Sunday 12 March 2017

Sheffield Ladies 1-2 Everton Ladies

Blue girls earn second Spring Series victory courtesy of a strike from Claudia Walker and an own-goal from Sheffield Ladies defender Ellie Gilliet.

Everton Ladies remain unbeaten in 2017 after securing a 2-1 Spring Series victory over Sheffield Ladies at the Home of Football Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

After a goalless first half, where Everton had dominated proceedings, Claudia Walker netted a deserved opener just after the hour mark.

Sheffield, however, equalised against the run of play through Sherry McCue on 78 minutes and it looked as though the hosts had earned themselves an unlikely point.

Fortunately for the Blue girls and deservedly so, they regained the lead almost immediately when Ellie Gilliet headed into her own net to send Everton back to Merseyside with all three points.

The Blue girls went into today’s fixture having not played a competitive game since their emphatic FA Cup penalty shoot-out victory over Durham Women two weeks ago but that didn’t show as they dictated the tempo of the game in the early stages.

Despite starting the game on the front foot, the Toffees, however, were restricted to few openings in the first quarter of the game and their only real opportunity came for Walker.

Fresh from her exploits with England Women Under-23s where she netted against the USA, Walker received the ball from Kelly Jones before creating some space but the striker fired her effort over the bar.

It took the hosts 25 minutes to muster their first chance of the game and they could have easily taken the lead but an unmarked Rhema Lord-Mears sent her header the wrong side of the post.

That scare for the Blues prompted them to step up a gear and they was unfortunate not to take the lead just before the break.

Emily Hollinshead, beat her marker down the left wing before finding Walker in the box, the striker turned brilliantly but couldn’t get her shot on target and somehow the Blues would go into half-time on level terms.

The second half would begin in the same fashion as the first period of the game ended – with a great opportunity for Blues striker Walker.

Winger Hollinshead, who caused problems all afternoon, found Walker and the forward jinked her way past the defender but could only send her effort straight into the arms of Sheffield keeper Jules Draycott.

It would turn out to be third time lucky for the England Youth International when on 66 minutes she finally got the goal that not only her individual performance but her sides display, thoroughly deserved.

Swiftly turning with the ball, Walker managed to get an inch on her marker before curling a low effort into the bottom corner.

Just 10 minutes after that goal and the game would take a twist moments later as the hosts grabbed themselves an unlikely way back into the contest when McCue raced in on goal and slotted past Toffees stopper Kirstie Levell.

That joy for the hosts would be short-lived though, as the Blues equalised moments later but it came with a helping hand from Sheffield as Gilliet headed past the helpless Sheffield keeper Jules Draycott on 79 minutes.

The Blues had chances to extend their lead in the final ten minutes but there would be no more goals at the Home of Football Stadium as Everton clinched their second Spring Series victory.

Everton will now turn their attentions to a huge game next weekend as they face Merseyside rivals Liverpool in the fifth round of the SSE FA Women’s Cup.

Everton Ladies starting XI: Levell, V. Jones, Finnigan, George, Turner, K. Jones, Hinnigan, Chance, Stobbs, Walker, Hollinshead.

Everton Ladies subs: Doyle, Bryson, Staunton-Turner.

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