Everton Women started their season off on the right foot, winning 1-0 away against Birmingham City. The winning goal, an own goal off of forward Hannah Cain’s cross, was scored in the first minute of the second half.
What we learned:
1. Manager Willie Kirk is favouring experience in goal
Before the start of the season, we wondered who would start in goal, homegrown keeper Kirstie Levell or the new signing from Finland, Korpela, who is 11 years older and has Champions League experience. Turns out Kirk is going for experience in goal and so far it paid off because Korpela saved the day with 4 saves.
2. Kirk is not afraid to play the youngest players
New signings Molly Pike and Esme Morgan are both 18 years old and earned starting spots in the lineup. Midfielder Pike had a shot on goal while defender Morgan did a good job of soaking up the pressure and securing the clean sheet.
3. Kika van Es’ recovery from injury is further along than we thought
Over the summer, it was reported that new signing from Netherlands, van Es, had received knee surgery and would be out for the beginning of the season but she subbed into the game in the final minutes and we couldn’t be more thrilled to see her fully fit and ready to go.
4. While large derbies in large stadiums made headlines, Everton’s season started out with the lowest attended game once again.
Manchester City beat Manchester United 1-0 in front of over 31,000 fans at the Etihad Stadium, and 24,564 watched Chelsea beat Tottenham Hotspur at Stamford Bridge. Based on those match ups, it would’ve made sense for Everton to play Liverpool at Goodison or Anfield but for some reason the Toffees played Birmingham instead in front of 873 fans, which is around the average WSL attendance from last season.
Of the large turnout at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea Manager Emma Hayes said, “People’s consciousness, women’s football continuing to grow and I am so proud of this football club.” Going forward, the league needs to help Merseyside make history too.
5. Everton Women debuted not only a new name for their first game of the season but a winning mentality.
After the game, defender Dan Turner called the performance “ugly in patches, but the main thing was getting the result.” The Blue Women only won 3 games last season and they already have one from the first week. Winning, ugly or not, is the priority
Everton (4-3-3): Tinja-Riikka Korpela; Esme Morgan, Megan Finnigan, Gabrielle George, Danielle Turner; Molly Pike, Lucy Graham, Inessa Kaagman; Simone Magill, Hannah Cain, Chloe Kelly
Substitutes: Elise Hughes for Kaagman 71, Taylor Hinds for Cain 87, Kika van Es for Morgan 90+2
Substitutes not used: Kirstie Levell, Georgia Brougham, Faye Bryson, Maeva Clemaron