Arsenal Ladies 3-2 Everton Ladies
Blues beaten in WSL season opener.
Everton Ladies were edged out by Arsenal for the second time in a fortnight, as the new WSL season started with a 3-2 thriller.
The Blues faced their FA Women's Cup conquerors in the capital once more and got off to a flyer - Toni Duggan burying a 25-yard volley into the back of the net after just six minutes.
The hosts recovered from their slow start and defender Becky Easton was in the right place to clear a goalbound effort off the line soon after.
On 18 minutes, the reigning WSL champions found their leveller through Danielle Carter. Cutting in from the left, the striker fired past Blues goalkeeper Rachel Brown.
Rachael Yankey then provided a second ten minutes later - playing a pass through to midfielder Jordan Nobbs who had time to finish.
To make matters worse for the visitors, full-back Brooke Chaplen was dismissed shortly before the interval for a second bookable offence.
A player down, the Blues battled to get back into the game after the break.
After coming close several times, the Blues took their chance on 58 minutes through an Alex Greenwood free-kick. With the ball whipped into the box, Duggan headed home her second to make it 2-2.
Just seven minutes later however, the Gunners were back in front. Katie Chapman rose highest to head home a cross from full-back Alex Scott.
Manager Mo Marley praised her side's tireless efforts following Chaplen's sending off.
“I thought we did exceptionally well in difficult circumstances,” she said.
“It’s difficult to come to Arsenal with 11 players but to come here and compete with 10 for a long time in the game is credit and testimony to my players and how hard they’ve worked.
“There are a few things that happened today that we cannot control but I’m more than delighted with how the players have performed.”