Everton 1-2 Brighton: Terland double seals opening-day win
Elisabeth Terland's early double earned Brighton an opening Women's Super League victory over Everton at Walton Hall Park.
Terland struck twice in the opening 14 minutes of the 2-1 victory, with Megan Finnigan’s reply midway through the second half not enough for the hosts.
Brighton finished 11th in the table last season but some statement summer signings, notably Pauline Bremer from Wolfsburg and former Barcelona, Arsenal and Manchester City midfielder Vicky Losada, indicated they are aiming for much higher this time.
Both women started along with fellow new signings Sophie Baggaley in goal and defender Maria Thorisdottir and the visitors started at a different tempo to Everton, putting immediate pressure on the home defence.
They scored from their first real chance, winger Katie Robinson smashing a shot from outside the box against the bar and Terland heading the rebound past Emily Ramsey.
Robinson was part of England’s squad at the World Cup this summer and she was terrorising the Everton defence.
After Terland had shot narrowly past the post, a jinking run from Robinson saw her again play in the forward who shrugged off the close attentions of a defender to slot past Ramsey.
Everton, who finished sixth last season, were horribly off the pace, with neither of their new signings Karoline Olesen and Martina Piemonte making much of an impression.
They at last created an opening in the 24th minute, a move down the right setting up Nicoline Sorensen, who saw her initial shot blocked before crashing the follow-up against the bar.
Sorensen then could not direct a header on target before Piemonte saw her effort blocked but Brighton remained dangerous and Bremer nearly fashioned a third just before half-time.
The German drove strongly into the box from the left, her shot was well blocked but the rebound fell for Robinson, who volleyed into the side netting.
Everton were sent out early for the second half and set about trying to find a way back into the match but Piemonte could only manage two weak efforts from promising positions.
With 65 minutes gone, though, they found the goal they were looking for, a corner falling in front of goal for new captain Finnigan whose shot on the turn beat Baggaley.
Toffees boss Brian Sorensen immediately made a triple substitution, with new signings Emma Bissell, Heather Payne and Justine Vanhaevermaet joining the fray.
Brighton were very much on the defensive but almost grabbed a third, Tatiana Pinto coming off the bench for her debut but denied by a good block from Ramsey.
Sorensen’s last act was to throw on former England international Toni Duggan, returning after a year out following the birth of daughter Luella, but their only chance of a late equaliser was a Bissell shot that was blocked.