Five things we learned
The second week of Barclays FA WSL action gave us further insight into how the league may shape up this season. Here’s five things we learned.
Resurgent City march on
A Pauline Bremer double extended Manchester City’s imposing start to the season as Nick Cushing’s side sent out a further statement of their title credentials at Reading.
The German international, who suffered a broken leg during her first season in the north-west, showed her natural goalscoring instincts as she curled home a fine opener on half an hour before coolly slotting a second after a brief period of pinball in the box.
Cushing’s players have come out of the blocks with great alacrity this campaign, seizing local bragging rights over rivals Manchester United last weekend in front of a 31,000-strong crowd at the Etihad Stadium.
But this week they appeared an even more polished outfit, controlling a game against Kelly Chambers’ side they never looked like losing.
And with Joe Montemurro’s Arsenal far from their best last weekend and not playing until this evening, will they feel the City pressure?
Kelly in red hot form as Everton on the rise
For star of the weekend look no further than the brilliant Chloe Kelly, who submitted her early entries for the goal of the season award with two stunning strikes against Bristol City.
The start of this Barclays FA WSL season has seen a series of long-range efforts, with stunners from Caroline Weir, Beth England and Fara Williams catching the eye last weekend.
And now it was Kelly’s turn to join in the fun, firing in first off the post and then drilling a rising 25-yard effort past Sophie Baggaley to secure Willie Kirk’s side the points.
It may only be two games in but Everton look a rejuvenated outfit this year, with their two wins already putting them just one short of last term’s overall haul.
And if they are to continue their rise up the table, the form of Kelly will almost certainly be crucial in determining their fate.
Late drama down in Sussex
It was a late, late show at Brighton as Aileen Whelan’s 84th-minute strike was cancelled out by Chelsea super-sub Adelina Engman’s close-range equaliser in stoppage time.
The beginning of this WSL season has seen no shortage of drama, and the forward’s late heroics provided further evidence of just how entertaining this campaign promises to be.
Despite contesting a largely uneventful first 80 minutes in which neither side really threatened, both sets of players saved their best efforts until the 11th hour as Whelan scored what she must have thought was the decisive goal.
But it was the Finn who had the last laugh, emulating her compatriot Teemu Pukki’s Premier League heroics for Norwich City, to send her team back to London with a point.
Spurs collect first points
It was a watershed day for Tottenham as they picked up their first win in Barclays FA WSL history, toppling Vicky Jepson’s Liverpool who suffered from a lack of discipline at The Hive.
Rachel Furness was the scorer of the historic goal for the club, slotting home coolly from the penalty spot after being fouled by full-back Becky Jane on the stroke of half-time.
The Reds were reduced to ten just after the hour mark as Niamh Fahey was given her marching orders for bringing down an onrushing Rosella Ayane – who was clean through on goal.
And their rallying efforts were visibly hampered by their numerical disadvantage, as Spurs held on to clinch a momentous victory that will instil confidence going forward this season.
Blues’ early-season woes
West Ham heaped further misery on the beginning of Birmingham’s season, winning 1-0 at Rush Green stadium to leave the Blues pointless going into next week’s break from Barclays FA WSL action.
It’s been a difficult start for the Blues, who finished fourth last term but look well short of the quality they delivered on such a regular basis last season.
Adriana Leon was Marta Tejedor’s side's nemesis in the capital this weekend, dealing the decisive blow in the 27th minute before summer signing Martha Thomas went close to doubling their advantage.
And despite Hammers keeper Courtney Brosnan fumbling Lucy Staniforth’s long-range effort onto the bar, the Blues were unable to ever gain a real foothold in the contest.
The season may still be young, but Birmingham look worryingly short of the creativity and defensive solidity they displayed so frequently last term.
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