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Last Updated: Sunday, 17 August, 2003, 17:33 GMT 18:33 UK
Opening-day goal feast
By Tony Leighton

Arsenal and Doncaster Rovers Belles went goal crazy on a high scoring opening day of the Nationwide Women's Premier League.

Teenage winger Alex Scott hit a hat-trick as the Gunners won 9-2 at Tranmere Rovers.

Former England captain Karen Walker and midfielder Vicky Exley each scored twice in Doncaster's 7-2 victory at newly promoted Aston Villa.

And both Charlton Athletic and Everton hit the net three times in victories over Birmingham City and newcomers Bristol Rovers respectively.


Tranmere Rovers 2-9 Arsenal
The loss of three key players in summer transfers took its toll on Rovers, who look set for a tough campaign.

Kim Holden and Lauren Carubia scored their goals, but not until after Arsenal had run up a 7-0 lead.

Fifteen year-old striker Leanne Sanderson opened the scoring before England Under-19 player Scott set off towards her hat-trick.

Wales midfielder Jayne Ludlow and England striker Ellen Maggs bagged braces and the other goal came from Justine Lorton, a summer signing from Charlton.


Aston Villa 2-7 Doncaster Rovers Belles
Northern Division champions Aston Villa began brightly, striker Carly Davies giving them an early lead.

But the Belles picked up from a slow start and hit their final four goals in the last 19 minutes. Gemma Hunt, Julie Twaddle and Jody Handley added goals to the two each from Exley and Walker, the latter scoring her second from the penalty spot. Davies hit a second goal for Villa but the home side were steamrollered in the closing stages.


Everton 3-1 Bristol Rovers
Like Villa, Southern Division champions Rovers had a harsh introduction to the top flight. Everton had debutante Lindsey Johnson sent off on the hour for handling the ball in the penalty area. But Stef Curtis missed from the spot and the Gas Girls paid the price. Three goals in 18 minutes, from Jenny Jones, Sammy Britton and Amy Byrne, put paid to the visitors. Curtis scored a last minute consolation goal.


Birmingham City 2-3 Charlton Athletic
England striker Carmaine Walker hit the winner after Charlton had recovered from the shock of conceding a goal after just five minutes.

Eniola Aluko put the home side ahead, but goals by Amanda Barr and Joanne Broadhurst edged the Addicks in front.

Aluko equalised just before half-time, but Walker wrapped up the points for the visitors on the hour.

Champions Fulham were not in action as they were travelling to Holland for their first round tournament of the Women's Uefa Cup.





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