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Report: Everton Ladies 2-1 Villa Ladies

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Report: Everton Ladies 2-1 Villa Ladies

Villa Ladies fell to a narrow defeat despite taking the lead in their opening WSL 2 match at Everton Ladies.

Hannah George's emphatic finish, her second goal in as many matches, gave the visitors the advantage on the half-hour mark before Simone Magill's leveller on the stroke of half-time and Georgia Brougham's late winner turned the contest on its head.

It what was a cagey affair throughout and the match began in frantic fashion.

Sarah Mayling and Kerri Welsh made their long-awaited returns from ACL injuries - Mayling competing for the full 90 minutes, Welsh a second half substitute.

Much like in the SSE Women's FA Cup meeting in Sutton Coldfield on Sunday, Andy Spence's side began on the front foot.

Northern Ireland international Magill showed good pace to work her way into a promising position - Villa's Maddy Cusack well placed to clear.

Striker Katie Wilkinson, the claret and blues' top-scorer in their previous two campaigns, looked a threat all evening.

Her first chance arrived just five minutes into the contest, she rose highest from a corner but couldn't steer her header on target.

The Blues then started to dictate possession with Dan Turner and Channy Boye-Hlorkah spurning opportunities.

Ever reliable centre-back Jade Richards commanded the claret and blues' penalty box and did well to head behind Vicky Jones' dangerous whipped in cross.

Joe Hunt's team started to settle and looked the more potent in attack.

Prior to their opener, they could have taken the lead twice in a matter of minutes, thanked in no small part to the creativity of Wilkinson.

Her perfectly-weighted through-ball found the onrushing Mayling - a blue shirt just able to nip in ahead of the returning attacker.

With the Toffees on the back foot, Wilkinson used her improvisation skills and tried to catch stopper Alex Brooks off her line but the on loan Manchester City custodian was able to gather.

A minute later, the B6 outfit were ahead - courtesy of a fine effort from George following a scramble from a corner.

Much like on Sunday, Beth Merrick's delivery both from open play and set pieces unnerved the Everton backline.

But on 38 minutes, her trickery down the right caused problems, drawing a foul from Gabby George and winning a free-kick in a promising position.

Spence's troops re-grouped with Boye-Hlorkah in particular a threat.

The lively forward was unfortunate to see an effort edge over the crossbar following her fine first-time connection.

They drew level just shy of the interval in slightly fortuitous circumstances.

A sustained spell of Everton pressure ended with Magill's cross which Myers couldn't prevent from creeping over the line.

Whatever Hunt said at half-time proved effective as Villa were out of the traps from the off.

This time Merrick was on the end of a good through-ball, her shot dragged agonisingly wide.

Their crisp, purposeful attacking play continued to come to fruition as they won a number of set pieces in decent positons.

Left-back George came close to her second of the evening, unable to keep her header from a lofted free-kick down.

For all their creative flair, from the hour mark, the visitors were forced to show their steely side.

Everton continued to knock on the Villa door with their corners - bodies on the line, well-timed challenges and important interventions from Myers keeping the scores level.

It was always going to take a moment of magic to win the game and that proved to be the case.

Manchester City loanee Brougham's stunning strike from 25-yards sealing the spoils with 10 minutes of normal time remaining.

Villa Ladies are back in action this Sunday - hosting Oxford United Women at Coles Lane, kick-off 2pm.

Everton Ladies: Brooks, Jones, D. Turner, Boye-Hlorkah, Hinnigan, Magill (Walker 75), Jones, Brougham, Finnigan, M. Turner, George. Unused subs: Morgan, Johnson, Bryson, Davies.

Villa Ladies: Myers, Crackle, Bryant (N'Dow 46), Richards, George, Merrick, Moran (C), Cusack, Toussaint (Welsh 62), Mayling, Wilkinson. Unused subs: Beattie, Baptiste, West, Harper, Tallis.

Emily Liles
By @emily_liles 24th March 2016
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