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Everton 1 (Harries 26) Lincoln Ladies 0
A first half goal from Gwennan Harries sealed all three points for Mo Marley's side as Everton recorded their first victory of the season, lifting the Toffees up to fourth in the table.
Last season, Lincoln proved tricky opposition for Everton, avoiding defeat in both league fixtures, one of which halted a five-game winning streak. But despite a close contest at the Arriva Stadium, the Toffees emerged victorious in the latest encounter.
Manager Marley made just one change from the 0-0 draw against Birmingham as Nikita Parris was handed her first league start in place of Jody Handley while the Lincoln line-up remained unaltered from the 1-0 win at Bristol.
The two weeks without action appeared to benefit the hosts, who started the brightest and could have gone ahead inside the opening minute.
Collecting the ball inside a congested box, Toni Duggan adjusted to get her shot low and on target. Lincoln goalkeeper Nicola Hobbs would not have seen it until late, but dived down in time to deny Duggan her third goal of the season.
The Toffees striker was a thorn in the visitors' side all day and came close again six minutes later with a header that just evaded the post with Hobbs rooted to the spot.
On ten minutes, Carla Cantrell could have silenced the home crowd as the Lady Imps striker was played in between two defenders but she fired her shot well over.
Jill Scott must have thought she had given the Blues the lead five minutes later. After Duggan was again denied, the England international collected a poor pass by Hobbs and lobbed the goalkeeper from 40 yards. Cheers broke out in the stand as the ball bounced goalward, but its final contact with the turf set it on course for the post before the visitors gratefully cleared.
The breakthrough came on 26 minutes with Scott playing in Welsh international Gwen Harries. The striker applied an equally neat finish inside the box to put the Blues 1-0 up.
The action then fell rather flat - the pace and trickery of Parris and Lincoln's Jess Clarke consistently lighting up an otherwise scrappy end to the first half.
Lincoln began the second period with a change up front, Precious Hamilton coming on for Megan Harris. After another even and dogged spell, it was the substitute that had the best chance to level the scoring.
Another cutting ball found Hamilton one-on-one with Rachel Brown on 63 minutes, but the former Doncaster and Birmingham forward saw her shot trickle agonisingly wide.
A series of substitutions prevented either side from capitalising on their momentum from half-chances, but as the clock ticked down, Everton looked more likely to score a second than conceding.
Alex Greenwood blocked Clarke's shot before Harries curled late efforts off target. Ultimately, the goalscorer's strike midway through the first half proved enough.
Everton: Rachel Brown, Becky Easton, Amy Kane (sub Brooke Chaplen 76mins), Fara Williams, Alex Greenwood, Lindsay Johnson, Gwennan Harries, Jill Scott, Nikita Parris, Michelle Hinnigan, Toni Duggan. Subs not used: Lucy Bronze, Danielle Hill, Fern Whelan, Eartha Pond, Natasha Dowie, Jody Handley.
Lincoln Ladies: Nicola Hobbs, Sophie Walton, Rachel Daly, Collette McCallum, Casey Stoney (sub Sophie Barker 71mins), Meaghan Sargeant, Megan Harris (sub Precious Hamilton 45mins), Lucy Staniforth, Carla Cantrell (sub Holly Crosby 79mins), Remi Allen, Jess Clarke. Sub not used: Emily Roberts.
(Report by www.TheFA.com)
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