Danielle Boyd’s first-half penalty gave Crawley Wasps a 1-0 victory at Eastbourne Town on Sunday - and Leyton Orient’s first league defeat breathed fresh life into the title race.
The only goal of a scrappy game at The Saffrons came on 26 minutes, when Rosanne Fine was tripped in the box and midfielder Boyd scored her 16th goal of the season in all competitions.
She had gone close to opening the scoring earlier in the game when her shot came back off the bar.
After the goal, top scorer Fine had a fierce shot held by Town keeper Sarah Walshaw and Holly Walker fired just wide in a foray forward from the back.
After the break Wasps struggled against a hard-working Town, who applied pressure off the ball and stretched the visitors’ defence without ever troubling keeper Marie Gillstrom.
Boyd could have made the game safe late on but headed into the side-netting from sub Holly Currier’s cross.
Orient suffered their first league defeat for a year, losing 5-2 to London Corinthians, which will give leaders Wasps and others hope - but the O’s remain title favourites given their games in hand.
Wasps: Gillstrom; Duncan, Walker, Ward; N. Smith, Elphick, Turbill, Davies, Boyd; C. O’Hagan, Fine. Subs: Currier, Tuazon.