Women's football: Sowden's late winner fires Barnet up to fourth

By Tony LeightonWomen's football correspondent
Barnet's Stacey Sowden scored against Aston Villa
Stacey Sowden (left) scored her 13th goal of the season in the win over Cardiff

Barnet rose to fourth in the Women's Premier League after Stacey Sowden's late goal earned a 1-0 win over Cardiff City in the weekend's only game.

The striker's 13th goal of the season four minutes from time puts the Bees in sight of their best-ever finish.

Barnet have never finished higher than fifth but, with three games remaining, they are two points behind Charlton Athletic with a game in hand.

The London rivals will face each other at Charlton next week.

Barnet started brightly against Cardiff and almost took an early lead when Emma Davies hit the post.

Abbie Prosser also went close, forcing Bluebirds goalkeeper Rhian Nokes into a fine save.

The Bluebirds hit back for Ellie Smith to send a 20-yard shot narrowly over the bar just before the interval.

Sowden was denied a goal when Nokes kept out her 67th minute effort, but the keeper had no chance with a low shot just inside the far post after collecting a neat pass from substitute Renata Innis.

As the Premier League season heads into its closing stages, the elite Women's Super League's teams are stepping up their preparations for the 2012 campaign.

The Football Association have released details of the summer league's fixtures, the first of which are to be played on the Easter weekend of April 6-9.

Arsenal, who won last year's inaugural campaign, have a tough first outing at home to old rivals Everton.

Birmingham City, runners-up to the Gunners in both the league and Continental Cup, will be away to Lincoln in their opening game.

The other two Easter weekend fixtures will see Chelsea entertaining Doncaster Belles and Bristol Academy travelling to Liverpool.

The Continental Cup, which last year followed the completion of the Super League season, will this year act as a curtain raiser to the summer campaign.

The first round of matches in the Cup's group stage is set for the weekend of 17-18 March, although the group draw has not yet been made.

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