In a muted weekend of WSL football, four WSL 2 teams were working their way through their games in hand, Everton kept their promotion hopes alive with a win over rivals, Durham whilst Millwall and Sheffield shared the spoils in South London.
Knowing they have to be faultless in their remaining games, Everton got off to a dream start at New Ferens Park, taking the lead just ten minutes into the game through a neat Gabby George header after captain, Michelle Hinnigan had struck the woodwork at a corner.
Although Durham were doing their best to keep themselves in the game, the visitors looked the more dangerous side and Helen Alderson was bright to keep Joey Johnson’s curler out but there was nothing the experienced keeper could do as Claudia Walker doubled the advantage. With less than half an hour played as the hosts were beginning to find their feet, they were left undone as Walker nodded Johnson’s weighted cross in at the back post.
With their promotion bid beginning to fade away Beth Hepple gave her side some hope as she picked the ball up and sent it rocketing past Kirstie Levell from 30 yards. The game continued at the same pace after the break, Alderson constantly under pressure as the Blue Girls looked to seal the win with no nervy stoppage-time drama.
Johnson was involved again for the visitors, slamming her shot against the bar before Sarah McFadden nodded just wide at the other end. Alderson back under fire as she sprung across goal to keep Ellie Stewart out, before pulling off a fine double-save to keep both Kelly Jones and Claudia Walker out.
The visitors secured the win in stoppage time, just seconds after coming on Lauren Davies left fly with a curler from outside the box to beat Alderson and end Durham’s promotion hopes. A huge game awaits Everton at the end of the month as they host Bristol City aware that nothing but a win will do.
In a tight contest in South London both teams were forced to settle for a point as Ashlee Hincks’ fine second-half lob cancelled out Emma Johnson’s opener.
After Jodie Michalska tore through the backline with the ball the prolific striker could only rattle the woodwork but Johnson did well to follow in and head the rebound past Sarah Quantrill. Michalska struck the bar once more five minutes later, her turn and shoot enough to beat Quantrill but not the woodwork, the bar still shaking when Johnson could only fire her shot straight at the post.
The crossbar Millwall’s best defender in the first-half as it denied the visitors at the resulting corner, keeping Emma Lipman’s header out. Even after changing ends at the break, Sheffield were still being thwarted by the woodwork at the Den, Rhema Lord-Mears the next for her side to come agonisingly close.
Still very much in the tie, Millwall equalised on the hour as Hincks raced onto Rinsola Babajide’s through-ball, spotting Julianna Draycott off of her line the Lionesses captain lifted the ball over the advanced keeper and into the back of the net. With the two sides locked again, it was the host’s turn to crack the bar as Babajide headed Hincks’ corner against the woodwork.
There’s no question Sheffield were unlucky not to make all three points but a point away from home is never a bad thing, for Millwall is another to add to their tally as they look to end the season on a high.