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Women's Football News
After a week of much publicity, anticipation and expectation, the FA WSL finally got underway with a record breaking weekend, although only seven goals were scored in the six matches.
This included the attendance record being beaten in the opening match with 31,213 watching Manchester City winning 1-0 against newly promoted Manchester Utd at the Etihad Stadium. Both sides had chances in an open first half, with Jane Ross going closest for United when bringing out a save from Ellie Roebuck, but the match was settled three minutes into the second half with a brilliant 25-yard strike from Caroline Weir.
Bristol City meanwhile took on Brighton & Hove Albion at Ashton Gate and the Seagulls had the best chance of the match in the first half when Victoria Williams' penalty was saved by Sophie Baggaley. The Vixens goalkeeper made a couple more good saves to keep her side on terms but City almost snatched it in injury time when Ebony Salmon's 25-yard strike came back off the bar.
The next match saw Chelsea host Tottenham Hotspur at Stamford Bridge in front of nearly 25,000. The game got off to a spectacular start with a superb Beth England goal from 20 yards with only four minutes on the clock. Surprisingly, this was the only goal of the game with Becky Spencer pulling off a string of good saves in the Spurs goal and the visitors going close on more than one occasion at the other end.
Champions Arsenal began their title defence with a 2-1 win against West Ham Utd. Both of the Gunners' goals came in the first half, Beth Mead firing them in front after exchanging passes with Lisa Evans and the England striker turned provider for the second, teeing up Jill Roord to fire home on her debut. The Hammers fought back after the break and gave themselves hope when Martha Thomas reduced the arrears with a header. Arsenal needed to withstand late West Ham pressure to finally make sure of a winning start.
It was an encouraging start for Everton as they beat Birmingham City for the first time in seven years. A tight first half saw few chances but a minute after half time, Kerys Harrop deflected a Hannah Cain cross into her own net for the only goal. Chloe Arthur hit the woodwork at the other end late on but Everton defended in determined fashion to take the three points.
Reading FC Women also began on a winning note with a 1-0 success at Liverpool. The only goal of the game was a worthy winner; three minutes before half time, Fara Williams returning to haunt her former club as she planted a free kick from 30 yards into the top corner.
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