

An entertaining stalemate looked on the cards until Gibbons struck with a low cross-shot 17 minutes from time.

Watford 1-1 Aston Villa

Watford had most of the play but Villa took the lead when Kayleigh Griffiths found the net with a low 18-yard shot three minutes before the break.

Twenty minutes into the second period, Villa keeper Megan Walsh tipped a Jo Wilson header onto the crossbar as the Hornets went all out for an equaliser.

The deserved leveller arrived three minutes from time when Sarah Wiltshire - who had struck the bar in the first-half - hit the roof of the net with a superb 25-yard shot.

The result left the Hornets seven points below the safety places and needing to win all three of their remaining games to have any real chance of avoiding relegation.

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