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FA WSL Preview: Everton vs Reading | Toffees face true test of resolve against The Royals

The Blues enter Saturday’s matchup having lost two straight games

Everton v Manchester United - Barclays FA Women’s Super League Photo by Lewis Storey/Getty Images

Everton face fellow WSL side Reading on Saturday, November 14th at 11.30am ET / 4.30 pm GMT, with the game being played at Walton Hall Park.

For the first time in the league season, the Blues will enter a match having lost consecutive games. Ahead of Saturday’s clash with mid-table Reading, Everton have lost to Manchester City in the FA Cup final and 4–0 to Chelsea last Sunday.

When asked about the significance of Saturday’s match against Reading, manager Willie Kirk was nothing but blunt regarding what his team’s mentality should be.

“We need to show resilience now,” Kirk said. “We have to train very hard during the week and make sure we’re ready for Saturday against Reading.”

Ahead of this fixture, Everton, who once sat second in the table, have dropped to fourth. The Toffees are only two points clear of City, a team which already has defeated them twice. Everton are 1–1–1 in their last three league games, and while they have scored five goals in that span, they also have conceded seven times. The defence must be sharper against a crafty Reading side.

Reading, meanwhile, are firmly entrenched in the middle of the table with eight points. Their 2–2–2 start has seen them nestle into sixth place in the 12-team table. Reading have beaten teams they were supposed to — defeating Aston Villa and West Ham — but have seen mixed results against higher quality opponents; they suffered a 6–1 defeat against Arsenal but tied with City 1–1. A loss to Birmingham City and a draw against Tottenham saw Reading drop points, but this is a team that can break opponents down and threaten on the counter attack.

With Lucy Graham — who was absent in the Chelsea clash due to injury — returning to the line-up, Valérie Gauvin is the only player unavailable against Reading. Gauvin is set to miss an extended period of time with a muscle injury; Kirk announced that he doesn’t believe the French striker will be able to return to action before Christmas.

With Gauvin out, expect Simone Magill to lead the charge in the attack once again, with Izzy Christiansen and Graham patrolling the midfield. Look for a bounce back performance from goalkeeper Sandy MacIver, who has conceded seven goals in her last two games — a record that inaccurately reflects her abilities in net.

Even in sixth place, Reading have a formidable squad. Danielle Carter paces the attack, with former Evertonian Angharad James and experienced midfielder Jess Fishlock anchoring the midfield. Reading also boast one of the league’s most complete defences, featuring Molly Bartrip, Deanna Cooper, Natasha Harding and Emma Mitchell, all of whom have experience in the WSL.

Last Meeting

The last meeting between these two sides was on January 19, 2019, a 3–1 away win for the Toffees. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the two sides were able to play both their scheduled matches last season. While Everton won the second meeting, Reading were the victors on October 13 in a 3–2 win. It has been over a year since The Royals played a competitive match at Walton Hall Park; let’s hope the outcome favours the hosts this time.

Match Details

Competition: FA Women’s Super League

Date and start time: Saturday, November 14th at 11.30am ET / 4.30pm GMT

Stadium: Walton Hall Park, Liverpool, England, United Kingdom

Capacity: 2,200 (behind closed doors)

How to Watch/Listen

TV & Radio: N/A

Match Centre: evertontv

Live stream: evertontv (free for members, registration required), FA WSL (free, registration required)