WSL 2 Week Two round-up: Durham maintain top spot, Everton keep up the pressure

Durham and Everton look to be the two sides that can really push for promotion this year, given early season performances.

WSL 2 Week Two round-up: Durham maintain top spot, Everton keep up the pressure
Credit: Susan Gutteridge

After another round of WSL2 match-ups, it continues to look tight at the business end of the table.

Sheffield undone by two Villainous set pieces

Sheffield were hoping to turn resilience into points against a tricky Aston Villa. Even though Sheffield saw more of the ball it was Aston Villa who struck first, Katie Wilkinson turned the ball into the net after Julia Draycott saved off the line at a corner.

A Hannah Cain strike from the edge of the area proved too hot for Jessica Myers to handle as she couldn’t keep the ball out for the equaliser. However, Villa were victorious after Wilkinson mirrored her first goal with a second, thumping the ball into the net as the defender cleared the first effort at a corner off the line straight at the alert striker.

The hotly contested game saw Villa move up to second in WSL2 overnight, dropping to fourth at the end of the weekend; Sheffield are still yet to win this season.

Goal rout in Abingdon

Durham travelled to Oxford’s Northcourt home looking to continue their perfect start to the season.

To say the game got off to a quick start would be an understatement, three goals scored in the first ten minutes set the tone for the fast-paced attack-heavy day. Sarah McFadden opened the scoring two minutes into the game, tapping home at a Beth Hepple corner; the visitors added a quick second through Nicki Gears, the attacker went on a fierce run down the left and calmly slotted past Demi Lambourne.

At the other end, Ini Umotong brought Oxford back into the game, winning a loose ball and finishing with ease past Helen Alderson. The fourth goal of the game came in first half stoppage time. Nat Gutteridge nabbed her first of the season, heading the ball into the net from close range, Gears getting the plaudits for her superb cross into the box.

And of course it just wouldn’t be a Durham game without a Beth Hepple goal (or two); the prolific midfielder adding a fourth for her side with a tap-in from a Gears through ball.

Hepple on hand, once more, made it five for the Wildcats - beating the offside trap - latching onto Gutteridge’s through ball and chipping Lambourne to round off a game the young 'keeper would like to forget in a hurry. Three wins from three for Durham, Oxford still hunting their first points of the campaign.

Déjà vu for the Lady Hornets

Last time the two sides met Everton had cruised to a comfortable 3-0 win in Widnes, Watford travelled to the North West hoping for better fortunes this time around. After an early effort from Simone Magill had been ruled out for offside, Everton finally got the goal they needed to settle them down. Claudia Walker with a tap-in after her first-time shot had been blocked on the line and come straight back to her.

The hosts carried their one goal lead into the break. After the restart it took no more than eleven seconds for Everton to double their lead; Danielle Turner curled a fine strike straight into the top right corner. The Blues capitalised on a shocked Watford side, with Magill adding a third a few minutes later. The Lady Hornets managed to rally but by that point it was too late and ultimately couldn’t get the better of Kristie Levell in the Everton goal.

Everton have now netted nine times against Watford, three in each of their three games; Watford will hope to change their fortunes next time the two sides meet in late June.

Sawyer makes it two | Credit: Stephen Pond/Getty Images
Sawyer makes it two | Credit: Stephen Pond/Getty Images

Bristol buzzing after second Half at the Hive

After a fairly open first half Bristol came storming out for the second half but the Bees remained firm in their defence until after the hour mark; Willie Kirk used his bench expertly, and the Vixens notched three times inside of ten minutes.

The deadlock was broken with a small slice of luck, Chloe Arthur’s wide effort going in off the woodwork. The second goal followed quickly after; substitute Paige Sawyer finished from a Jodie Brett cross. Oliva Fergusson added a quick third, charging down the right and cutting into the box, one-on-one with Sophie Harris and coolly slotting past the 'keeper.

The win keeps Bristol level on both points and goal difference with second-placed Everton and the Vixens still hopeful of boomeranging back into WSL1. The result leaves the Bees still searching for their first win of the season. Dave Edmondson knows his team desperately need to work on their finishing.

Woodwork still shaking at Huish Park

Yeovil, hoping to make Huish Park a happy new home, welcomed Millwall who were looking to continue their unbeaten start to the season.

The two sides were fairly evenly matched throughout although arguably the Lady Glovers just edged their opponents, but both will rue missed opportunities. Nadia Lawrence had an early disallowed goal as the home side looked more likely to open the scoring. However, it was Millwall who took the advantage into the break. Fliss Gibbons’ looping header beat Charlotte Haynes following a free kick just before half-time.

Jamie Sherwood would have been ready to tear his hair out in the second half as Yeovil struck the woodwork four times in ten minutes. First Nicola Cousins’ header rebounded off of the bar, five minutes later Annie Heatherson also struck the bar and a minute later Sarah Wiltshire curled one against the post, before cracking a free-kick off of the crossbar too.

Millwall rode their luck but Yeovil’s persistence paid off; Wiltshire powered the ball into the roof of the net after receiving a cross from Helen Bleazard. Both sides went at it hammer and tong, the hosts once again having a goal disallowed as Heatherson’s late effort was comfortably offside. Neither team could find the winning goal and both had to settle for a point. The two meet again in just six days’ time, the Den setting the scene for Round 2.