In-form Everton hold onto crucial win against Reading
Courtney Sweetman-Kirk and Chloe Kelly score the goals as Toffees secure vital victory
FA WSL 1 match
14:00, Sunday 11 February 2018
Select Security Stadium
Everton Ladies FC Goal Scorers: Kelly 22', Sweetman - Kirk 5'
Reading FC Women Goal Scorers: Furness 38'
Everton recorded back-to-back FA WSL 1 wins as they collected all three points in a hard-fought 2-1 win over Reading in snowy conditions in Widnes.
Two first half goals from Courtney Sweetman-Kirk and Chloe Kelly were enough to secure the win, although Rachel Furness headed one back for Reading and almost equalised late on.
Everton move up to eighth in the table, with Reading remaining one place above in seventh.
Everton Ladies 2
Reading Women 1
Everton (4-2-3-1): Lizzie Durack; Chantelle Boye-Hlorkah, Georgia Brougham, Gabby George, Siri Worm; Angharad James, Megan Finnigan; Chloe Kelly, Olivia Chance, Dan Turner; Courtney Sweetman-Kirk
Substitutes: Mollie Green for Chloe Kelly 90
Substitutes not used: Kirstie Levell, Marthe Munsterman, Faye Bryson, Taylor Hinds
Bookings: Mollie Green 90
Red Cards: N/A
Reading (4-3-3): Mary Earps; Rachel Rowe, Kirsty Pearce, Jo Potter, Anna Green; Rachel Furness, Fara Williams, Remi Allen; Natasha Harding, Brooke Chaplen, Lauren Brunton
Substitutes: Kirsty Linnett for Natasha Harding 62, Jade Moore for Brunton 71
Substitutes not used: Melissa Fletcher, Grace Moloney, Evie Gane
Bookings: Pearce 45, Williams 66, Furness 75
Red Cards: N/A
Referee: Lindsey Robinson
Andy Spence’s side got off to a fantastic start, taking the lead on four minutes as Sweetman-Kirk latched onto a through ball and coolly slot past England keeper Mary Earps.
Everton survived an extended spell of Reading pressure inside the opening 20 minutes, and then caught their visitors on the counter attack to increase their lead.
Chloe Kelly capitalised on a poor defensive clearance by Reading to blast home on 21 minutes from close range.
Reading got themselves back in the game on 37 minutes, as Rachel Furness powerfully nodded in from a deep Fara Williams corner.
The visitors picked up where they left off after the break, putting the Everton defence under real pressure in the second half, with Lizzie Durack called into action to save from Lauren Brunton on 58 minutes.
Reading continued to press for an equaliser, and Brooke Chaplen was inches away from providing it, but her curling strike from the edge of the area came back off on the post on 82 minutes.
MOMENT OF THE MATCH
With Everton on the ropes, Reading increased the pressure and Chaplen was so close to earning them a point.
The ball sat up perfectly on the edge of the area but it rebounded back off on the post on 82 minutes.
WHAT THEY SAID
Everton goal scorer Chloe Kelly: "It was a great start to the game for us and we had said before the game that we wanted to come into it and get all three points.
“We did just that and two early goals got us right into the game and we kickstarted from there.
“It was hard to hang on to from there, but we did well, we stayed good defensively, as we needed to.
"These games are all about taking your chances and getting all three points. First half we were clinical, we had two shots on target and we scored them both.”
Reading goal scorer Rachel Furness said: “We had a dominant performance in the second half, but we lost it in the first half.
"We just gave away two sloppy goals and you then have to come from behind in a backs against the wall situation.
"It's tough to come back from two goals down and Everton defended very well, but we have to have a hard look at ourselves.”
Everton are in SSE Women’s FA Cup action away at Lewes next weekend but after that they visit Arsenal in the league, while Reading next face Bristol City.
"We knew that today would be tough and it will be tough against Arsenal next up, they're a great side,” Kelly said.
"Arsenal have a really good attacking line, and all over the pitch they are really good at keeping the ball. But I think we can work out a game plan to match it and come out the better side.
“We have not got anything to worry about, we just need to play our way and hopefully we can get the three points in the next game."
Furness added: “We know that everyone is fighting for their points at this stage. We will look at Bristol for the next game, we'll also look to analyse ourselves and we'll have a game plan against Bristol.
“Hopefully we can go into the next game with that in mind and get a much needed three points.
"At the minute it's disappointing with not getting back into to the game today, but we just need to be better and we know that starts against Bristol."
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