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Bristol Academy 0 Everton 2 (Dowie 61, Whelan 79)
Everton kept their slim FA WSL title hopes alive as two second half goals earned them three valuable points at Stoke Gifford.
The Toffees were worthy of their victory as they followed up a disappointing first half by creating a number of chances after the break which also included a saved penalty.
The game started at a fast pace and it took a smart save from Siobhan Chamberlain to keep out a shot on the turn by Natasha Dowie after Jill Scott had nodded down a Jody Handley cross into her path.
Academy hit back with Corinne Yorston curling a free kick just wide of the far post and another set piece gave them an opportunity five minutes later. Jemma Rose could not repeat her heroics of seven days earlier though and her free kick was turned around the post at full stretch by Danielle Hill.
There was a scare for the home side at the other end as Dowie chased down a loose backpass and Chamberlain raced off her line to clear as far as Handley, who returned the ball goalwards but Jade Radburn was on hand to clear.
From this point the two sets of defences got firmly on top for the remainder of the half and there were precious few attempts on goal at either end. The Academy forwards, including in-form striker Jessica Fishlock, were virtually starved of service as Everton defended well, with Fern Whelan and Lindsay Johnson particularly strong in the centre, whilst the Everton strikers were similarly shackled by the home defence.
The game needed opening up after the break and Everton were first to create an opportunity as Dowie broke down the right and laid the ball back for Fara Williams, who whipped in a cross for Handley to head straight at Chamberlain.
Everton were handed a great chance to break the deadlock on 58 minutes as Dowie was pushed in the area by Alex Culvin and a penalty was awarded. Williams stepped up but Chamberlain continued her marvellous season to date by diving to save her kick. Dowie and Toni Duggan chased in to try and force home the rebound but only succeeded in bundling the ball wide.
However the penalty miss made Everton more determined and Williams in particular. The England star took control of matters in midfield from that point and the Toffees were in front just three minutes later.
Williams' corner was headed on by Whelan and Dowie held off the attentions of Radburn just beyond the far post before turning a firing a shot which crept over the line despite the efforts of Grace McCatty to clear.
Everton could have been two ahead just two minutes later when Williams played a fine pass to pick out Gwennan Harries on the left. The Welsh international sped forward and drove a low centre across the face of goal but Culvin did just enough with her challenge to prevent Duggan from scoring, the winger sidefooting wide from six yards out.
Academy tried to get back into the game and won a number of corners but could make no impression as Everton stood firm. Indeed it was the visitors who could have gone further ahead as Michelle Hinnigan's pass released Harries on goal but she was denied by a good save from Chamberlain.
However Everton were not to be denied and they took a firm grip on the game with eleven minutes remaining. Another corner, taken by Williams, was floated towards the far post where Whelan rose to power a bullet header past a helpless Chamberlain to put her side two up.
Williams drove a free kick wide as Everton sought more goals whilst a frustrated home side worked hard but were continually let down by their passing. Academy did create a late half chance when Ann Marie Heatherson headed a Helen Bleazard cross wide but it had been a day to forget for her side and three well earned points for Everton.
Bristol Academy: Siobhan Chamberlain, Grace McCatty, Alex Culvin (sub Loren Dykes 63mins), Corinne Yorston, Jade Radburn, Jemma Rose, Lillie Billson (sub Helen Bleazard 63mins), Katie Daley (sub Molly Clark 49mins), Ann Marie Heatherson, Jessica Fishlock, Anouk Hoogendijk. Subs not used: Michelle Green, Jaz Matthews.
Everton: Danielle Hill, Becky Easton, Brooke Chaplen, Fara Williams, Fern Whelan, Lindsay Johnson, Jody Handley (sub Gwennan Harries 58mins), Jill Scott, Natasha Dowie, Amy Kane (sub Michelle Hinnigan 58mins), Toni Duggan. Subs not used: Rachel Brown, Jess Holbrook, Lucy Bronze.
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