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Page last updated at 17:39 GMT, Sunday, 20 April 2008 18:39 UK

Arsenal close in on league title

By Tony Leighton

Women's football

Arsenal moved to within three points of yet another Women's Premier League title with a 2-0 victory against Bristol Academy.

The Gunners had a helping hand from Birmingham City, whose 2-2 draw at Everton meant the loss of two points for the second-placed Toffees.

Leeds United won 4-0 at Cardiff City to take over third place from Bristol.

Elsewhere, Watford moved into sixth spot in the Premier League with a 4-1 victory against Liverpool.


Arsenal 2-0 Bristol Academy

Arsenal had to battle for their victory against an under-strength Bristol side who kept the champions elect at bay until the last minute of the first half.

But after striker Kelly Smith had broken the deadlock from the penalty spot, left winger Rachel Yankey ensured victory with a goal 15 minutes from time.

The Gunners will be crowned champions for the fifth year in succession - and the seventh time in eight seasons - if they beat Chelsea at the Emirates Stadium on Thursday.


Charlton Athletic 0-4 Birmingham City

Charlton were on the back foot from the moment Sally Lacey shot the visitors ahead after three minutes.

Laura Bassett doubled Birmingham's advantage from a 41st-minute penalty before second-half goals from Chelsea Weston and Sinead Wade wrapped up victory.


Everton 2-2 Birmingham City

Everton's long pursuit of Arsenal is almost over after Birmingham twice came from behind to force a hard-earned draw.

A neat 15-yard finish by left winger Dannii Bird in the 21st minute cancelled out Everton's sixth minute penalty, struck home by midfielder Fara Williams.

The home side regained the lead in the 66th minute with striker Natasha Dowie glancing in a fine header.

But two minutes later, the Blues were back on level terms as striker Becky Hall put the ball into an empty net following a mistake by goalkeeper Danielle Hill.


Cardiff City 0-4 Leeds United

A 24th minute goal by left winger Sue Smith put Leeds on the way to a third League win in eight days.

Striker Jess Clarke doubled the advantage two minutes later and a Nicola Cousins own goal just before the interval virtually wrapped up victory for the visitors.

Midfielder Steph Houghton added the final goal three minutes after the break as Leeds boosted their chances of a third place finish for the first time in the club's history.


Watford 4-1 Liverpool

Striker Helen Lander hit a hat-trick to give Watford a decent chance of finishing in the top half of the table in their first season of top-flight football.

After midfielder Michelle O'Brien had opened the scoring in the third minute Lander struck twice in the first half and completed her hat-trick five minutes after the break.

Chantelle Parry bagged Liverpool's consolation goal 20 minutes from time as the Reds left themselves likely to finish the campaign just one place above the relegation zone.


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