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Everton Res 2 Bristol Academy Res 1
Substitute Laura Tobin netted an extra time as Everton won the Premier League Reserve Section League Cup with a narrow 2-1 win over Bristol Academy at Clevedon.
The Toffees came from behind after trailing at half time and just had the better of a thrilling match played in front of a vocal crowd.
Everton started well in the opening stages, going close as a Jess Moore header narrowly went wide, but Academy looked sharp on the attack and this showed as Gabby Simmons-Bird cut in from the left and forced a save from Danielle Hill.
At the other end, Kane headed wide from a corner and the same player struck a 25-yard free kick which was held by Abby Evans but in the 22nd minute, Academy went in front as Jaz Matthews burst through on goal to produce a cool left foot finish past the advancing Hill.
Buoyed by the goal, Academy pressed hard for another and Georgia Wallis almost nipped in for a second as she beat Hill to a free kick but good defending by Sarah Bradford snuffed out the danger. Hill then needed to be alert and quickly off her line to deny Annie Martin as the Academy forward line continued to cause problems with their pace.
Another free kick, this time deflected, by Kane could have caused problems but Evans' handling was perfect as she bravely gathered the ball low down as five Everton players closed in on her.
Back came Academy with Ellie Curson firing over the bar after a corner had been half cleared, but Everton could have been back on level terms on the stroke of half time as Lagan Makin broke into the area where her cross picked out Moore whose shot came back off the post.
Academy had gone into the interval with a deserved lead but Everton grew stronger after the restart and, after ten minutes, levelled the scores. Lucy Cunningham played a free kick into the area where Kerri Welsh challenged Evans and Kane got to the loose ball first to slide home. Academy protested that Evans had been fouled but the goal was allowed to stand.
Everton were now producing their best form with Kane and Faye McCoy looking strong in midfield and Welsh working hard up front. Skilful winger Makin was also a threat and one run took her past three opponents before her shot was saved by Evans. Welsh also brought out a save from a good shot on the turn but a well organised Academy defence, well marshalled by Wallis and Ellie Isaac, otherwise stood firm under the pressure.
An Academy break saw Curson get away from Stephanie Marsh before her shot was saved by Hill, while at the other end Abby Pullen set up a good chance for Makin but she was denied by a combination of Daisy Allen and Chloe Tape whose challenges prevented an almost certain goal. Unfortunately for Academy, Allen was injured in making the tackle and the captain was forced to hobble off minutes later.
Driven on by the tireless Charlotte Jones in midfield, Academy finished the game strongly but could not find a way through and the match went into extra time.
The pace of the game did not slow during the extra period but chances were few at either end until Everton made a breakthrough in the 102nd minute. A corner was cleared as far as Marsh who returned the ball into the area where Tobin, who had only been on the pitch for six minutes, nipped past Isaac before planting a right foot shot into the corner of the net.
In the second period the Everton defence, particularly Bradford and Aimee Cleaver in the centre, kept Academy at bay with a number of no-nonsense clearances. Everton started to run down the clock as full time approached but the game exploded back into life during five minutes of added on time.
Firstly, Tobin saw a header saved by Evans, then Marsh was unlucky not to hit a clinching goal as her shot came back off the inside of the post. Academy then threw everything they could at a now packed Everton defence and forced a couple of late corners. Goalkeeper Evans joined the attack and even got her head to Matthews' kick but it drifted wide of the goal and Everton could finally celebrate a very hard earned win.
Everton Res: Danielle Hill, Lucy Cunningham, Stephanie Marsh, Kayleigh McDonald (sub Faye McCoy 37mins), Sarah Bradford, Aimee Cleaver, Jess Moore (sub Laura Tobin 96mins), Amy Kane, Kerri Welsh, Abby Pullen, Lagan Makin. Subs not used: Clare Jones, Abby Hunt, Becky Golding.
Bristol Academy Res: Abby Evans, Daisy Allen (sub Emily Allen 86mins), Ellis Parsons, Hannah Churchill (sub Chloe Tape 79mins), Georgia Wallis, Ellie Isaac, Ellie Curson, Charlotte Jones, Annie Martin (sub Octavia Saunders 59mins), Jaz Matthews, Gabby Simmons-Bird. Sub not used: Kirsten Rendall.
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