Jane Sixsmith, Sutton Coldfield's guiding light this season, put her side in touching distance of the women's National League Division One title on Saturday as she led them to a 3-1 victory away to Birmingham University.
The former Great Britain star scored two fine goals, one a reverse-stick lob over the goalkeeper, and created the third goal which Emma Cave scored in the 47th minute.
Only a technicality prevents Sutton being acclaimed champions. Trojans can finish equal on points with Sutton if they win their remaining two matches and Sutton lose theirs but Sutton have a vastly superior goal difference.
Saturday's derby was a scrappy affair with both sides missing scoring opportunities. Sutton's first scoring chance in the third minute, from a penalty corner, hit the post. The University capitalised on this miss three minutes later in their first breakaway when Marie-Laure Rigg put them ahead.
The University's lead lasted ten minutes before Six-smith, findng space, equal-ised and ten minutes later she put Sutton ahead with another classic goal. The third goal came as a result of another breakaway by the division's top scorer.
The defeat sent the University sliding from joint second to fifth place.
Jo Walker scored another two goals but it was not enough to prevent Aldridge losing 4-3 to Ben Rhydding and the opportunity of keeping pressure on North Division leaders Sunderland who are two points ahead with a match in hand. The home side scored the winner four minutes from time.
In South Division, Worcester lost 4-0 to Swansea, joint leaders with Horsham, who slayed bottom side Bedford 12-0 and enhanced Worcester's chances of escaping the play-offs.
Bournville are battling hard in the men's North Division but remain five points adrift of leaders Brooklands
MU despite defeating Stourport 8-4 in a match which ended with a flurry of goals in the last ten minutes. Both sides had scored within the first four minutes and, at half time, the score was 2-2.
Bournville led 6-2 before Imran Yousaf completed his hat-trick for Stourport in the 61st minute. Harry Rowland then netted for Bournville, followed four minutes later by team-mate Matt Ruxton scoring his second goal. Phil Lashford immedately scored Stourport's fourth goal. Rik McCollum also scored two of Bournville's goals.
Stourport lost again yesterday, 7-0 away to Doncaster, who on Saturday had helped to end Leek's hopes of promotion by defeating them 6-1. Yesterday, Leek lost 5-4 to Sheffield Hallam Civica. Lichfield lost 5-2 to Harrogate and their play-off against Cambridge University was confirmed.
Barford Tigers and Birmingham University won in South Division and the only incentive left for them is the determination to finish the season above each other.
Tigers beat Oxted, with Jimmy Singh scoring twice, to stay two points ahead of the University who defeated Oxford Hawks 4-1 with James Carter collecting a pair.
* Reading will play East Grinstead in the Men's Cup final at Reading on April 2. They beat Beeston 3-1 yesterday in the semi-finals in which East Grinstead over-came Southgate 6-2.
Tina Cullen scored a hat-trick for Bowdon Hightown in their Women's Cup semi-final defeat of Slough after penalty strokes. The score at full time was 3-3 and Bowdon won 4-2 on penalties. In the final they face Chelmsford who needed penalty strokes to beat Doncaster 3-1. The score at full time was 1-1.
* Harborne opened the way for Coventry and Telford & Wrekin to have a chance of winning the Coaching Solutions League title when they created a major upset by defeating leaders Sikh Union (Nottingham) 3-1 away.
This was only Sikh Union's second defeat but they still have a two-point advantage. Coventry beat West Bridgford 2 -1 and Telford beat Bridgnorth 3-2. Olton beat Edgbaston by the same score.