It was a good day for the homes team as Everton, Manchester City, Chelsea and Birmingham City all prevailed on familiar turf with Brighton the only side to fall at home.
Newly installed as coach after the departure of Andy Spence, Willie Kirk got his Everton career off to a dream start with a derby win over an ailing Liverpool side. Inessa Kaagman’s first half strike gave the hosts the lead as she let rip from 25-yards before the Reds pulled one back at an uncleared corner, Courtney Sweetman-Kirk’s effort parried at Jess Clarke’s feet for the winger to fire home.
Regaining the lead in fine fashion, Simone Magill picked up from where Kaagman left off, picking out the top left corner from outside the box with ease. The two belters enough for all three points in Southport and their first win of the season.
Georgia Stanway grabbed the headlines as the Citizens put an end to Arsenal’s winning run at the CFA. Having returned to fitness after a lengthy spell out, Demi Stokes reminded the City faithful of just how important she is as she teed up Stanway for the first of the afternoon. With Arsenal fashioning a rash of chances, Ellie Roebuck did well to keep the visitors out when they tested her reflexes before Stanway hit the Gunners with the killer blow. Turning Lia Wälti in knots before evading Louise Quinn, the teenager picked her spot in the bottom left corner to leave Pauline Peyraud-Magnin grasping at the air.
The goal enough to see Arsenal off, reducing the gap at the top to three points.
Having the lion’s share of the chances, it was the Irons who took the lead after the hour when Julia Simic’s dinked cross was flicked home by Jane Ross, the Scot taking her tally up to three goals for the season. The goal enough for West Ham’s fourth win of the season, taking them up to sixth as the Seagulls continue to toil at the bottom, a point clear of bottom-placed Yeovil.
With the current champions having conceded that their slow start to the season has left their chances of retaining their title as slim to none, they continued their resurgence, picking up their fifth win of the season, leapfrogging the Royals in the process. After a close first half, it was the hosts who struck as Ji So-yun raced into the box to get on the end of Ramona Bachmann’s lay-off, the South Korean attacker fending off the defence with ease as she found the back of the net. The lone goal enough for full marks at Kingsmeadow.
Stretching their winning run to three, the Blues navigated some last minute nervous moments to claim maximum points. A goal to the good after the break when Lucy Staniforth cut in and poked the ball beyond Megan Walsh, Charlie Wellings doubled the advantage late in the game to leave the Glovers with little room for a comeback. Digging in, the visitors pulled a goal back in the last knockings when Emily Syme pinged a parried effort into the back of the net before Nicola Cousins had her shot cleared off of the line.