Everton were pushed all the way before beating Reading in an entertaining Women’s Super League game at Walton Hall Park.
First-half goals from Katja Snoejis and Jess Park put the hosts in control before Reading rallied after the break.
Justine Vanhaevermaet and Deanna Cooper scored for the visitors, either side of a beauty from Everton captain Gabby George, to set up an exciting finish.
Brian Sorensen’s team held on to move up to fifth in the table.
Everton went in front after nine minutes when Snoejis turned home George’s cross from the left after smart work from Park to create an opening.
Reading kept Everton pegged back for the next 20 minutes without posing much threat, but Everton doubled their lead on the break.
Park drove forward, played a one-two with Nicoline Sorensen and cut inside Reading defender Gemma Evans before finishing clinically with her left foot.
Sanne Troelsgaard wasted a glorious opportunity to hit back immediately after getting in down the left, but turned down the chance to shoot and, with three team-mates waiting to tap the ball into an empty net, picked out Amalie Eikeland, the only player in an offside position.
Reading halved the deficit with Vanhaevermaet’s powerful near-post header from Faye Bryson’s corner.
A minute later, though, George strode forward, cut inside on to her right foot and unleashed a venomous shot from 20 yards into the top corner.
Another set-piece brought Reading’s second, and a third goal in eight second-half minutes, with Cooper nodding home after a deep free-kick ricocheted into her path off Evans.
Despite chances for both sides late on, Reading could not force an equaliser and remain 10th – seven points clear of the relegation place.
- 5BjörnSubstituted forFinniganat 45′minutes
- 6GeorgeSubstituted forHolmgaardat 64′minutes
- 10BennisonSubstituted forChristiansenat 87′minutes
- 22GalliSubstituted forWheelerat 87′minutes
- 14SørensenSubstituted forBeever-Jonesat 63′minutes
- 9EikelandBooked at 85mins
- 11WadeSubstituted forWellingsat 65′minutes
Match ends, Everton Women 3, Reading Women 2.
Second Half ends, Everton Women 3, Reading Women 2.
Attempt missed. Izzy Christiansen (Everton Women) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right.
Foul by Agnes Beever-Jones (Everton Women).
Gemma Evans (Reading Women) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Offside, Everton Women. Clare Wheeler tries a through ball, but Sara Holmgaard is caught offside.
Emily Ramsey (Everton Women) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Natasha Dowie (Reading Women).
Agnes Beever-Jones (Everton Women) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Emma Harries (Reading Women).
Foul by Lucy Hope (Everton Women).
Sanne Troelsgaard (Reading Women) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Attempt missed. Katja Snoeijs (Everton Women) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right.
Substitution, Everton Women. Izzy Christiansen replaces Hanna Bennison.
Substitution, Everton Women. Clare Wheeler replaces Aurora Galli.
Amalie Eikeland (Reading Women) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Foul by Aurora Galli (Everton Women).
Faye Bryson (Reading Women) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt missed. Katja Snoeijs (Everton Women) header from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Lucy Hope with a cross.
Corner, Reading Women. Conceded by Sara Holmgaard.