An Ellen White brace saw Birmingham win at Bristol City 2-0, while Sunderland drew with Everton and Reading beat Yeovil Town 3-0.
Wednesday 28th March
FA WSL 1
Bristol City 0-2 Birmingham City (Att: 498)
Reading 3-0 Yeovil Town (Att: 197)
Sunderland 1-1 Everton (Att: 224)
FA WSL 2
Tottenham Hotspur P-P Millwall Lionesses (waterlogged pitch)
Two goals from Ellen White ensured Birmingham City continued their impressive recent run with a fifth victory in their last six games.
But Bristol City continued to struggle as the England striker’s double consigned them to a fifth FA WSL 1 defeat in a row.
The win takes Birmingham up to fourth in the table, just a point behind Arsenal in third, albeit having played two games more.
Birmingham were soon creating early chances at the Stoke Gifford Stadium with Rachel Williams not far wide with a header from a free-kick, while Charlie Wellings also went close with an angled drive after a poor clearance from Bristol keeper Sophie Baggeley.
The visitors needed only seven minutes to go in front when a Wellings shot deflected off a defender and fell into the path of White, who pounced to slot the ball home from close range.
Birmingham could have increased their lead 11 minutes later when Rachel Williams was sent clear, but Baggaley made a good diving save to thwart her.
Bristol did look better after the break, however, and Millie Farrow had their first real chance in the 58th minute, although Birmingham keeper Ann-Katrin Berger was still able to make a fairly comfortable save when the striker shot from the edge of the box.
WHAT THEY SAID
Birmingham City skipper Kerys Harrop said: “We have won five of our last six games and what pleases me as a defender is that we are keeping good clean sheets as well. The girls have given it their all, all over the pitch and it really comes down to hard work and a desire to win.
“We created a lot of chances in the first half and dominated the game. We knew Bristol would come out fighting in the second half to try and get back in the game, but we killed off their tempo a little bit and then got the second goal, which was really pleasing.”
Bristol City boss Willie Kirk said: “We had not played for the last five weeks and now we have another three weeks to wait for our next game at home to Liverpool on April 18. In some ways, this was like a standalone game.
“I thought that lack of action showed in our first-half performance, although there was more intensity about our play in the second half and we made Birmingham look uncomfortable at times.
“We were hoping the fact Birmingham had a game last Sunday might have taken a little bit out of their legs, but in fact it seemed to have the opposite effect because they started a lot sharper than we did.”
Sunderland and Everton shared the spoils in a close-fought contest at Mariners Park which ended 1-1.
After neither side seriously threatened in the opening 45 minutes, Everton raced into a second half lead as Danielle Turner powered past Rachael Laws.
But the hosts rallied and earned themselves a point thanks to Lucy Staniforth’s inswinging corner which found its way past Lizzie Durack.
In a first half of few chances, it was Everton who threatened first as Gabby George flicked a free-kick wide and Chloe Kelly dragged a shot past Laws’ post from 25 yards.
Most of the opportunities were coming from range, with Sunderland duo Zaneta Wyne and Bridget Galloway both flashing efforts from distance over Durack’s bar as the opening period ended goalless.
Turner’s opener saw the game burst into life, as George flashed a header wide before Abbey Joice almost levelled for the Black Cats with Durack at full-stretch to deny her after a mazy solo run.
Sunderland wouldn’t have to wait long for an equaliser though, with Staniforth curling the resultant corner over everyone and in via the far post.
Both sides had late chances to win it, with Keira Ramshaw firing into the hands of Durack and Courtney Sweetman-Kirk curling an effort wide of the far post, but neither could find the elusive winner.
WHAT THEY SAID
Sunderland’s goalscorer Lucy Staniforth said: “I think we all feel a bit disappointed that we didn’t get all three points. The game was quite even, although I thought that we were the better team and we just needed to test their goalkeeper a bit more. I’m happy with the point, but I would have liked three.
“It’s quite funny because I’ve scored a few corners now and it’s becoming a bit of a speciality. It’s great to score another goal and it’s just a shame we couldn’t get all three points.
“I was gutted we conceded so early in the second half, especially after we’d just said in the changing room that we needed to be defensively tight.
“We felt we had a point to prove after losing to Everton earlier this season. We weren’t at our best that game and we were disappointed with ourselves and let the fans down. It’s something we wanted to put right tonight and we’re one step closer to that.”
Everton skipper Danielle Turner added: “I think it was a fairly even game in the first half. We got an early goal in the second half and I thought we were on top and gained confidence, but then we conceded an unfortunate goal. We’re disappointed with the result, but it’s an improvement on Sunday’s performance which is a positive.
“I’m on a bit of a goalscoring run which is pleasing personally and I seem to like scoring against Sunderland because that’s my third now! We got our tails up after that goal and confidence was high but when we conceded the goal we needed to find a way to get back on top. Maybe we didn’t do that as well as we could have.
“It was a quick turnaround from Sunday and there was probably tired legs on both sides. Even though it was an emphatic scoreline against Durham we weren’t pleased with the performance, so today is something we can take forward.”
Reading eased to a comfortable 3-0 win over Yeovil Town at Adams Park.
Goals either side of half-time from Remi Allen and Lauren Bruton plus a late header from Kirsty Linnett secured all three points for the Royals.
The win helped the home side keep in touch with the top five in FA Women’s Super League 1, with just two points separating them from Liverpool.
Despite dominating the game from the start, the Royals almost went behind after seven minutes when Yeovil’s Nicola Cousins’ 35-yard chipped effort hit the bar.
Reading won a penalty just after the half-hour mark when Brooke Chaplen was brought down by Megan Walsh, but after picking herself up off the floor, her penalty was easily saved by Walsh.
Despite a brief rally from Yeovil, Reading broke the deadlock just before the break. Bruton collected the ball and raced to the byline before firing in a low cross, which was bundled home by Allen.
Bruton’s composed finish doubled the hosts’ lead after the break, before substitute Kirsty Linnett headed in Allen’s cross for the third on 78 minutes.
WHAT THEY SAID
Reading’s Remi Allen said: “That was a very pleasing performance. The main aim was to always get the three points, but we’ve also kept a clean sheet which is always pleasing, and we’ve also scored three goals and probably could have had more as well.
“Personally, it’s really nice to get on the score sheet, the disallowed offside goal was disappointing but I’m just pleased to be on the scoresheet.
“But we all played well and it was a good team performance. The momentum and the confidence is there now particularly after a good result against Chelsea earlier in the week.
“I thought our set plays were really good. We always work hard on them in the week and today we mixed it up and tried to different things, and the third goal came from that so that’s really pleasing.”
Yeovil Town skipper Megan Walsh said: “I thought in the first half we gave a good account of ourselves and were defending well but there’s been some sloppy errors and that’s what it comes down to at the end of the day.
“It’s really disappointing, we had a game plan but there’s been some individual errors and it’s cost us.
“I’m pleased with the penalty save and a few others I made but it’s a team performance and the only thing that really matters is the result, so we are disappointed with that.
“We have to look at the positives and try and keep our confidence and morale up. We are getting better, our performances are getting better. We aren’t that bothered about the results as long as we continue to get better and we are doing that.”
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