Everton Ladies made history today by being the first team in the WSL to ever lose to Yeovil Town, a team that hasn’t won a single one of their 41 matches over the last two years.
Everton Ladies are now at the very bottom of the table in the relegation zone and they can’t blame it on “silly mistakes.” It’s because they lost to everyone, even to the team with the worst record in the WSL ever.
Sounds harsh, doesn’t it? But it’s true.
Yeovil Town seemed optimistic heading into the match, despite their record. They heavily marketed the match, drawing a sizeable crowd (bigger than what Everton Ladies home games typically get). For Yoevil, the crowd worked as the 12th woman.
Everton’s lineup had a few changes following their loss to West Ham: Faye Bryson, Dominique Bruinenberg, and Chantelle Boye-Hlorkah received starts while Georgia Brougham, Taylor Hinds, and Angharad James moved to the bench.
Thing started off well for Everton, with a few players getting chances early. The game shifted after the 20th minute when Siri Worm went out due to injury and defender Georgia Brougham was subbed on. A minute later, Lady Glovers center back Hannah Short scored from about 35 yards out after goalie Kirstie Levell misjudged the shot.
After the half, manager Andy Spence decided to take off captain Dan Turner and put on striker Hannah Cain, who had the best chance at scoring in the 78th minute, bending a shot into the corner only to see Yeovil keeper, Walsh, make an amazing save.
Turns out Walsh made a lot of saves. The Toffees had 28 shots, with 12 on target.
Possession: Everton: 45% Yeovil: 55%
Shots: Everton: 28 Yeovil: 7
Shots on Target: Everton: 12 Yeovil: 4
Corners: Everton: 10 Yeovil: 0
Despite the grim reality of Everton Ladies being in the relegation zone, there has been no mention of it from the club. Manager Spence’s post-game quotes were oddly positive, stating that because they had “close to 30 shots” the team should’ve won “three games.” (If only things worked that way!)
Everton did take four times the amount of shots but less than half of them were on target. Yeovil only took 7 shots but more than half were on target. And one went in. That was the difference.
And Spence knows it:
“Unfortunately, we’ve faced some really good goalkeeping and situations where we could’ve been more clinical.”
But he’s still sugar-coating things way too much:
“I said to the girls at half-time, in terms of attacking displays that was probably the best we’ve played all season. We had to remain calm as it was a big game.
“On a normal day, I think we’d be talking about a fantastic win. It’s important the girls stick together now and respond in the way I know they will because there’s some top talent there.”
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before:
“It just wasn’t our day.”
It just wasn’t Everton’s day when they failed to win every single one of their six league games so far.
Spence admitted to being disappointed with the draw against Brighton and despite the high number of shots taken on Sunday, this historic loss is reason for concern. Everton desperately needs to get a win, but the easiest part of the first half of their schedule has already passed. After a week off for international break, Everton faces front-runners Arsenal in a televised match.
Arsenal will win that game. At this rate, if Everton can hold the Gunners to 7 goals, like Yeovil Town did earlier this season, it will be the best they can do.
But manager Spence seems to have his head in the clouds:
“The outside world will say it’s Arsenal’s three points which is normal given the positions of the two clubs, but we’ll be determined.”
It’s one thing to be hopeful and positive but there needs to be a reality check. Something needs to change. What is Everton’s response? How are they going to dig themselves out of the relegation zone?
In October, Yeovil Town Ladies announced a new Chairman of the club, which took place with immediate effect. What will Everton leadership decide to do for the womens’ team?
At the start of the season, new CEO Denise Barrett-Baxendale told ESPN about the club’s ambitions:
“Football has changed massively since I joined Everton eight years ago. Clubs are huge, complex organisations, particularly at the top end of the Premier League, so to be competitive we must continue to grow and evolve.”
And football has changed massively for the Women’s Super League in just the past year. To be competitive, Everton Ladies must continue to grow and evolve too — so what’s the plan?
Stay tuned for more coverage on how the team got to be where they are today and some ideas on how to make things better but for now, this loss has to settle in and it has to sting. Because Everton Ladies players and fans deserve better than this:
Everton (3-4-3): Kirstie Levell; Megan Finnigan, Gabrielle George, Siri Worm; Faye Bryson, Dominique Bruinenberg, Abbey Stringer, Danielle Turner; Chantelle Boye-Hlorkah, Inessa Kaagman, Chloe Kelly.
Substitutes: Georgia Brougham for Worm 20, Hannah Cain for Turner 45, Claudia Walker for Bryson 77.
Subs not used: Angharad James, Taylor Hinds.