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Everton 1 (Parris 45) Arsenal 2 (Carter 43, Scott 86)
Everton fell to a 2-1 defeat against their Arsenal counterparts in a lively encounter at the Select Security Stadium.
Strikes from Danielle Carter and skipper Alex Scott cancelled out Nikita Parris' eighth goal of the season in what was an unfortunate afternoon for Andy Spence's side, with injuries to both Fern Whelan and Rachel Brown-Finnis forcing early departures. Everton captain Michelle Hinnigan was to suffer heartbreak from 12 yards, as her spot kick was well saved by Gunners' custodian Emma Byrne.
The game began brightly with both sides making a mockery of their league positions, with flowing football creating end-to-end action. On ten minutes, the Blues were to endure their first bit of bad look when Whelan went over heavily on her ankle and was unable to play any further part, leaving Gabby George to come on in her place.
Parris continued to threaten the visitors' backline and was the victim of some heavy treatment from Emma Mitchell and Niamh Fahey, who both went into the referee's notebook.
But it was her opposite number Carter who was to strike first blood on 42 minutes with the easiest of finishes. The forward was the first to react when Brown-Finnis saved well from Leah Williamson's initial effort, leaving Carter to poke home from close range.
The Toffees weren't behind for long as Parris, who had just entered the referee's notebook herself, dispossessed Fahey on the edge of the area and delivered a composed finish to restore parity on the stroke of half time.
The second half started in the same vain as the first and Everton were forced into their second change when Brown-Finnis fell heavily following a 50-50 challenge with Williamson. The Blues' keeper thankfully left the field on her feet having been replaced by Megan Walsh.
Luck seemed to swing back into Blues' favour on the hour mark when Yukari Kinga was judged to have handled inside the area, leaving referee Aaron Jackson in no doubt to award the spot kick. Hinnigan assumed responsibility only to see her effort well stopped by the flawless Byrne in the Arsenal goal.
Play remained tight between the two sides until the 84th minute. Substitute Kelly Smith's initial 20-yard effort was parried by Walsh into the path of Scott who sealed her side's victory with a close range finish.
Spence's side threw everything into finding an equaliser but all efforts proved to be in vain as the visitors hung on for all three points.
Everton: Rachel Brown-Finnis (sub Megan Walsh 52mins), Vicky Jones, Alex Greenwood, Brooke Chaplen, Fern Whelan (sub Gabrielle George 10mins), Lindsay Johnson, Danielle Turner, Michelle Hinnigan, Nikita Parris, Simone Magill, Kelly Jones (sub Lauren Davies 89mins). Subs not used: Paige Williams, Amy Kane, Lucy Whipp.
Arsenal: Emma Byrne, Alex Scott, Leah Williamson, Yukari Kinga, Casey Stoney, Niamh Fahey, Emma Mitchell (sub Kelly Smith 75mins), Jordan Nobbs, Danielle Carter (sub Turid Knaak 86mins), Jade Bailey, Rachel Yankey. Subs not used: Siobhan Chamberlain, Shinobu Ohno, Christie Murray, Freda Ayisi, Taome Oliver.
(Report by www.fawsl.com)
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