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Football - 28. July 2011.

FAWSL Review: Dramatic Birmingham turnaround stuns Bristol Academy

Birmingham City staged a late comeback to take three precious points away from Bristol while Everton finally got the better of their Merseyside rivals Liverpool with a 1-0 win.

By David Brenchley

Bristol Academy Women 2-3 Birmingham City Ladies (Attendance: 963)

Two late goals from Chelsea Weston and Rachel Williams helped Birmingham keep up their unbeaten record in a dramatic clash at Stoke Gifford.

Having seen the leaders take the lead early on, Bristol looked set for a shock victory before Blues struck in the final five minutes of the game.

Birmingham took a rather fortuitous lead when a beautifully weighted Jo Potter through ball found Karen Carney onside but, although her shot was saved, the rebound fell to Marie Ballard who broke the deadlock.

Jemma Rose had already struck the crossbar from a close range free kick before the goal and the hosts looked the better side when Anouk Hoogendijk headed just wide from a deep Ann-Marie Heatherson cross.

Skipper Corinne Yorston and midfielder Jess Fishlock also went close before the leveller came with 20 minutes to go.

When replacement keeper Leanne Hall couldn't hold onto a couple of crosses, Fishlock needed two bites at the cherry but finally put the hosts on level terms.

That was only the beginning of the drama, though, as substitute Helen Bleazard's cross was headed home with aplomb by striker Heatherson at the far post.

Just as it looked like Bristol would do Arsenal a favour, the visitors won a corner with just three minutes remaining. The kick was cleared to the edge of the area where full back Weston unleashed a rocket that flew over a crowded penalty area and into the roof of the net.

It was then up to the league's top goalscorer Williams to show her quality and latch onto a long ball over the top and help it ove the onrushing Siobhan Chamberlain to secure the three points.

Blues boss David Parker was delighted with the character of his team's performance, saying: "The mental strength and never-say-die attitude the team showed was magnificent."

"I thought the game had gone when Bristol went 2-1 up because some of our girls were scratching their heads and wondering how they were going to get an equaliser.

"When it went to 2-2, I thought that would be it. But we had one last chance, and when it drops to Rachel then you know something might happen. Thankfully, it did."

Everton Ladies 1-0 Liverpool Ladies (Attendance 1,135)

Everton moved above Chelsea into third place and made it two wins in two for the second half of the season thanks to a first half Natasha Dowie strike.

Winger Toni Duggan continued to impress as her cross into the box was not dealt with by the Liverpool defence and Dowie poked home.

Duggan then narrowly headed moments later from a Jody Handley centre before Kelly Jones and Nicky Twohig went close to equalising for the bottom-placed side.

The Toffees finished the game as strongly as they started, though, with Dowie, Brooke Chaplen and Gwennan Harries close to adding a second.

Winning manager Mo Marley was happy with the improvement in results but admitted he side still have a lot of improving to do.

"We're happy with the three points and the clean sheet against Liverpool but we can play a lot better than that," she said.

"We have to give credit to Liverpool because they made it difficult for us and got players behind the ball when we had it.

"But we can play a lot better than that. By our high standards we were disappointed. We've got to keep the ball better.

"The funny thing is we played better than that in the first half of the season and didn't get the result, so we'll take that.

"And, if we win all the games for the rest of the season playing scruffy, then I'll settle for that."

Elsewhere, Arsenal face Chelsea tonight in a London derby that could see the Gunners close the gap on Birmingham or Chelsea re-take third spot from Everton. Kick off is 1945 at Meadow Park, Boreham Wood. WSR will be at the game so follow me on Twitter for live updates and reaction.

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