Everton Ladies 1-1 Bristol Academy Ladies
A stunning first-half strike from Nikita Parris helped Everton Ladies record a 1-1 draw in an entertaining clash with Bristol Academy on Sunday.
Andy Spence’s side were looking to cap off the week with a third straight win and looked well on the way to achieving it when the forward struck a 25-yard shot into the top corner.
But a strong second-half surge from the visitors finally told when Nikki Watts expertly dispatched Corinne Yorston’s pinpoint cross from close range.
The Vixens also missed a spot-kick and forced Everton custodian Rachel Brown-Finnis into a string of fine saves.
But the Blues equally had their chances and Parris will feel aggrieved not to have claimed her second of the afternoon when her 53rd-minute header was controversially chalked off.
The first half began with both sides eager to justify their reputations as two of the WSL’s more attack-minded teams.
And it was the visitors who had the first meaningful effort when Natalia Pablos Sanchon eluded her marker before testing Brown-Finnis with a powerful header.
Everton's retort came through Brooke Chaplen soon after, but having latched on to a loose ball following Parris' marauding run, the midfielder saw her effort saved by goalkeeper Mary Earps.
Yorston and Laura Del Rio were causing the Toffees problems down their right and when the duo combined to release Watts, the Bristol star saw a 20-yard effort clatter against the goal frame.
But it was Everton who went in at half-time ahead, Parris capitalising on Bristol confusion before catching Earps off her line with a sublime 20-yard chip.
Bristol's reaction was to come out quickly after the break, with Sanchon and Del Rio both forcing saves from Brown-Finnis.
The Spanish contingent was exerting greater influence on the game and Del Rio was given her clearest opportunity from the spot after being felled by Lindsay Johnson on 52 minutes.
The forward had a moment to forget from 12 yards however, miscuing her penalty and sending the ball high over the crossbar.
Perhaps buoyed by the let-off, Everton almost immediately went up the other end and forced a corner through Danielle Turner.
Cue the game’s big talking point as, from the resulting set piece, Parris saw a bullet header mysteriously ruled out for an infringement.
The incident swung momentum once again and more Bristol pressure paid off when Yorston was afforded too much room out wide on 71 minutes and her perfectly-placed cross was cushioned home by Watts.
Everton finished the stronger of the two sides and Chaplen thought she had claimed a winner at the end of normal time, only to see her shot brilliantly saved by Earps.
The Ladies' next game is away at Manchester City on Wednesday.