Open game fails to find a goal
With little more than pride and a strong finish at stake both team were willing to give their all on the last game of this season, the game starting wide open, the hosts with more of the ball in the opening minutes. With the Everton defence as regimented as ever chances were at a premium for the Bees who got forward in numbers, leaving themselves exposed on the counter, the Blue Girls more adapt at carving their opposition open.
With the ball constantly being recycled n midfield there was plenty to watch but little to say as both looked for half chances, thwarted by resilient defenders. Everton’s best chance coming at the mid-way point as Michelle Hinnigan volleyed Rosella Ayane’s free kick back goalwards after Emma Beckett had half cleared with a firm header.
The Blue Girls looking more likely to find the opener but less composed as Emily Hollinshead fired wide from distance. The Bees nearly with a sight of goal as Sophie Fogarty launched a ball goalwards, Kirstie Levell’s handling questionable as she spilt her claim before snatching the ball back away from the closing orange shirts.
There was nothing to separate the two, Everton had found the front foot but the Bees finished the first-half as they started it, trying to test out Levell but the Blues backline stood firm, throwing in a number of key challenges and blocks.
After a long and fragmented season you could see both sides were feeling the effects, players clearly not 100% starting as both teams named bare benches. Both home and away possessed a threat but neither were able to really harness themselves, expecting more chances and openings in the second-half as inevitable fatigue would begin to take hold.
Second half makes up for the lack of goals
Both teams started the second-half with a half chance, Evie Clarke’s wide header the culmination of some determined play from the hosts before Danielle Turner flashed a ball across the box, no one able to connect as it slipped just wide of the post. Hollinshead’s lashed effort on hour kept Sophie Harris honest as she dived to make the block, spilling the ball but happy to see it hoofed clear by Beckett.
An uncharacteristic lapse at the back gifted the hosts the opening goal, Jo Wilson racing beyond the backline and first to the ball before Levell. The keeper caught out well off of her line, the centre backs unable to drop back quick enough as Wilson rolled the ball into the empty net. Everton were quick to try to restore partty as Claudia Walker raced onto a long ball through the middle, Harris to a fine save before being caught out with another block, Walker able to prod the ball past the downed keeper.
Once again the visitors looked the more likely to go ahead but a break from the Bees and a superb curled effort from Wilson twenty yards out left Levell helpless. Wilson was left to wheel away in celebration moments later after completing her hat trick, cutting through the defence again before finishing low into the far corner.
But the goals didn’t stop there and Dan Turner cut the difference back down to one just two minutes later with a bullet header following an inch perfect cross from Vicky Jones. The visitors back on terms after Ellie Stewart’s arrowed free kick slipped underneath Harris, at full stretch.
The game turned on its’ head after a melee in the box, Turner’s fine work to keep the ball alive paid dividends as Walker’s lashed shot slammed against the bar and back into the fray, with shots and blocks coming in left right and centre it was a coin toss as to who would get the last touch. An Everton boot the last one the ball before it nipped beyond the line and into the back of the net.
The game was far from a classic, the season and conditions taking their toll but both teams could hold their heads high after a hard-fought game, Everton’s win hollow with no hopes of promotion and the Bees slipping down one position on the table in a season that can’t be considered anything other than a success.