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Everton 3 (Hinnigan 39, Kane 62, Duggan 83) Arsenal 1 (Little 3)
Three stunning strikes gave Everton a crucial victory over fellow title chasers Arsenal in an entertaining encounter on Merseyside.
Keen to keep up the pressure on table toppers Birmingham, the Gunners were quicker out of the traps in this second-against-third battle.
They took the lead on three minutes when Everton defender Amy Kane underhit a back pass and Eilen White nipped into round 'keeper Rachel Brown and score.
It was a nightmare start for the home side, who knew that defeat would severely dent their championship hopes.
Buoyed by the dream start, Arsenal pressed on and almost added a second on five minutes, when Little cleverly headed at goal from Rachel Yankey's low cross, only to be denied by a terrific Brown save.
The visitors looked on top form going forward with wingers Yankey and Danielle Carter proving too hot to handle for the Everton defence. It took 25 minutes for the tide to change, as the Toffees went close with two set pieces - first a close range Jill Scott header that went narrowly wide of the target and then a Rachel Unitt free kick from 20 yards out that hit the wall.
The chances inspired the Merseysiders to kick on, and after going close twice more, they finally made their new-found confidence pay.
With seven minutes left to the break, Michelle Hinnigan picked up possesion 25 yards out on the right wing and chipped in a floated cross that seemed to wrong foot Arsenal stopper Emma Byrne and looped into the top corner of the net.
It was Everton who rose to the challenge after the break with Natasha Dowie volleying a shot narrowly over the bar from a central position on the edge of the area.
The breakneck speed of the game dropped a little until the 62nd minute when a moment of brilliance clinched all three points for Everton.
After an admirable show of persistence for possession out on the left wing, deep in Arsenal's half, Toni Duggan won a throw and, after a superb lay off from Hinnigan, Kane made amends for her earlier error by smashing a superb half volley from the edge of the area past Byrne to put Everton in front for the first time.
Duggan, who chased the visitors' back line all game, was rewarded for her effort with seven minutes left on the clock when she added a third for Everton, battering a home a well timed shot from inside the area.
Duggan should have made it four in stoppage time when she hit a shot against a post from just two yards. But by then the points were sealed, and Everton will now be hoping to maintain the momentum in their next match at Birmingham.
Everton: Rachel Brown, Becky Easton (sub Lucy Bronze 84mins), Rachel Unitt, Amy Kane, Fern Whelan, Lindsay Johnson, Gwennan Harries, Jill Scott, Natasha Dowie (sub Jodie Handley 89mins), Toni Duggan, Michelle Hinnigan (sub Brooke Chaplen 89mins).
Arsenal: Emma Byrne, Steph Houghton, Niamh Fahey, Katie Chapman, Gilly Flaherty, Ciara Grant, Danielle Carter (sub Julie Fleeting 84mins), Jordan Nobbs, Ellen White, Kim Little (sub Jennifer Beattie 84mins), Rachel Yankey (sub Jayne Ludlow 55mins).
(Report by www.TheFA.com)
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