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Everton 2 (Duggan 46, Harries 84) Chelsea 1 (Martin 90)
Everton keep hold of second place following a hard earned 2-1 victory over Chelsea at the Arriva Stadium.
The first half was goalless with Everton having the better of the chances, Carly Telford doing well to make a smothering save to prevent Natasha Dowie giving her side the lead. However Chelsea also looked sharp going forward and, following a good run, Dunia Susi forced a stop from Rachel Brown with a low shot.
Everton were handed a great opportunity to go in front four minutes before the interval as Kylie Davies was penalised for a foul in the area on Dowie. Fara Williams stepped up to take the resulting penalty but for once the England midfielder could not find the net from the spot, Telford saving her kick.
In the opening minute of the second half though, Everton took the lead. Toni Duggan, called up to the England squad this week, celebrated in style by firing home a stunning 25-yard strike which gave Telford no chance after a Jill Scott cross had been cleared.
Nikita Parris almost made an instant impact after coming on as a second half substitute but her shot came back off the woodwork after she had made a powerful run into the area.
Everton were dealt a blow as Rachel Brown went off with an injury following a collision with Adriana Martin and replacement Danielle Hill was called into action as she made saves from Sophie Perry and Martin. At the other end, a goalmouth scramble following a corner almost led to Everton extending their lead but Claire Rafferty was on hand to make a goal line clearance.
With six minutes remaining, Everton grabbed the second goal they craved when Gwennan Harries scored her second goal in three matches via a 20-yard drive which found the bottom corner of the net.
Chelsea did not give up and pulled a goal back in the third minute of injury time when Martin followed up to score after Drew Spence's initial shot had hit the post. However time ran out for them to try and grab an equaliser and Everton therefore stay one point ahead of Birmingham, who still have a game in hand.
Everton: Rachel Brown (sub Danielle Hill 67mins), Becky Easton, Brooke Chaplen, Fara Williams, Lucy Bronze, Lindsay Johnson, Gwennan Harries, Jill Scott, Natasha Dowie (sub Nikita Parris 72mins), Michelle Hinnigan, Toni Duggan. Subs not used: Jody Handley, Eartha Pond, Amy Kane.
Chelsea: Carly Telford, Sophie Ingle (sub Kate Longhurst 54mins), Claire Rafferty, Laura Coombs (sub Drew Spence 80mins), Gemma Bonner, Kylie Davies, Helen Bleazard (sub Sophie Perry 80mins), Danielle Buet, Adriana Martin, Helen Lander, Dunia Susi. Sub not used: Lara Fay.
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