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Bristol Academy 4 (Heatherson 24, Natalia 51, Yorston 76,82)
Everton 3 (Duggan 28, pen 30, Greenwood 79)
Bristol Academy got the better of Everton in a seven-goal thriller at Stoke Gifford in the sides' opening match of the FA WSL season, a match which included a number of stunning goals.
The sides had met just four days earlier in the F.A.Women's Cup quarter finals, with Academy winning 3-2, and this meeting eclipsed the previous one, equalling the highest scoring match in WSL history in the process.
The first opportunity of the match went the way of Bristol Academy captain Corinne Yorston who drove an early free kick over the bar. At the other end, there was a scare for the home side as Siobhan Chamberlain miscued a clearance straight to Brooke Chaplen but the midfielder could not generate enough power in her shot and a relieved Chamberlain was able to gather safely.
Ann Marie Heatherson headed a good chance over and Michelle Hinnigan was off target with a free kick before the game exploded into life.
First Laura Del Rio crossed for Natalia who controlled and looked poised to score but Rachel Brown-Finnis was quick off her line to make a good smothering save. However just three minutes later, Natasha Harding tricked her way to the goal line and cut the ball back for Heatherson to sweep home the opening goal.
The lead lasted four minutes though as Alex Greenwood floated in a corner from the right for an unmarked Toni Duggan to head firmly past Chamberlain for the equaliser.
Before Academy could recover from the setback, they were dealt another one. Jaz Matthews tripped Kelly Jones as she made her way into the area and a penalty was awarded. Duggan stepped up to send Chamberlain the wrong way from the spot for her fourth goal in two games against the home side and Everton were now in front.
With Jill Scott in commanding form in midfield, Everton saw out the half to lead at the interval, restricting Academy's chances to long range efforts. The home side were also forced to make a substitution at the break with Del Rio, who had been clattered early in the game, being replaced by Nikki Watts.
Hinnigan tried her luck early after the restart with a left foot shot which was just over but Academy came up with a rapid and stunning response. There seemed no danger to Everton when Natalia received the ball on the edge of the area with three defenders around her but the Spanish striker spun and crashed a shot in off the underside of the bar to level the scores again.
Another great piece of skill from Natalia led to another chance two minutes later, this time a sublime ball into the path of Heatherson who cut inside a challenge from Vicky Jones before her shot was saved at the near post by Brown-Finnis.
Scott drilled a shot narrowly over at the other end as both sides attacked relentlessly to try and get in front again. Despite the number of goals flying in, the two defences had performed well and chances inside the penalty area were scarce at either end.
However Academy were to get themselves back in front with fourteen minutes left with another magnificent strike. A free kick was half cleared by the Everton defence but only as far as Yorston who fired a powerful 25-yard shot past Brown-Finnis and into the corner of the net to put the home side ahead again.
Three minutes later, Matthews was penalised for a foul on Duggan just outside the area. Up stepped Greenwood to take the free kick and she curled a delightful shot beyond the reach of Chamberlain and into the far top corner for yet another outstanding goal.
Academy were not to be denied though and shortly afterwards came up with a great free kick of their own. After Alex Windell had been brought down by Hinnigan, 20 yards from goal in a central area, Yorston planted her shot over the wall and past Brown-Finnis for her second goal on the night.
Watts drove a shot wide as Academy looked for a fifth goal but this time Everton could not conjure up a response. A hard working home side managed to keep the Toffees at bay and closed the game out to give themselves a winning start to the new campaign.
Bristol Academy: Siobhan Chamberlain, Loren Dykes, Corinne Yorston, Jaz Matthews, Jemma Rose, Angharad James (sub Alex Windell 67mins), Natalia Pablos Sanchon (sub Grace McCatty 89mins), Laura Del Rio (sub Nikki Watts 45mins), Ann Marie Heatherson, Lucy Staniforth, Natasha Harding. Subs not used: Ellie Curson, Rhian Cleverly.
Everton: Rachel Brown-Finnis, Vicky Jones, Alex Greenwood, Julie Nelson, Lindsay Johnson, Amy Kane (sub Lucy Whipp 86mins), Kelly Jones (sub Simone Magill 45mins), Jill Scott, Toni Duggan, Michelle Hinnigan, Brooke Chaplen (sub Chantelle Boye-Hlorkah 83mins). Subs not used: Elizabeth Durack, Paige Williams.
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