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Page last updated at 22:41 GMT, Thursday, 14 April 2011 23:41 UK

Women's Super League enjoys second-night goal-fest

By Tony Leighton

Everton's Rachel Unitt closes down Liverpool's Ruesha Littlejohn
Everton's Rachel Unitt closes down Liverpool's Ruesha Littlejohn

The new Women's Super League produced a goal-laden second night of action.

Liverpool and Everton drew the Merseyside derby 3-3 and Birmingham City beat Bristol Academy 4-0.

Everton needed an injury-time equaliser by Natasha Dowie to claim a point, while Karen Carney and Rachel Williams hit two apiece in Birmingham's romp.

Like Wednesday's opening evening of the WSL, when Arsenal beat Chelsea 1-0 and Doncaster Belles won 1-0 at Lincoln, there were good crowds at both games.

Liverpool attracted an attendance of 835, while 602 turned up for the game in Birmingham.

With attendances in the past at club games averaging little more than 100, this first set of fixtures in the new league is encouraging for the future of the women's game.

England winger Carney said: "It was brilliant to have so many fans here, and after putting on a good show we'll hopefully have even bigger crowds for future games."

Liverpool manager Robbie Johnson added: "We were delighted with the size of the crowd and there was a great atmosphere in the ground.

"It was disappointing to concede such a late equaliser, but you have to be circumspect about it and overall I was pleased with our performance in such a big match."

Everton, second in last season's Premier League while Liverpool were still in the Northern Division, had gone into the match as favourites.

And manager Mo Marley said: "We were outstanding for long periods of the game, especially in the first half when we could have gone four or five goals ahead.

"But we weren't clinical enough, then we got punished for mistakes in the second half. Credit to Liverpool for staying in the game though, and in the end we had to be happy with a point from a match we should have won."

Dowie started as well as finished the scoring, heading in the first goal two minutes before half-time.

Cheryl Foster equalised just after the hour, but in the 71st minute Jill Scott restored Everton's lead.

It took the home side just three minutes to draw level again, this time through Nicky Harding, and it seemed that they had the game won when they went in front for the first time with a 90th-minute goal by Ruesha Littlejohn.

In the second minute of added time, however, Dowie popped up to drill in the winner when a deflected Fara Williams free-kick dropped into her path.

At Birmingham, meanwhile, the fireworks all came at one end as Blues took the game by the scruff of the neck from the early stages.

Williams hit her first goal in the seventh minute, added a second after 27 minutes then set up Carney for the third goal eight minutes before half-time.

Carney completed the scoring in the 70th minute to cap a great night for the home side. "It was important we made a good start to the new league," said the winger. "And it couldn't have gone better - now we have to build on this."

Bristol boss Mark Sampson admitted: "We were on the back foot from the first minute and just couldn't match their intensity.

"We were much better in the second half, but this is a big lesson for us and I'll be expecting a massive reaction from the girls."



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see also
Arsenal win Super League opener
13 Apr 11 |  Women
What is the Women's Super League?
14 Apr 11 |  Women
Women lead way for English football
12 Apr 11 |  Football
Powell pleased with new women's league
11 Apr 11 |  Football
Women's Super League 'a step forward'
11 Apr 11 |  Football


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