Much of Everton Ladies preseason has been shrouded in mystery this summer; the club hasn’t provided coverage about any of the matches except for the very last game against Ajax, but here’s what we do know:
Manager Willie Kirk recently told Everton.com:
“We’ve had seven pre-season matches and won six of them, and I think the players will be taking from that confidence every week. There has been steady progress. The new players have all settled in great, too.”
For a team that only won three games last season, winning six games in preseason would surely be a much-needed confidence boost. However, Kirk did not mention that at least five of these preseason wins were against semi-professional teams in the second tier of English women’s football.
Kirk stated that there were seven total games, but the club had only mentioned six in their initial tweet about their preseason schedule, so one game was a complete secret.
There were a few games that the opposite team had provided match coverage for and that’s the only way we found details out about them. Here’s what we know:
Sunday 14 July vs Blackburn: This took place behind closed doors at Finch Farm and was a win, but the score was not publicly disclosed.
Saturday 20 July vs Leicester: This was an away game and Everton won, but the score was not publicly disclosed.
Friday 26 July vs Aston Villa: (Away) 2-1 loss
This is concerning because Aston Villa is a semi-professional team in the second tier. There were no details about who scored the goal for Everton or their starting lineup. Aston Villa came in 6th place in the 2018/2019 season in the Championship.
There was plenty of action in our 2-1 pre-season victory against Everton on Friday...— Aston Villa Women (@AVWFCOfficial) July 29, 2019
@jodie_hutton on the drums
@HassallAlice making an appearance
@melgemjohnson finding the net again
Asmita Ale scoring a stunner
Here are the best bits! #SeeUsRoar #UTV #AVFC pic.twitter.com/Jw665PKDo8
Sunday 4 August vs Sheffield United: (Away) 4-0 win
This is how the scoreline should look when playing a semi-professional team. From social media, we know that the new signing, Tinja-Riikka Korpela, not only got a start in goal but was also made Captain. There were no specific details found about who scored the goals for Everton.
Sunday 11 August vs Durham: (Away) 2-0 win
This is a good sign because Everton started off last season with a disappointing 1-0 loss against Durham in an FA Cup game in August 2018. The first goal was an own goal and the second was scored by midfielder Inessa Kaagman, who was last season’s top goalscorer. Kirstie Levell started in goal and there was a practice penalty shoot out afterwards, which Everton won.
Saturday 17 August vs Ajax: (Away) 2-1 win
This game took place at Olympic Stadium in Amsterdam against a Dutch professional team that came in second place in their league last season. New signing Lucy Graham was made Captain and Korpela got another start in goal. In the first 10 minutes, Ajax converted a penalty kick after Hannah Cain was called for a handball. In a twist of karmic fate, the ref called a handball on an Ajax player in the 49th minute and Cain converted the penalty kick to make it 1-1. In the 60th minute, Megan Finnigan headed a corner into the net to make it 2-1.
Unfortunately, new signing Maeva Clemaron and midfielder Abbey Leigh Stringer left the game with injuries in the first half. No updates on their injury have been provided but the club has disclosed that new Dutch signing Kika van Es will miss the beginning part of the season due to knee surgery.
Everton’s first game of the season will be against Birmingham on September 8th and Kirk told Everton.com that the squad will be attending a “team building camp” before then to get them out of their “comfort zone.”
Let’s hope that club management is doing some team building exercises of their own by signing a new striker before the transfer deadline closes on September 5th! Everton has brought on six new players: three midfielders, a goalie, and two defenders but for a team that only scored 15 league goals last season, they are in desperate need of a striker.