It was a big weekend at the top and bottom of WSL 2, with the gap beginning to widen at the summit.
Looking to avenge their recent defeat in the reverse fixture Everton got off to a dream start after Millie Turner headed the home side ahead at a Michelle Hinnigan corner twenty minutes in but the goal only served to spark their opponents into life. Despite two good chances to even the game up Everton took their advantage into the break but couldn’t hold onto it for more than two minutes after the restart as Liverpool loanee Hannah Dale finished off a team goal to even the scores.
Both teams went all out for the win and both saw good chances fly narrowly wide before Carla Ward cleared a Hinnigan effort off of the line, but neither could add to the scoreline and walk away with a hard earned point. The draw sees Everton lose more ground on the top two, despite having games in hand as Sheffield stretch their unbeaten run to six.
The Vixens lead early on after Chloe Arthur’s cut back found Claire Emslie for the Summer signing to fire at goal, with Chelsea loanee Jodie Brett getting the final touch before the ball came to a stop in the back of the net. Bristol dominated proceedings and easily could have had a stronger advantage going into the break against an improving Millwall.
As the match wore on the Lionesses grew into the game more and more and it wasn’t a surprise when substitute Rinsola Babajide restored parity however the visitors hit right back and it only took three minutes for them to regain their lead. Emslie once again involved as she struck a thunderbolt past Grace Taylor and into the bottom corner. Despite a frenzied final twenty minutes Bristol held onto their lead to keep their promotion hopes alive.
With both teams fresh off the back of defeats it took a while for the game to start flowing but the hosts settled into an easy rhythm and started to dictate play as Beth Hepple opened the scoring after getting the final touch on a Becky Salicki free kick. With Durham well on top for the rest of the half, the Wildcats were unlucky not to make it two before the break as Hepple saw her shot parried into Jordan Atkinson’s path for her to hit her effort against the post and Emily Robert’s follow-up effort blocked on the line.
Although Watford have struggled through a number of games this season they’ve shown glimpses of a talented team since the restart and after their loss to Aston Villa last week many would have expected them to step up after the break, but it wasn’t to be and Durham continued to run the show. Ten minutes after the restart Durham finally had a second goal that had been threatening for some time, Emily Roberts opened her account for the Wildcats after a mazy run before beating Lucy Gillett with ease.
Durham’s third came through Hepple, the midfield magician picked up the ball on the edge of the box before unleashing a curler to beat Gillett. It easily could have been more than three with Durham hitting the woodwork a total of three times throughout but a commanding performance from the hosts, for Watford it’s back to the drawing board.
Glovers back top - Aston Villa 0-2 Yeovil Town
Keen to regain top-spot from Bristol, Yeovil got off to a dream start when Hannah Short converted a Helen Bleazard corner less than five minutes in as the Lady Glovers looked to set the pace in the match. Although Villa struggled in the opening exchanges loanee goalkeeper Grace Moloney continued her fine form to keep the visitors out.
It was business as usual after the restart when Annie Heatherson was on hand to poke home after Moloney had dealt with Bleazard's initial effort, although the Glovers continued to threaten Villa did well to keep them out whilst trying to carve out their own chances.
Manic ten minutes in Abingdon - Oxford United 4-2 London Bees
After a slow start a frantic ten minutes saw four goals just after the half-hour. Ini Umotong was the one to get the ball rolling, as she nicked the last touch off of a Rosie Lane cross at the far post. The Bees restored parity six minutes later when Eva Popadinova fired low into the far corner to beat Demi Lambourne but the U’s were back in front immediately as Ellie Noble found the bottom corner at the opposite end.
But the action didn’t stop then as just two minutes later the U’s were celebrating once more, all credit to Ella Franklin-Fraiture to send Lauren Allison on her way, the striker always favourite one-on-one. The tempo didn't slow after the restart and the visitors reduced the deficite back to one inside of ten minutes when Popadinova rounded Lambourne to slot home but Umotong re-opened the gap five minutes later in much the same fashion, carrying the ball around the keeper before rolling into the empty net.
Both sides went hammer and tong but neither could add another in front of Oxford's record crowd (1,211). The win comes as a welcome respite for Les Taylor's U's who've struggled for points this season as the Bees sink to another defeat but a much improved performance.