While Everton started out their Continental campaign with a disappointing loss against Durham, they have redeemed themselves Sunday with a positive performance against Reading, winning 3-2 at home. Last season, Reading kicked Everton out of the Conti Cup in December after winning on penalties so this result is especially delicious.
Playing at Southport’s Merseyrail Community Stadium, midfielder Claudia Walker, scored in the 14th minute off of an assist from Dominique Bruinenberg. After an unfortunate own goal from the Everton defense made it 1-1, Walker scored again in the 27th minute.
Summer signing Inessa Kaagman scored her first goal for Everton in the 56th minute. Former Toffee Brooke Chaplin made it 3-2 in the final minutes of the game for the Royals.
There were two keeper debuts, with Becky Flaherty getting her first start in between the sticks for Everton and Rachael Laws donning the gloves for Reading.
Woman of the Match
Claudia Walker, out for most of last season due to injury, reminded everyone of what the Toffees have been missing during her absence. Manager Andy Spence told SheKicks Magazine that he considers Walker’s reemergence back into the squad to be like a new signing and that she’s capable of scoring goals.
Walker told the WSL website that the team was excited to show off how hard they worked in the offseason:
“We had the fire in the belly to go out there and show what Everton’s about. We were on the front foot and got the goals. I think the new players have gelled really quickly. As a team we’ve been tight together and brought that onto the pitch.”
Andy Spence told the club’s website:
“It’s a result that can kickstart a season. When you don’t pick up results in your first few games, you can get a bit disheartened, but we have shown we are a team that wants to get it right. It was a real top display and a fully deserved win.”
Everton play Man City Wednesday and then Chelsea on Sunday. It’s a tough schedule, facing off against the top two teams in under a week, but Walker said the squad is ready:
”Getting our first win gives us confidence to go out there [against Man City] and play our game. We take each game as it comes – our target this year is to go out there and try to win every game. That’s the mindset so, while we’re happy we beat Reading, we’re straight onto the training pitch on Tuesday and back to work.”
Everton (3-4-2-1): Rebecca Flaherty; Megan Finnigan, Georgia Brougham, Gabby George; Faye Bryson, Angharad James, Dominique Bruinenberg, Dan Turner; Inessa Kaagman, Chloe Kelly; Claudia Walker
Substitutes: Simone Magill for Kaagman 82, Chantelle Boye-Hlorkah for Walker 87