Manchester City would make it five WSL wins in a row as they saw off a spirited Everton side. Everton 1-2 Man City was the final at Walton Hall Park this afternoon.
Strikes from Julie Blakstad (32′) and Bunny Shaw (49′) wrapped up a deserved victory for the away side despite Rikke Sevecke’s leveller just before half time.
With Jess Park ineligible to play against her parent club, Everton boss Brian Sorensen brought in Aurora Galli, while Emily Ramsey returned in goal.
For City, Lauren Hemp missed out with injury as expected. This meant Blakstad was restored to Gareth Taylor’s starting XI with Sandy MacIver keeping her place in goal.
It was the away side who almost had a dream start. A wonderful ball in the opening seconds of the game handed Chloe Kelly the chance to tap home. However, Ramsey pulled off an excellent save at point blank range.
Shaw would have the ball in the net soon after, however, the referee would rule the Jamaican offside. Replays would show the call was a tight one.
Julie Blakstad goal
The away side would open the scoring through Norwegian winger Blakstad just after the half hour mark. Shaw was played clean through on the Everton goal before squaring for Blakstad who tapped into an empty net.
Despite City’s dominance, Everton would bounce back almost instantly. MacIver struggled to deal with a corner, which allowed Sevecke to poke home from close range.
The Toffee’s nearly went in front a minute later when Hanna Bennison’s volley almost sneaked into the bottom corner of the Cityzens’ net.
Blakstad and Shaw would both go close to restoring City’s lead in first half stoppage time. The latter’s clash with Ramsey nearly forced the ball into the net.
WSL leading scorer Shaw would be involved again immediately after the break. Her drive and shot pulled Ramsey into a smart save.
Bizarre sequence of events
It wouldn’t take her long to get the goal her play had deserved. Laura Coombs’ long range drive pinged off the post and Shaw was there to tap home the rebound.
Kelly would see a good drive and run force a save out of the Toffee’s stopper soon after.
A bizarre sequence of events would almost see Taylor’s team go further in front on the hour mark. A terrific goal line clearance from Sevecke stopped Kelly from adding a third.
Shortly afterwards though, Ramsey would spill a cross against the post, which allowed Kelly to try an overhead kick. The attempt somehow stayed out by hitting the bar via a Blakstad header.
Lively substitute Aggie Beever Jones would attempt to drag the home side back into it and saw a dangerous shot hit the side netting.
Everton would go close again in the closing stages when Lucy Graham’s right footed drive almost curled beyond MacIver’s far post.
Kelly would force Ramsey into an excellent save when her long range drive had to be tipped around the post. The resulting corner saw Aleixandri sting the palm’s of the Toffee’s stopper.
A run from Beever-Jones would force a stoppage time corner, but it would be cleared comfortably as City held on.
The win keeps Manchester City in fourth, level on points with rivals Manchester United, while Everton remain in seventh.
Everton: Ramsey, Graham, Finnigan, Sevecke, George, Stenevik (Maier 76), Bjorn, Holmgaard (Beever-Jones 46), Galli (Gio 66), Bennison (Wheeler 66), Snoeijs.
Man City: MacIver, Casparij, Aleixandri, Morgan, Ouhabi, Hasegawa, Castellanos, Coombs (Fowler 82), Kelly, Shaw, Blakstad.