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Yeovil Town 1 (Aldridge 22) Everton 0
Yeovil Town have made a swift return to the top of WSL 2 after narrowly getting the better of Everton in their promotion clash at Huish Park.
The game was a tense one and often scrappy but was settled by a superb strike from Kelly Aldridge - her first for the club - midway through the first half.
With just two points separating the teams in second and third going into the match, both teams started off cautiously but Everton did create a great chance as early as the fifth minute. Chloe Kelly found space on the edge of the area and slid a good pass into the path of Rosella Ayane but Charlotte Haynes was smartly off her line to make an important block and Helen Bleazard was able to clear the loose ball.
Michelle Hinnigan brought out a save from Haynes from a free kick but these were rare opportunities in the opening period at either end. Yeovil had had plenty of possession without really troubling the visiting defence until taking the lead in spectacular fashion.
Aldridge received the ball from Ellie Curson on the right and cut in before unleashing a powerful shot from the edge of the area. Kirstie Levell got a hand to the ball but the shot was too strong and she could only divert it into the roof of the net.
Yeovil were almost two up on the half hour when Ann Marie Heatherson's pass played in Kayleigh Green but this time Levell came to the rescue with a save, the ball then cannoning off an Everton defender and bouncing inches past the post.
Everton responded with a long range strike from Kelly which dipped just over and, after being found by Hinnigan's pass, Emily Hollinshead fired an angled shot narrowly over as Yeovil took their advantage into the break.
Yeovil produced the first effort of the second half when Lucy Quinn's corner was headed just over the bar by Hannah Short but this was a rare opportunity in a half which was dominated by the two defences.
Everton began to dominate territory and possession with Yeovil content to drop deeper and sit on their lead. As a result, the visitors found it harder to pierce the home side's back four although Kelly almost found a way through before being halted by a fine challenge from Short.
A Hinnigan corner was met at the far post by Ellie Stewart whose effort was headed away from in front of goal by Green. A rare, clear chance was to come for the visitors minutes later when they were awarded a free kick on the edge of the area but Hinnigan lifted her shot well over.
Yeovil were relying on counter attacks and one break saw Quinn run through on goal before she was denied on the edge of the area by a superbly timed tackle from the excellent Gabby George.
Quinn also drilled a shot over from distance but it was Yeovil's defence, in which Short and Danielle Carlton were outstanding in the centre, which was mainly in action as they successfully repelled a number of Everton attacks as the game wore on.
Hard as they tried, Everton could not fashion a clear cut chance and Yeovil ran down the clock to clinch three precious points, to return themselves to the top of the table.
The weekend results mean that it is advantage Yeovil and Bristol City for the moment although Everton and Durham Women, who meet in two weeks' time, are far from out of the running as yet.
Yeovil Town: Charlotte Haynes, Helen Bleazard, Kelly Snook (sub Ellis Hillman 64mins), Ellie Curson, Nicola Cousins, Kayleigh Green (sub Nadia Lawrence 68mins), Kelly Aldridge, Danielle Carlton, Ann Marie Heatherson (sub Emily Donovan 77mins), Hannah Short, Lucy Quinn. Subs not used: Lauren Townsend, Steph Williams, Leah Burridge, Kirsten Rendall.
Everton: Kirstie Levell, Vicky Jones (sub Krystle Johnston 80mins), Danielle Turner, Megan Finnigan, Gabby George, Georgia Brougham (sub Ellie Stewart 45mins), Rosella Ayane, Michelle Hinnigan, Chloe Kelly, Emily Hollingshead (sub Jenna Dear 55mins), Kelly Jones. Subs not used: Alex Brooks, Millie Turner, Lauren Davies.
(top) Emily Hollingshead takes on Kelly Snook
(middle) Gabby George slides in to tackle Kayleigh Green
(bottom) Lucy Quinn is challenged by Ellie Stewart
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