Everton Ladies won their first match of the season — and in a Merseyside derby of all games!
The Toffees looked like a whole new team in their 2-1 home win, perhaps partly due to new manager, Willie Kirk, who started training with the squad on Thursday. The Scotsman has experience working as assistant manager at Man United Women and as manager at Bristol City. Kirk brings with him a new assistant manager as well, Chris Roberts, who worked alongside him at Bristol.
Kirk apparently knows a thing or two about beating Liverpool, as he helped Casey Stoney’s Man United Women beat the Reds back in August for a Continental Cup game.
The new personnel brought about a rejuvenation of the squad and they played with real confidence.
Two Everton midfielders scored two incredible goals for the Blues today — you’re going to want to check them both out!
It only took five minutes for Dutchwoman Inessa Kaagman to score from 30 yards away, certainly giving Phil Jagielka lots of competition for Best Derby Goal in recent history.
Kudos to Angaharad James for winning the ball in order for Kaagman to gift us this gorgeous goal in the top corner:
Liverpool forward Jess Clarke equalised from close range after a corner in the 12th minute. Defending set pieces is definitely something Everton needs to continue to work on.
The winning goal came from Northern Ireland international Simone Magill in the 41st minute and it was another long range shot that ended up in the top corner:
Liverpool striker Courtney Sweetman-Kirk (who was an Everton striker until she joined the Reds over the summer) did not have a great day against her former club, failing to score even on an open net in the second half after goalie Kirstie Levell cleared her line.
In Willie Kirk’s post match interview with the club’s website, he seems to be striking the right balance of applauding his side’s performance while still wanting more out of them:
“That result sets the minimum standard. We will be pushing ourselves to see what our standard is.”
“I think they played to 50-60 per cent of their potential of the squad so if we can work on a few things then hopefully we can get better and better. We know there will be some bumps on the way, but in general terms we will improve I’m sure of it.”
Match winner, Magill, agrees that this is only the beginning:
“We are all thrilled to have [Kirk] as manager and we are already starting to see signs of what is to come. He has taken a few sessions this week and we showed how we are already feeling the benefit of him. We all really believe that this is the start of something special.
Everton Ladies improved their shots on target rate and their possession.
Possession: Everton: 53%, Liverpool 47%
Shots on Target: Everton: 7 (of 11), Liverpool 5 (of 11)
Everton (4-2-3-1): Kirstie Levell; Megan Finnigan, Georgia Brougham, Gabby George, Taylor Hinds; Dominique Bruinenberg, Angharad James; Hannah Cain, Inessa Kaagman, Chloe Kelly; Simone Magill
Substitutes: Claudia Walker for Hannah Cain on 36, Faye Bryson for Inessa Kaagman on 66, Chantelle Boye-Hlorkah for Chloe Kelly on 83
Substitutes not used: Becky Flaherty, Abbie Stringer, Elise Hughes
A few quick thoughts from this one:
- Striker Hannah Cain was subbed off with an injury in the 36th minute.
- Captain Dan Turner was absent from the lineup for the third game in a row.
- Taylor Hinds got her first start in awhile and impressed.
- England international Gabby George was tireless with the tackles.
- There were no cards given during a derby, if you can believe it!
Woman of the Match
Midfielder Inessa Kaagman got the party started right! Right! And quickly! Right?
Everton play Liverpool again on Wednesday night for a Continental Cup game. But no matter what happens, Everton won when it counted the most.
With their first 3 points of the season, the Blues move up the table to 9th place (out of 11) and are safely out of the relegation zone.
ICYMI, you can watch a replay of the match here, which was broadcast live on the WSL Facebook page.
Up the Toffees!