LADIES REPORT: EVERTON 3 CHELSEA 2
Chelsea Ladies suffered heartbreak in their encounter with Everton Ladies on Sunday.
A pulsating contest saw Everton surrender a two-goal second-half lead before finally earning the points thanks to substitute Chantelle Boye-Hlorkah's tap-in six minutes from the end.
Toni Duggan and Michelle Hinnigan close-range efforts had put the Merseysiders in total control, but Chelsea refused to lie down and showed all their fighting qualities as first Drew Spence, and then Karin Muya tapped in for Chelsea.
But Boye-Hlorkah ensured the Merseyside club came away with all three points with her crucial late winner.
Chelsea were instantly pinned back as the dangerous hosts twice went close through the lively Duggan and Hinnigan.
The home team's wait for an opener wasn't long. Fine play by Jody Handley saw her pick out Duggan, who stylishly side-footed in.
With the deadlock broken, the frantic nature of the contest slowed down. Against the run of play Chelsea almost found a leveller when Dunia Susi drove a shot towards the near post, which Rachel Brown-Finnis pushed over.
Helen Ward was then brought down for what looked like a certain penalty and a potential red card but the referee waved play on to the frustration of the visitors.
Chelsea needed a response after the turnaround and Susi looked set to produce an equaliser following a goalmouth scramble. Only a fine clearance by Brooke Chaplen denied her.
Instead, the second goal of the contest arrived at the other end on 53 minutes. Duggan and Handley were again involved, with Hinnigan eventually forcing the ball over the line.
The two-goal advantage lasted just 60 seconds. Brown-Finnis dropped the ball from a corner and, despite appeals for a foul, Spence bundled it in to give the visitors hope.
From seemingly being in control, Everton looked nervous. They were thankful to defender Vicky Jones's awareness as she stretched out a boot on the line to prevent a Jodie Brett effort from going in.
But Chelsea managed to grab an equaliser with just nine minutes left on the clock. Katie Holtham's header down was parried by Brown-Finnis and substitute Muya capitalised.
But Everton responded with Duggan and Scott combining to tee up Handley who saw her shot pushed away by Marie Hourihan. Boye-Hlorkah was in the right place to win the game.
Chelsea (4-3-3): Marie Hourihan; Danielle Buet, Katie Holtham, Kylie Davies (Hannah Blundell 46 mins), Sophie Ingle; Jodie Brett (Rosella Ayane 80 mins), Laura Coombs, Drew Spence; Dunia Susi, Helen Ward (Karin Muya 72 mins), Eniola Aluko.
Unused subs Carly Telford, Ester, Helen Bleazard, Sofia Jakobsson.
Ref N. Gibbons