Everton Ladies have suffered another embarrassing 1-0 loss against a previously winless team in WSL — Yeovil Town. This time it was at home.
It was with a new manager, Willie Kirk, who was brought in after longtime manager, Andy Spence, had lost to Yeovil Town, something that caused a lot of heartache to the squad, according to what Kirk told SheKicks Magazine:
“You have a manager who has been there for years, he becomes a friend and then he gets sacked and I think the players started to feel guilty about it.”
Since Spence left, Everton won twice against Liverpool and once against West Ham, so despite several losses and an inability to score, things were looking up. Last week, Yeovil Town announced their inability to financially support a first-tier women’s side and had accepted a 10 point deduction, saying they were looking forward to a 2019/2020 season in the Championship.
So, things were looking good for Everton to host the Glovers — and prove that they had improved since November.
Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. Despite 60% possession and 10 shot attempts, Everton Ladies didn’t score any goals and lost to Yeovil Town once again. The Glovers’ only two wins in the WSL have both come against Everton.
The lineup featured young Wales striker Elise Hughes getting a start. In the 56th minute, captain Gabby George went off with a hamstring injury and Megan Finnigan was subbed on.
In the 77th minute, Yeovil Town defender Megan Alexander caught Blues goalie Kirstie Levell off guard with a shot from a difficult angle that looked like a cross, and the Toffees were never able to finish any of their chances to make a comeback.
Willie Kirk told the WSL website after the game:
“The performance today doesn’t reflect what we have been working on and I make no excuses for that.”
“The pitch was obviously a factor in today’s game, but it was the same for Yeovil and they took their chance when it came.”
There are no details about the Southport pitch and why it would have been a factor. There were also injuries, including George and also striker Chloe Kelly, who is out for the rest of the season. But even with injuries, why is Everton the only team to lose to Yeovil Town? It raises quite a few important questions.
Attendance at Southport was at an all-time low at 230 people, something that can definitely be a factor as well. When Everton lost away to Yeovil Town in November, the Glovers had an audience of 732 fans. Attendance size and fan support matter and unfortunately, the women’s side in a football-crazy city is not getting the numbers it deserves.
Yeovil Town, a team that has admitted that it cannot fully compensate its players, beat Everton, a Premier League club that boasts of men’s players that are paid £60,000 to £150,000 a week. It makes you wonder, what kind of financial resources are being committed to the women’s side when a team that prefers to be part-time beats them?
Imagine if Everton’s men’s side lost twice to Huddersfield, a team that is already guaranteed relegation.
Everton Ladies are still in 10th place with 9 points and now Yeovil Town has -3 points, but if it wasn’t for the point deduction, they would be at 7 points, within only 2 points of the Blues.
Yeovil Town have already accepted that they cannot be full-time next season and will be going down to the Championship, but the WSL website stated that Yeovil Town “now need to win all four remaining games this season, with Everton losing theirs, and achieve a significant goal difference swing in their favour to avoid the drop.”
Regardless, Yeovil Town will not be winning the remaining 4 games of their season anyways because they most certainly won’t be beating Chelsea. Or any other team in the WSL (that isn’t Everton). And yet, Everton has managed to still find itself not technically safe from relegation despite the fact a team has been docked 10 points!
Lee Burch, Yeovil’s manager, told the WSL website after the game,
”We are not looking at the league table any more. We know the situation that we’re in, and I just want the players to enjoy the last four games. I want the players to enjoy playing elite level football until the end of the season.”
While Yeovil Town are enjoying their football, Everton need to find a better stadium to play in that is more convenient for fans to get to, have an amazing off season full of recruitment that includes a new striker or two, and come up with a strategy to keep incoming Man United Women from poaching their best players, namely Gabby George who is a lifelong Red Devil.
If they don’t, Everton will be going down after the 2019/2020 season is over.
Kirk said after the game:
”On the whole we know what we need to do in the coming weeks and looking further ahead to the summer.”
Emphasis on the summer! Kirk is a straight shooter and let’s hope he gives it to upper management straight: Everton needs more support in order to survive in the WSL!
Everton host Birmingham City on 17 April.
Come on you Blues!