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Sunday, 26 August, 2001, 18:25 GMT 19:25 UK
Arsenal see off Belles again
Clare Wheatley
Wheatley's knee injury has forced her to quit
By BBC Sport Online's Tony Leighton

Marieanne Spacey struck twice as Arsenal maintained their Indian sign over Doncaster Belles with a 4-1 victory on an emotional afternoon at Boreham Wood.

Before the match the players lined up in tribute to Arsenal's Clare Wheatley.

The former England player has been forced to retire because of the horrendous knee injury she sustained against the Belles in August's Charity Shield encounter.

Wheatley was presented with a bouquet by Donny's England goalkeeper Leanne Hall, whose challenge led to the injury.

Hall then had to pick the ball out of her net four times as Arsenal ran up yet another victory over last season's league runners-up.

Despite their second successive big win, however, Arsenal are still not top of the table. Charlton Athletic took over top spot from Donny with a 5-1 victory over newly promoted Brighton.

Everton, Southampton Saints and Tranmere all recorded their first wins of the season.

That leaves Sunderland and Leeds as the only two sides in the National Division still searching for their first points in the new campaign.

Arsenal 4-1 Doncaster Belles

The Gunners confirmed their domination of the Premier League with a goal-filled victory, despite being without injured striker Angela Banks.

Marianne Spacey
Spacey struck twice
Banks missed England's friendly match against Denmark on Thursday, and the prolific striker may also have to sit out next month's World Cup qualifier against Germany due to a persistent shin problem.

In her absence Arsenal fielded 18-year-old Ellen Maggs alongside Spacey, who opened the scoring with a superbly-struck 30-yard free-kick in the 29th minute.

England midfielder Vicky Exley equalised with a tremendous 18-yard volley five minutes later and the game was perfectly poised with the scores level at the interval.

But the league champions gradually took control.

Maggs regained their lead with a neat 62nd-minute goal, Ciara Grant headed home a 70th-minute Spacey free-kick, and Spacey completed the scoring with an angled drive seven minutes from time.

Charlton Athletic 5-1 Brighton

Susannah Abbott scored twice as Charlton, who finished third last season, moved to the top of the table.

But the Addicks had to come from behind after Brighton, in an explosive start, took the lead through a Nicky Rice goal after just three minutes.

Joanne Broadhurst equalised in the 15th minute, then Abbott put the home side on the way to victory with a 48th-minute strike.

Lavinia Becks and Alexa Hunt stretched the lead before Abbot's second goal put Charlton top on goal difference.

Sunderland 0-1 Everton

A 22nd-minute goal by Kelly McDougall gave Everton victory, but the visitors were pushed all the way as Sunderland looked for their first points of the season.

Mo Marley
Marley denied Sunderland
Though the visitors controlled most of the first half, they were almost pegged back in the 28th minute, when a Lynsey Baxter shot hit the crossbar.

Sunderland made the second half running but were denied a deserved goal.

The nearest they came to an equaliser was when former England England captain Mo Marley blocked Donna Lanaghan's 64th-minute effort on the line.

Southampton Saints 3-1 Barry Town

Southampton came from behind to collect three points after Claire O'Sullivan had given Barry the lead on the half-hour.

The Welsh team were looking to build on their opening-day draw with Everton.

But midfielder Katie Poore headed the home side level, then left back Corinne Yorsten hammered them into the lead with a long range 64th minute effort.

Saints had the edge in the closing stages but victory was not wrapped up until the final minute, when striker Una Nwajei bagged her second goal of the season.

Tranmere Rovers 3-3 Leeds United

A last-minute equaliser by Kim Holden gave Tranmere their first points of the season after a thrilling battle with the National Division newcomers.

Leeds ran the show in the first half and led 2-0 at the interval thanks to a brace from Lucy Ward.

Holden pulled a goal back four minutes after the break, but Stacey Daniel restored the visitors' lead in the 62nd minute.

England winger Sue Smith kept Tranmere's hopes alive with a 74th-minute strike, but time was running out when Holden came up with her match-saving second goal.

See also:

24 Aug 01 |  Football
Powell holds England hope
24 Aug 01 |  Football
England slump to Denmark
19 Aug 01 |  Worthington Cup
Spacey reaches for stars
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