Shannon O'Brien

The Toffees Take Three Points As Foxes Fall To WSL Reverse

Everton came out on top in a pulsating but controversial Barclays FA Women's Super League encounter with LCFC Women, winning 3-2 at Walton Hall Park on Saturday.

Two Foxes changes from defeat at Manchester United saw Sophie Harris replace Demi Lambourne in goal to make her WSL debut and Ashleigh Plumptre return from illness to slot back into the defence. Sophie Barker made way, with Abbie McManus named as captain.

In extremely windy conditions on Merseyside, Leicester managed to fashion the perfect start inside five minutes when Natasha Flint got control of possession, teeing up Jemma Purfield, who turned on the edge of the box before firing into the bottom corner with her trusted left foot.

The Toffees, meanwhile, were restricted to long-range efforts in the opening stages, with Kenza Dali shooting over from distance and Hanna Bennison curling a wind-assisted free-kick narrowly wide.

Bennison then had another strike saved by league debutant Harris, who collected at the second attempt.

City still looked lively in attack as Freya Gregory cut inside and saw her left-footed attempt flash past the upright, as did Toffees skipper Izzy Christensen at the other end from Anna Anvegard’s knock down.

Shortly after the half-hour mark, the hosts had their equaliser. Anvegard robbed Plumptre of possession, feeding Toni Duggan, who looked to be in an offside position, but the flag stayed down and she rounded Harris before slotting the ball into the net.

With a sense of injustice behind them, the visitors were eager to regain the lead and Gregory soon curled wide on the half volley from Purfield’s free-kick.

However, in a carbon copy of the first Everton goal, Anvegard snatched the ball off Plumptre high up the pitch, but this time was able to bend it past Harris herself to turn the game on its head with five minutes to go until the break.  

Chris Roberts’ side might have gone either further ahead had Duggan converted a cross from the wing, but it was the Foxes who drew level on the stroke of half-time. Plumptre flicked on Purfield’s free-kick and Sam Tierney bravely put her body on the line to head home.

There was still time for Harris to be called into action once more before the whistle blew for the interval as she scrambled back to tip a header onto the bar, but it remained all square at the break.

Seven minutes into the second period, Everton scored what proved to be the winner. The ball was played into the area and arrived at Anvegard’s feet, who flicked it past Harris from close range. The offside flag was subsequently raised by the assistant, but referee Kirsty Dowle then awarded the goal, much to City’s frustration.

Chances kept coming at both ends - Molly Pike slid onto a loose ball, shooting wide against her former club, while Harris palmed away Dali’s fierce attempt.

Both of the Leicester goalscorers came close to notching a brace in the second half, with Purfield striking over from all of 30 yards out, shortly before Tierney ghosted into the box, but Sandy MacIver held on to her flicked effort.

Bennison’s latest shot was not able to trouble Harris, while the Everton shot-stopper continued to be kept busy. Flint raced onto a cross-field pass from Purfield, getting the ball under control and finding the England ‘keeper equal to her low effort.

The forward took aim with her left foot twice more in quick succession, each comfortable for MacIver to handle, ahead of Pike firing wide with a first-time strike that span away from goal.

With the Foxes pushing forward with greater intensity, there was always the chance of a fourth for Everton, but Anvegard could not complete her hat-trick, firing off target late on.

As the clock ticked down, Lydia Bedford decided to bring on Georgia Brougham for Gregory, moving Sophie Howard into a forward position, but during added time she was unable to get on the end of Flint’s low cross, in what was the Foxes’ final opportunity.

Major moment…   

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LCFC Women

A bright start from the visitors led to the first goal from Jemma Purfield.

The result hinged on the fifth goal, which went Everton’s way early in the second half, though Leicester will feel aggrieved with the decision after getting themselves back on level terms ahead of the break. 

Who impressed?

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Jemma Purfield

The defender scored her second for the Club to hand Leicester an early advantage.

Wing-back Jemma Purfield was at the heart of both of City’s goals, netting the first before providing the delivery for an important second, though it was ultimately not enough to take anything from the game.

Where do we stand?

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Sam Tierney & Shannon O'Brien

Sam Tierney found City's second ahead of half-time.

City remain 11th in the Barclays FA Women’s Super League having collected 12 points from 17 games, with Everton moving five points ahead and up to ninth.

Coming up… 

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LCFC Women

The Foxes must now pick themselves up to go again in a fortnight's time.

City have to wait two weeks until their next Barclays FA Women’s Super League fixture, hosting Chelsea at King Power Stadium on Sunday 27 March (3pm kick-off).

The details…

 

City: Harris; Howard, McManus (C), Plumptre; De Graaf, Tierney, Pike, Purfield; O’Brien, Flint, Gregory (Brougham 84’).

Subs not used: Middleton-Patel, Bastock, Barker, Robinson, Boddy, Devlin, Goodwin, Bailey-Gayle.

Goals: Purfield 5’, Tierney 45’.

All times GMT.

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