Women's Super League - Five talking points from the weekend's action
The WSL returned after the international break. Man City were the team not involved this week as Arsenal increased their lead at the top. Here are five talking points from the latest round of WSL action.
Bristol City show resilience in victory over Liverpool
After two consecutive defeats, Bristol City got back to winning ways with a 2-1 win over Liverpool which saw them move above the Reds in the table. Two first-half goals in five minutes from Lucy Graham and Ella Rutherford gave Bristol City their first WSL victory at home since January. Liverpool halved the deficit through Courtney Sweetman-Kirk nine minutes before half-time but were unable to get an equaliser.
In the second half, Bristol City stood firm against a wave of Liverpool attacks with Vixens defender Poppy Pattinson clearing off her own line and Sophie Baggaley denying Sweetman-Kirk late on. Defending a lead for 45 minutes wasn't easy for Bristol City but they held firm to claim a much-needed three points.
A game of two halves for Everton
Facing league leaders Arsenal in their first outing since Andy Spence left his position as head coach would not have been Everton's ideal match but they rose to the occasion and kept Arsenal at bay, for the first 40 minutes. Everton goalkeeper Kirsty Levell made some sensational saves to deny Arsenal as the Gunners began to grow frustrated. One of her best saves came when she forced Vivianne Miedema's header onto the bar from close range.
Despite all her good work, Levell was beaten moments later when Danielle van de Donk finally broke the deadlock for Arsenal just before half-time. After the first goal, Everton's heads dropped and all the brilliant tackles, blocks and last-ditch defending disappeared after the break. Arsenal went on to win 4-0 but perhaps if Everton had maintained their intensity, the scoreline would not have been quite so emphatic.
Chelsea bring Yeovil Town back down to earth
An underwhelming start to the season seems to be behind Chelsea after their third consecutive WSL victory saw them move to third in the table, level on points with Birmingham City. Yeovil Town, who won their first ever WSL match before the international break, were torn apart by Chelsea as Millie Bright, Ji So-Yun, Erin Cuthbert and Ramona Bachmann all got on the scoresheet in the first half.
The Lady Glovers also had to play the entirety of the second half with 10 women after Nicola Cousins was sent off for a late challenge in the 40th minute. Beth England made it 5-0 with 79 minutes played to complete the victory. Yeovil remain 10th in the table, one point ahead of bottom club Everton.
Staniforth helps Birmingham get back to winning ways
Birmingham continued their decent start to the season with a 3-0 win over West Ham. Lucy Staniforth was key to Birmingham's victory. The England international set up defender Kerys Harrop to head in from her corner as the Blues went in front after the 19th minute.
Staniforth then got herself on the scoresheet in the 79th minute to wrap up the win. Birmingham slipped down to fourth place on goal difference.
Reading find some consistency
For the first time this season, Reading recorded back-to-back wins. They followed up a 3-0 win over Bristol City with a 4-1 victory against Brighton & Hove Albion. Reading have four wins in eight games this season but have been inconsistent in getting their results.
Fara Williams scored twice with Brooke Chaplen and Gemma Davison getting the other goals. Aileen Whelan scored for Brighton in the 61st minute to deny Reading their fifth clean sheet of the season. The Royals remain in fifth place, three points clear of Bristol City.
Week 9 Results:
Bristol City 2-1 Liverpool
Everton 0-4 Arsenal
Birmingham City 3-0 West Ham
Brighton 1-4 Reading
Chelsea 5-0 Yeovil Town