Everton Ladies bounced back from their midweek defeat to Manchester City with an “outstanding performance from the first minute to the 90th” as they drew 0-0 with reigning WSL champions Chelsea.
Indeed, had Inessa Kaagman or Simone Magill had a little more luck with second half chances, the Blue Girls could have recorded all three points at the Merseyrail Community Stadium.
A deserved point aside, the game was marred with controversary after Chelsea keeper Carly Telford was adjudged to have tipped Kaagman’s shot off the line instead of, as Toffees players claimed, behind it.
Manager Andy Spence said that despite that frustrating decision, his side could be proud of their display.
“The display as a whole was outstanding from the first minute to the 90th,” he said. “We had a good control to our game. We knew Chelsea would carry a big threat but we did really well defensively and particularly in the crucial areas.
“On the counter attack we had out moments and none more so than Inessa’s shot that we felt – hoped! – had crossed the line. The fact the goalkeeper has hit the back of the net shortly after clearing it probably tells you whether it was over or not.
“That was one of those little moments that can either go for or against you but certainly in terms of the display, I am very, very pleased and the girls can be rightly proud of a really top display.”
A potentially serious injury to Hannah Cain – making her full debut after her midweek cameo against City – was the only black spot on a spirited Everton performance.
Yes the visitors had chances, Kirstie Levell was needed to thwart Jonna Andersson and Drew Spence, while Fran Kirby was a whisker away from winning it late on.
But the Toffees were dangerous on the counterattack and alongside Kaagman’s close call, Magill stung the palms of Telford, who also denied the Dutch midfielder’s clever free-kick.
But after a tough week, Everton can take plenty of positives from the win and draw they have taken from three of the best sides in the division.