REPORT: Blues Women 1-0 Everton Ladies
Charlie Wellings scored the winning goal after just 42 seconds to seal a 1-0 victory over Everton in the first game of the Women’s Super League campaign.
Blues were coming off the back of a derby day win in the Continental Cup and looking to start the league in a similar fashion.
Ellen White spearheaded the attack, with Wellings, looking for her second goal in two games, in support and they combined to get Blues off to a dream start.
42 seconds in, World Cup bronze medallist Wellings had the ball in the back of the net. White picked up the ball in the centre of the park and stroked it into the path of Wellings who calmly slotted it past Kirstie Levell, with the composure of a striker double her age.
After getting off the perfect beginning, the battle continued in the middle of the pitch, with Blues controlling possession. They didn’t however test Levell in the visitors' goal, but they probed the Everton defence looking to carve out an opening.
But they were rewarded with two chances in quick succession to double their lead. On both occasions Lucy Staniforth whipped in venomous crosses looking for conversion. Hayley Ladd was on the end of the first opportunity but failed to connect with accuracy, while White got her head to the second and went inches wide.
Blues started the second half the brighter with chances from Wellings and Lucy Quinn but neither troubled the Toffees.
Marc Skinner’s side came the closest to a second when Staniforth delivered a teasing ball from a corner. It caused confusion in the Everton box, with Marisa Ewers getting the final touch. She nudged it towards goal but it was swept off the line by the defender.
Paige Williams came the closest in the second half when her long-range effort ricocheted off the crossbar. She had received the ball from Aoife Mannion who had played her in smartly, but her effort couldn’t creep in.
Blues face Sheffield United next Sunday in the Continental Cup.
Blues: Ann-Katrin Berger, Paige Williams, Kerys Harrop, Aoife Mannion, Meaghan Sargeant, Hayley Ladd, Marisa Ewers (Chloe Arthur 77’), Lucy Quinn, Lucy Staniforth, Charlie Wellings, Ellen White (Emma Follis 86’).
Substitutes (not used): Hannah Hampton, Harriet Scott, Shania Hayles, Connie Scofield, Sarah Mayling.
Bookings: Ladd 59’
Goals: Wellings 1’
Everton: Kirstie Levell, Faye Bryson, Danielle Turner, Gabby George, Siri Worm, Georgia Brougham, Inessa Kaagman (Dominique Bruinenberg 66’), Claudia Walker (Chantelle Boye-Hlorkah 84’), Chloe Kelly, Angharad James, Abbey-Leigh Stringer (Simone Magill 66’).
Substitutes (not used): Rebecca Flaherty, Taylor Hinds, Hannah Cain, Megan Finnigan.
Referee: James Bell