Arsenal eventually saw off West Ham 4-3, Manchester City rescued a draw against Bristol City, Everton held Chelsea, while there were 1-0 away wins for Birmingham City and Liverpool.
FA WSL results from Sunday 23rd September 2018
Brighton & Hove Albion 0-1 Liverpool (Att: 443)
Arsenal 4-3 West Ham United
Everton 0-0 Chelsea (Att: 213)
Manchester City 2-2 Bristol City (Att: 1,338)
Reading 0-1 Birmingham City (Att: 639)
Gunners edge Hammers in seven-goal thriller
Danielle van de Donk twice equalised for Arsenal before completing a treble in a 4-3 result at home to West Ham.
West Ham threatened a win at morning leaders Arsenal when Kate Longhurst headed home on 9 minutes, Brianna Visalli and Alisha Lehmann having combined to set up the chance.
Although Van de Donk soon replied for the Gunners when heading in a corner, Longhurst had the Hammers back ahead on 17 minutes when following up Leanne Kiernan’s effort which Pauline Peyraud-Magnin had parried.
It was 2-2 on 41 minutes as Van de Donk was on target again, Emma Mitchell marking her 100th appearance for Arsenal with the assist.
Approaching the midway point of the second period, Van de Donk completed her hat-trick when first to react to a bouncing ball in the box.
Kim Little then seemed to have confirmed an Arsenal victory when making it 4-2 with a powerful strike from the edge of the area, however a rare goal from Clare Rafferty pegged the Gunners back for a tense finale.
Late double sees Cityzens deny Vixens victory
Manchester City needed two goals in the last 8 minutes to deny Bristol City what would have been a famous win at the Academy Stadium.
Bristol City took a shock lead via Ella Rutherford’s free kick, which came back off the bar and was buried by Danique Kerkdijk.
Sophie Baggaley did well to deny Nadia Nadim and later Caroline Weir, while Tessa Wullaert saw her effort deflected over the top as the Cityzens sought to get back on level terms.
The Vixens’ custodian was involved again to divert a Keira Walsh curler from the top corner and turn another from Nadim attempt round the post.
They then had a two-goal cushion 4 minutes after the restart when Juliette Kemppi dispossessed Karen Bardsley way out of her box and lobbed the back-tracking keeper from distance.
The hosts were given hope when Nikita Parris won and put away an 82nd-minute penalty, after which Steph Houghton broke Bristol hearts with a great strike from beyond the corner of the box.
Third straight goalless draw for Chelsea
Everton battled to a point from a 0-0 draw against Chelsea, the reigning champions’ third such scoreline at the start of the new campaign.
Home goalie Kirstie Levell turned away an angled free kick from Jonna Andersson and also caught a Drew Spence header, as Chelsea struggled to create many chances.
It was a livelier start to the second half for the visitors but Ramona Bachmann’s shot was saved and then Carly Telford only just did enough to stop a strike from Inessa Kaagman crossing the Chelsea goal-line.
Simone Magill rode two tackles before forcing a fine stop out of Telford but the depleted Toffees then lost Hannah Cain, who was stretchered off following an innocuous looking tackle.
Sophie Ingle got away a shot which was kept out by Levell, whose opposite number then had to bundle a Kaagman set-piece round the upright.
Adelina Engman just shot over the angle from Fran Kirby’s lay off but then Magda Ericsson stopped Taylor Hinds from possibly netting for Everton.
Spence headed onto the top off the crossbar and also set up Kirby who put a great opportunity wide, as Emma Hayes side drew another blank.
Three in a row for Birmingham
An early goal was enough to give Birmingham City the points at Reading, as they extended their perfect start to the season with a third win on the trot.
Meghan Sargeant gave City a seventh-minute lead when finishing off a Paige Williams ball into the box.
Charlie Wellings sent Emma Follis through on the Royals’ goal but a heavy touch saw the chance go, before Lucy Staniforth’s back heel found Wellings but she shot straight at Grace Moloney.
Ann-Katrin Berger blocked Brooke Chaplen’s shot with her legs to prevent a Reading equaliser and in the second half she pulled off a brilliant double save to keep out shots from Lauren Bruton and Chaplen.
Follis had three more attempts to seal the match when one-on-one with the keeper but couldn’t find the back of the net.
Super-sub Rinsola secures Reds’ first points
Substitute Rinsola Babajide scored in the 85th minute as Liverpool won by the only goal of the game at Brighton, thereby getting her side off the mark in Vicky Jepson’s first game in temporary charge.
Liverpool goalkeeper Anka Preuss did well to keep out Brighton twice in a three-minute spell close to the hour mark, taking a stinging effort from Kirsty Barton and then off her line to deny a thumping strike from Kayleigh Green, who had been played through by Aileen Whelan.
With 5 minutes to go, Babajide took aim from the edge of the area after exchanging passes with Courtney Sweetman-Kirk and her shot was out of reach of keeper Lucy Gillett.
Albion still had chances to level but Green’s header was over the bar and Danielle Buet’s shot on the turn 8 yards out lacked a decent connection.