There wasn’t a want for goals this weekend as the top three all picked up wins, the impressive Arsenal claiming one of the most unexpected scores of the season with a rolloping of Chelsea after Manchester City hit West Ham for seven. Elsewhere Everton and Brighton split a six-goal match down the middle as Liverpool left it late against Yeovil and Birmingham squeezed past Bristol.
Once again, proving to be far more profitable in the second half, Manchester City blew the Irons out of the water at the CFA to give their title chase new legs. A goal to the good inside of two minutes thanks to a sublime Caroline Weir half-volley, the hosts doubled their lead with a flicked header from Nikita Parris. Tucking her second of the match away, the in-form striker made it three ten minutes later, slipping the ball around Becky Spencer and into the open net.
Having a stormer, Parris was involved in the fourth of the day after the break, setting up Georgia Stanway for the substitute to slot home from close range. Four became five just four minutes later, Weir involved again, this time with a free kick that found Steph Houghton’s head. Jinking through the box to dispose of her markers, Stanway added a surprising sixth ten minutes from time just before Esmee de Graaf found a way past Ellie Roebuck at the other end.
Not to be outdone, the hosts added a seventh and final goal a handful of minutes later, Parris again involved, this time teeing up Tessa Wullaert for the Belgian to find a way through Spencer with a bizarre goal.
Off of the mark half-way through the first half when Kim Little hammered a penalty home, the Gunners never looked like slowing down at Kingsmeadow. Showing more bite in attack with a goal in their pocket, the visitors added a second just before the break when Vivianne Miedema slotted the ball into the far corner.
The match went from bad to worse for Chelsea after the break, despite a strong showing in the opening minutes the hosts soon conceded a third. A slice luck for Arsenal as Jordan Nobbs’ cross slid off of the top of her boot and cut over the box before dropping behind Carly Telford into the net. Three fast became four, then five when Miedema, soon followed by Nobbs’ closed out her brace.
With the goals not just reserved for those at the top of the table, Everton and Brighton played out an engrossing draw in Southport. With a goal advantage three minutes in thanks to a super strike from range from Dani Buet, the visitors were soon pegged back as Inessa Kaagman mopped up after some poor defending to find the back of the net.
From there on it was one-way traffic with the Toffees taking the lead through a Gabby George header on the stroke of half-time before Chloe Kelly made it three in the second half after being found in acres of space in the box. Down but not out, the Seagulls found a way back into the match five minutes later, Ellie Brazil’s header catching Kirstie Levell out at the near post. From almost exactly the same spot, Brazil nodded a subsequent set-piece into the back of the net three minutes later to claim Brighton’s first point of the season.
Liverpool 2-1 Yeovil Town
Looking like she’s back to her vintage best, Jess Clarke was instrumental as the Reds picked up their second win of the season. Racing off down the right, the winger perfectly fed the ball into the box for Kirsty Linnett to slip home 18 minutes in. Down for just ten minutes, Yeovil continued to show their development as they levelled the scores, Annie Heatherson’s deft touch enough to take the ball over Fran Kitching.
Heading towards their first point of the year – thanks in no small part to the ever-reliable Megan Walsh – the Glovers were hit late as Clarke’s deflected goal wrong-footed Walsh in the last knockings.
Aoife Mannion was the headline grabber when the Blues came up against a resurgent Bristol side. Denied just after the half hour from the spot by Sophie Baggaley, the defender came up trumps to find a breakthrough 15 minutes from time. Taking aim from 30-yards, Mannion unleashed a thunderbolt, her shot dropping perfect just under the bar to give Birmingham all three points and keep them in an advantageous position.