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FA WSL Preview: Everton vs Reading | Fifth meets sixth on Valentine’s Day

Everton hope to regain early-season form to defeat surging Reading 

Everton Women v Birmingham City Women - Barclays FA Women’s Super League Photo by Emma Simpson - Everton FC/Everton FC via Getty Images

Everton Women face fellow WSL side Reading on Sunday, February 14th at 9:00 a.m. ET/2:00 p.m. GMT, with the game being played at Madejski Stadium. This match was originally set to be played on Wednesday the 10th but was pushed back four days due to a conflict with the Reading men’s team.

Everton are coming off of an underwhelming performance against Birmingham City last weekend. In a game that would have benefitted the team’s top-three hopes, the Toffees failed to gain ground on Arsenal, Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea — last weekend, the Gunners, Red Devils and Blues all dropped points.

Following back-to-back disappointing results — including the tie against Birmingham and a 2–0 loss to United — Everton Head Coach Willie Kirk preached a return to the way his team was playing at the beginning of the season.

“Our playing style is in transition… at the start of the season it was like watching basketball, at times,” he said. “That was great to watch, but we knew we needed to start controlling games.”

Everton’s form has been erratic this season, with highlights including an FA Cup quarterfinal win over Chelsea and a streak of six-straight wins to start the season, only to suffer crushing defeats — a loss in the FA Cup final and blowouts against Chelsea, Arsenal and Man City.

Reading, meanwhile, play host to Everton after perhaps their finest win of the season last weekend. The Royals handed United a 2–0 loss, in Manchester. Goals from Danielle Carter and Nat Harding, two WSL veterans, saw United pick up only their second loss of the campaign. Reading undoubtedly will bring that same energy into Sunday’s affair.

With Izzy Christiansen signing a two-and-a-half-year-contract extension and goalkeeper Sandy MacIver and midfielder Jill Scott being called into the Lionesses squad for this month’s international camp, there has been positive news coming from Walton Hall Park. Add to that Gabby George’s return from a year-long recovery from an ACL injury and the energy is right to serve as a catalyst for an Everton team that has lost its way.

What makes Reading such a dangerous team — and why they were able to defeat one of the top teams in the league last weekend — is the substantial experience on their roster, a roster that features Carter and Harding, as well as Jess Fishlock, Angharad James, Deanna Cooper and Emma Mitchell. The Royals have accomplished internationals on all levels of the pitch, which makes them a formidable side capable of winning on any given night.

Last Meeting

The last time Everton met Reading was November 14, a 1–1 draw at Walton Hall. The home team notched the opening tally of the game, only to see the visitors counter three minutes later. Both teams had a good share of possession — Reading 52-percent to Everton’s 48 — with the Toffees firing four shots on net to the Royals’ three. Even though the two sides are level with 18 points apiece, separated only on goal differential —plus-four to minus-five — the Blues have a pair of games in hand. A win would give the fifth-place team some breathing room in a congested middle third of the table.

Match Details

Competition: FA Women’s Super League

Date and start time: Sunday, February 14th at 9:00 a.m. ET / 2:00 p.m. GMT

Stadium: Madejski Stadium, Reading, England, United Kingdom

Capacity: 24,161 (behind closed doors)

How to Watch/Listen

TV & Radio: N/A

Match Center: evertontv

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

Lineup: