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Stoke City (A) Wed 4 Mar 2015, 19:45, Barclays Premier League

by Daniel Alston @efc_danalston

Andy Spence admitted a draw was a fair result in his first competitive game in charge, as Everton Ladies earned a Continental Cup point against Liverpool on Saturday evening.

Nikita Parris rose to meet Michelle Hinnigan's 87th-minute free-kick to even the scores late on, after Louise Fors had given the new-look hosts the lead from the spot with 15 minutes to play.

And after the contest at Halton Stadium, Spence insisted the spoils deserved to be shared.

"The goal for them coming late in the game makes you start to wonder [whether we were going to lose], but I think that would have been unjust on us," he said.

"I know Rachel Brown's made two or three excellent saves for us, but on the balance of it, with the amount of work the players put in and the opportunities we had ourselves, a draw was probably a fair result.

"For our goal, it was a great delivery by Michelle and I'm really pleased for Nikita to get her head on it because she never scores headers."

The recently-turned 19-year-old is yet another success story from the Club's Centre of Excellence, and with several senior players leaving at the end of last season, Spence is keen to promote from within once more.

He said: "We spoke a lot in pre-season about the fact that we have promoted a lot of our young players - some that were with the squad last season have now got even more opportunities. That reflected itself today in the performance - it was a great team effort.

"The squad have shown character in all of pre-season and definitely in this game. There were spells where we were under pressure and you're going to expect that in big derby games, but they rode that and deserved a draw in the end.

"It's a decent start to the season," he added. "It gives us a platform to build from. I don't think that's the best we're going to play this season - I'd like to think we'll get better. In terms of a start, I couldn't have asked for much more in terms of effort, workrate, the quality at times.

"The willingness to put bodies on the line was absolutely brilliant. If that's our baseline for the rest of the season then I can't wait for the rest of it."

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