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Everton 1 (Parris 45) Bristol Academy 1 (Watts 71)
A stunning first half strike from Nikita Parris couldn't quite earn Everton all three points against Bristol Academy in a hugely entertaining 1-1 draw.
Andy Spence's side were looking to cap off the week with their third straight win and looked to be well on the way to achieving it when the forward struck a 25-yard shot into the top corner.
But a strong second half surge from the visitors finally told when Nikki Watts expertly despatched Corinne Yorston's pin-point cross from close range. The Vixens also missed a spot kick and forced Everton custodian Rachel Brown-Finnis into a string of fine saves.
The Blues also had their chances and Parris will feel aggrieved not have claimed her second of the afternoon after her 53rd-minute header was controversially chalked off.
The first half began with both sides eager to justify reputations as two of the WSL's more attacking teams, and it was the visitors who had the first meaningful effort at the Select Security Stadium. Watts created the opening before Natalia Pablos Sanchon eluded her marker to send a powerful header towards goal only for Brown-Finnis to deny the Spaniard.
The hosts hit back through Parris, her marauding run saw the ball break loose to Brooke Chaplen whose effort was well saved by Mary Earps, with Kelly Jones crowded out by the Bristol backline on the follow up.
The humid conditions didn't appear to affecting the game's tempo and the end-to-end action was lapped up by the 407 in attendance. Yorston and Laura Del Rio were causing the Toffees problems down their right and one such attack released Watts who struck the frame of the goal from 20 yards with Brown-Finnis beaten.
But it was Everton who went in at half -time ahead, Parris capitalised on Bristol confusion before catching Earps off her line with a stunning 20-yard chip.
Bristol began the second half on top, Sanchon and Del Rio both forcing saves out of Brown-Finnis. The Spanish contingent was exerting greater influence on the game and Del Rio was given her clearest opportunity from the spot after being felled by Lindsay Johnson on 52 minutes. The forward had a moment to forget from 12 yards however, miscuing her penalty high and over the bar.
The Blues were not about to knock that gift horse in the mouth and launched straight into an attack of their own, Parris played in Danielle Turner, who forced a corner. Cue the game's big talking point, Parris met Michelle Hinnigan's corner perfectly with a bullet header which gave Earps no chance. Joy soon turned to confusion as the goal was ruled out for an infringement, with both sides seemingly mystified as to what the referee's call was for.
Then it was Bristol's turn to counter with Del Rio once again the architect, her inviting centre was somehow put wide by the oncoming Angharad James from six yards.
The Vixens finally had something to smile about on 71 minutes. Yorston was afforded too much room out wide and her perfectly placed cross was met by Watts who climbed above Gabby George to level proceedings.
Everton finished the stronger of the two sides as the heat finally told on Bristol. Brooke Chaplen thought she had claimed a winner at the end of normal time, only to see her shot brilliantly saved by Earps, with Jemma Rose bravely blocking the rebound to assure honours remained even.
Everton: Rachel Brown-Finnis, Vicky Jones, Alex Greenwood, Brooke Chaplen, Gabrielle George, Lindsay Johnson, Danielle Turner, Michelle Hinnigan, Nikita Parris, Millie Turner (sub Lucy Whipp 72mins), Kelly Jones.
Bristol Academy: Mary Earps, Grace McCatty, Corinne Yorston, Jaz Matthews, Jemma Rose, Sophie Ingle, Natalia Pablos Sanchon, Angharad James, Laura Del Rio, Nikki Watts, Natasha Harding (sub Frankie Brown 86mins).
(Report by www.fawsl.com)
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