Women's Super League: Liverpool beat Birmingham to stay top

By Tony LeightonWomen's football reporter
Fors free-kick keeps Liverpool top

Temporary England coach Brent Hills was in attendance as Liverpool won 4-2 at Birmingham to stay two points clear at the top of the Women's Super League.

He will no doubt have had an eye on Reds striker Natasha Dowie, left out of England's Euro 2013 squad but the country's top scorer with 15 goals in 17 games.

It was not Dowie, however, but German winger Nicole Rosler who shone brightest with a hat-trick to take her season's goal tally to 11.

In-form striker Danielle Carter set champions Arsenal on the way to a 3-1 win over bottom club Doncaster Belles.

Carter opened the scoring with her sixth goal in five outings, but the Belles fought back well and the final scoreline flattered the Gunners.

Arsenal are now two points behind Liverpool with a game in hand.

Third-placed Bristol Academy, with two games in hand on the Reds, are four points below the Gunners after Laura del Rio's stoppage-time penalty gave them a 1-0 win at Lincoln.

In the lower half of the table, Everton beat Chelsea 3-2.

Birmingham City 2-4 Liverpool

Liverpool threatened from the early stages and Rosler opened the scoring with a far-post finish from Louise Fors' 25th-minute cross.

Swedish midfielder Fors doubled the lead six minutes later, spectacularly bending a 25-yard free-kick into the top corner.

Rosler raced clear on the left to cut in and score the third goal five minutes before half-time.

Nicole Rosler
Liverpool's Nicole Rosler celebrates the first of her three goals against Birmingham.

And five minutes after the interval, the German's pace saw her reach Fors' through-ball to complete her hat-trick.

Blues pulled a goal back in the 52nd minute, substitute Coral Haines sliding the ball home from a Kirsty Linnett cross.

And Linnett was the provider again as Isobel Christiansen slotted in Birmingham's 69th-minute second.

But despite late pressure the home side were unable to deny the leaders victory.

Arsenal 3-1 Doncaster

Ten days after thrashing the Belles 6-0 at the Keepmoat Stadium, Arsenal found it much tougher on their own pitch against the same opponents.

Carter hit the post after 11 minutes, before opening the scoring with her sixth goal in five outings, but in a hard-fought opening half-hour Donny striker Mille Bright also saw a good effort come back off the woodwork.

The visitors equalised three minutes after the break, Gunners captain Steph Houghton mis-hitting a pass straight to Sue Smith for the winger to curl the ball home.

But five minutes later the home side regained the lead as playmaker Kim Little scored from the spot.

And midfielder Jordan Nobbs clinched Arsenal's eighth successive victory when she turned in right winger Ellen White's 70th-minute cross.

Lincoln 0-1 Bristol Academy

Lincoln striker Bonnie Horwood had a goalbound effort well saved by keeper Siobhan Chamberlain after just two minutes but, although the home side continued to look the more likely scorers, they failed to produce another clear-cut opening until a remarkable incident on the hour.

Captain Casey Stoney headed against the post, winger Jess Clarke pounced on the rebound but had her shot blocked by Chamberlain and within seconds Stoney had two close-range efforts cleared off the line.

Bristol could have grabbed the points 14 minutes from time, but striker Natalia sent a free header over the bar.

A minute into stoppage time, however, Natalia's Spanish compatriot Del Rio made no mistake from the penalty spot to earn a vital victory.

Everton 3-2 Chelsea

A late goal by Chantelle Boye-Hlorkah gave Everton victory after Chelsea had come back from two goals behind to seemingly salvage a point.

Striker Toni Duggan had given the Toffees a 13th-minute lead that was doubled seven minutes after the break by Michelle Hinnigan, both goals from close range.

Toni Duggan
Toni Duggan gave Everton the lead against Chelsea.

But two minutes after Hinnigan's strike, Drew Spence took advantage of a slip by goalkeeper Rachel Brown to reduce the arrears.

Chelsea then took control and drew level when Katie Holtham forced the ball home in an 81st-minute goalmouth scramble.

The visitors looked set for a deserved point, but six minutes from time teenage striker Boye-Hlorkah hit the net from 10 yards to give Everton the points.

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