Leaders Reading Fall at Leicester

Leicester inflicted Reading’s first defeat of the season in the Investec Women’s Premier Division on Saturday, running out 3-2 winners.

Reading had conceded just three goals in their opening seven games, but that tally was doubled in the space of 70 minutes as Leicester secured victory, with England ace Crista Cullen (pictured) scoring twice.

Lucy Brown had put the home side ahead from open play after 11 minutes, and that scoreline remained until half time.

However, Reading hit back in style with Becky Halle and Liana Smith scoring on 38 and 41 minutes to give them the lead.

But that lead lasted just three minutes before Cullen popped up from a penalty corner, and she added a second in similar style three minutes later to give Leicester a 3-2 lead which they held on to.

Reading were not the only high-fliers to fall this weekend.

Second-placed Olton and West Warwickshire missed their chance to close the gap on Reading when they went down 2-5 at home against Slough.

Denise Marston-Smith gave Olton an early lead, but Slough were 1-3 ahead at half time with goals from Alex Scott, Louise Bevan and Lauren Penny.

Holly Chipman narrowed the gap for Olton with a 45th minute goal, but Penny added a second from a penalty corner, before Nicola White’s 62nd minute strike gave Slough the win.

And third-placed Clifton also went down, with Sutton Coldfield winning 4-3 after a thrilling clash.

The home side were 3-0 ahead at half time with goals from Sarah Mills and Jane Sixsmith (2).

Clifton hit back to level with Els Mansell scoring two and Zoe Meach one, but it was not enough as Vicky Woolford popped up to score from a 67th minute penalty corner.

A hat-trick from Tina Cullen helped Bowdon Hightown to a 7-4 win over University of Birmingham.

Sally Walton bagged two goals and others came from Fay Nash and Natalie Wray, while for Birmingham Liz George score two and Jenna Woolven and Jo Turnbull also scored.

Finally, Canterbury won 5-0 at Cannock.

In the North Conference, a 2-2 draw with Loughborough Students was enough for Beeston to go top of the table, with former leaders Wakefield Bradford losing out at Brooklands.

Beeston had Nicky Ward and Hannah Wraith to thank for their goals, while for Loughborough Holly Brown and Giselle Ansley were the scorers.

Brooklands beat Wakefield Bradford 2-1 with goals from Helen Armishaw and Lindsay Rachubka.

Cherry Seaborn secured a hat-trick as University of Durham beat Doncaster 4-1, and there was a similar scoreline for Whitley Bay and Tynemouth in their clash with Northampton Saints.

In the East Conference, leaders Surbiton ran out 4-1 winners over Oxford Hawks, with goals from Becky Marchant (2), Issy Sheldrake and Vicky Bryant.

And second-placed St Albans also won, goals from Sam Archer giving them a 2-1 win over Ipswich.

Rachel Thompson also scored two goals to help Maidstone win 2-1 over Horsham.

In the West Conference, leaders Buckingham dropped their first points of the season when they were held to a 4-4 draw at Isca.

They were 1-3 up at half time before the home side battled back to level the scores, with Clare Thomas scoring a hat-trick.

Elsewhere, Swansea beat hosts Exe 2-0, with Alex Naughalty and Abi Welsford scoring.