It was imperative that Everton got off to the best possible
start by picking up three points against the newly promoted Bristol
Rovers and they did just that, securing a 3-1 victory at Marine
Three new faces were in the starting line-up; Lindsay Johnson
played alongside Kelly Vaughan in central defence, Maz Catterall
won the striking role partnering Sammy Britton, and Jenny Jones was
on the left wing.
The Blues nearly went ahead on 19 minutes. Johnson connected
with a Jenny Jones corner but her header was tipped onto the
crossbar by Bristol's Sue Young. Likewise, Rovers had one
notable effort but Michelle Green headed wide from Stef Curtis'
The game was at a stalemate and both teams came out for the
second half knowing that they had to step up a gear.
The drama started to unfold on 60 minutes. With Blues keeper
Danielle Hill well beaten, Ayshea Martyn's shot was definitely
goal-bound but Lindsay Johnson's deliberate hand ball to nudge
the ball away could only result in one thing - a straight red card
on her debut in a blue shirt.
Curtis was the penalty taker but her shot was saved with ease
from keeper Hill, who had been enjoying a superb debut. Just one
minute later it looked as if Rovers had taken the lead as the ball
was bundled over the line from another dangerous Curtis corner but
the referee blew for a foul on Hill.
From that point the Blues began to dominate proceedings.
On 67 minutes Kelly McDougall squared a pass to Jenny Jones who
fired an unstoppable 20 yarder past the stranded Sue Young to give
Everton the edge in this bitty encounter.
McDougall was involved in goal number two several minutes later.
Her free kick found Marley who powerfully headed towards goal. The
blocked effort fell to Sammy Britton who coolly slotted home.
On 85 minutes Tammy Byrne's persistent pressure on
Bristol's back line paid off as she hounded and managed to
dis-posess a defender. She rode a challenge from the keeper, stayed
on her feet, and tapped the ball in from two yards to make it
Rovers scored a consolation goal in the 89th minute.
Curtis made a darting run down the right and slid the ball past
the advancing Hill. Hill had made a solid debut in place of Rachel
Brown and it was unfortunate that she was not rewarded with a clean
Once Everton settled down they played some flowing concise
football, and narrowly deserved the victory.
Manager Keith Marley echoed this in his post-match
"We didn't half make hard work for ourselves out there
today. We were a bit shaky at times and we know that we are going
to have to play a lot better at Arsenal next week.
"I'm generally happy though and it's great to get
three points. I thought Danielle Hill had a fine game. Lindsay
(Johnson) did well too up until she got sent off.
"Jenny Jones played very well too. She is very young but
she took her debut well and what a goal she scored!"
Everton 3 (Jones 67, Britton 69, Byrne 85) v Bristol Rovers 1
Referee: Mr. J. Abey (Sheffield & Hallamshire)
Everton: D. Hill, K. Vaughan, N. Harding (M. Marley, 62), J.
Hill, L. Johnson, L. Duffy (Capt), T. Byrne, J. Jones (C. Woodhead,
74), K. McDougall, M. Catterall (L. Worrall, 81), S. Britton
Bristol: S. Young, K. Morgan, V. Leat, L. Hutton, E. Jones, M.
Dean, H. Done, S. Curtis, T. Williams, M. Green, A. Martyn