Ladies return with a win

LEVERKUSEN, GERMANY - JULY 09: Jill Scott of England celebrates the first goal during the FIFA Women's World Cup 2011 Quarter Final match between England and France at the FIFA Women's World Cup Stadium Leverkusen on July 9, 2011 in Leverkusen, Germany. (Photo by Christof Koepsel/Getty Images)

Everton ladies made a triumphant return to WSL action with a 2-0 home win over Chelsea on Sunday.

England internationals Rachel Brown, Rachel Unitt and Jill Scott, fresh from their World Cup disappointment in Germany, were named in the starting XI but fellow Lioness Fara Williams missed out through injury.

Brown was forced into action early on, making a smart stop from Danielle Buet's fizzing free-kick, the only chance of the game in the opening half hour.

Everton broke the deadlock on 33 minutes, Toni Duggan converting Rachel Unitt's cross to mark the eve of her 20th birthday in style.

Duggan could have made it two just before the break but volleyed over when well placed. However, Duggan made up for that miss just into the second half when she let fly from the edge of the box. Chelsea 'keeper Carly Telford could only parry and Michelle Hinnigan bundled the ball home.

Duggan, Gwen Harries and Natasha Dowie all had opportunities to increase the lead as the Toffees ended the game strongly. In the end though they had to settle with just the two, but can take great satisfaction with their performance.

Everton are now just two points behind third place Chelsea, with consecutive home games against Liverpool and Arsenal to come next week.

Speaking to the Everton official site, birthday girl Duggan said:

"We've been preparing for this game for a while now and it's good to come away with three points.

"Obviously getting the goal I'm delighted, it's a positive result and a good day.

"A few of the girls were just blowing the cobwebs out in the first 20 minutes but we've reinforced that we can't do that again.

"Once we scored the first goal we got a bit more confidence about us and you could see that in the girls and we've got to do that from the off next time.

Speaking after the game manager Mo Marley added:

"She took the first goal really well and credit to Toni, the cross was excellent and Toni did really well to get across the defender and finish it off comfortably.

"Toni's bright, wee know what she's capable of in the final third and she's not shy of coming forward when it comes to shots.

"We let her do those things because that's what she brings to the team."

Aged 8-16 and fancy testing out your football skills? Then check out the Soccer School Roadshow in Liverpool ahead of the Ladies' match with Liverpool on Wednesday. Click here for more details.

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