Everton were unable to continue their perfect start to the new Barclays FA Women’s Super League season as they were held to a 2-2 draw by Brighton & Hove Albion at Walton Hall Park.
The Merseyside club had continued their 100% record with victory over West Ham United last weekend while Brighton & Hove Albion fell to a 5-0 defeat at the hands of Arsenal are were looking to bounce back strongly against Everton in their latest fixture. Hope Powell’s side did just that as they took a shock early lead at Walton Hall Park.
Former Blue Girl Inessa Kaagman curled in a free-kick and the ball was glanced on in the area. That flick on caught Everton defender Rikke Sevecke completely unaware and the ball hit her full in the face. Unfortunately for the centre back, that meant she had inadvertently diverted the ball into her own net.
The home side thought they had an equaliser when a quick throw to Valerie Gauvin was tucked away by the French striker, however, the throw had been awarded the other way so their joy was short-lived.
Willie Kirk’s side did manage to draw themselves level shortly after through a wonder-strike from Izzy Christiansen. Everton were awarded a free-kick very central, roughly 30 yards from goal. The midfielder stepped up and sent an absolute rocket towards goal. The ball took a slight deflection on the way through, but it made little difference as the ball had enough power to beat visiting keeper Megan Walsh.
The teams went into the dressing rooms at half-time even in terms of both scoreline and performance with Brighton & Hove Albion having stifled a lot of Everton’s creative play in the middle of the park whilst also looking good on the break.
Yet, it was Everton who took the lead for the first time in the 70th minute. A corner was whipped in by Christiansen and Gauvin met the ball with a deft header which she steered into the top corner past a helpless Walsh.
However, Brighton & Hove Albion weren’t going to lie down. Some good play on the edge of the Everton penalty area created some space on the left and a low pass along the six-yard box was turned in by the outstretched leg of Aileen Whelan.
There was no sign of either team settling for a draw as they both pushed forward in the dying moments of the game which made for a thoroughly tense and exciting spectacle. In amongst the excitement there was a lot of confusion as the referee appeared to award a second yellow card to Brighton & Hove Albion’s Kayleigh Green yet she wasn’t shown a red.
Nevertheless, the game finished up 2-2 and the points were shared. Everton dropped their first points of the season while Brighton & Hove Albion have proved that their good start to season is certainly no fluke and they are able to compete on a consistent basis with the best.
It doesn’t get much easier for Kirk’s side after the international break as they face Manchester City, Manchester United, and Chelsea in their first three games back.