A late strike from Hannah Cain helped Everton Ladies secure a vital 1-0 victory at West Ham United Women.
Substitute Cain raced onto Simone Magill’s through ball with two minutes to play to poke home the winner in east London. The victory ensures the Blue Girls sit five points above bottom-placed Yeovil in the FA Women’s Super League.
Everton manager Willie Kirk made three changes to the team that lost bravely to Manchester City last month.
Taylor Hinds, Dominique Bruinenberg and Siri Worm came into the team in place of Chaney Boye-Hlorkah, Inessa Kaagman and Angharad James.
The visitors put in a lot of the early running, but neither team managed to carve out any clear-cut chances.
It was skipper Dan Turner who went closest early on, but her effort from out wide failed to really trouble Anna Moorhouse in the hosts’ goal.
The Blue Girls began to exert pressure, with Abbey Stringer’s shot deflected agonisingly wide after a quick break.
The Hammers were quick on the counter, however, and came close with a wicked cross that Gabby George was just able to divert away.
Next up it was Georgia Brougham’s turn to avert danger, and from the following corner the impressive Kirstie Levell somehow kept out Flaherty’s effort after the ball was only half-cleared.
Levell was in action again to beat away a near-post effort from Alisha Lehmann and keep the scores level.
It was the Blue Girls who started the second period on the front foot, with Bruinenberg firing in an effort that Moorehouse gathered at the second attempt.
Seemingly from out of nowhere, Hinds produced the best effort of the game, her left-footed shot from long range dipping and hitting the bar.
Hinds again came close at the far post but could only divert her effort just wide, while Levell was quick off her line on several occasions to mop up through balls.
Both teams toiled without reward until Cain popped up off the bench to provide the decisive moment.
There was one close call left as Flaherty had an effort ruled out for offside at the death, while Everton had to play the remaining moments with 10 players when George limped off injured but the visitors held on for their first win in five matches.