Everton Women face fellow WSL side Birmingham City on Thursday, March 11th at 9:00 a.m. EST/2:00 p.m. GMT, with the game being played at the Damson Park. Sunday’s meeting marks the third and final encounter between the two sides this season in all competitions.
Despite coming off a 1–0 loss to Manchester City last weekend, Everton have improved over their previous two matches. After returning from the international break, the Toffees won a back-and-forth contest with Tottenham, defeating the London outfit, 3–2. And the Merseyside club held a Man City squad that was averaging four goals per game in their last eight fixtures to just one goal.
A recent 1–1 draw between Everton and Birmingham left the Toffees ruing missed opportunities in what was a winnable affair — the Toffees held 72-percent possession but couldn’t break the tie.
“We were disappointed with our performance last time against Birmingham,” said Everton Manager Willie Kirk. “That will be our motivator; I won’t need to say much. We do feel that was points dropped.”
Since facing the Toffees in early February, Birmingham have had two forgettable fixtures: two 4–0 losses, one to Man City and one to Arsenal. Despite matching up well against the Goodison gang, the West Midlands outfit sit just three points from safety. With Birmingham coming off two deflating matches, and Everton trending upwards, the visitors must get a result from Thursday’s contest.
Everton, though, will be without both of their starting fullbacks, as Danielle Turner is dealing with a calf issue, which will limit her to a bench appearance, and Ingrid Moe Wold has been ruled out of the affair entirely with a leg injury. As such, Poppy Pattinson, who deputized for Turner at the weekend against the Citizens, will be tasked with patrolling the left side of Everton’s defense.
With there not being a like-for-like replacement for Moe Wold, Kirk most likely will deploy a back three of Rikke Sevecke on the left, Gabby George in the center and Megan Finnigan on the right. The Scottish manager presumably would choose Hayley Raso and Claire Emslie to be the formation’s wingbacks.
Also keep an eye out for Club Captain Lucy Graham, who on Tuesday signed a two-year extension with the club. “As soon as I got the chance to bring Lucy Graham here, I did - and now it’s the right time to extend,” Kirk said. “It’s a huge boost. “She’s had less game time recently, but Lucy operates best when she’s under pressure and she’s working even harder on the training pitch.”
Birmingham feature several former Evertonians: Lucy Whipp, Georgia Brougham (on loan and ineligible to play against Everton), Mollie Green and Claudia Walker. England goalkeeping prospect Hannah Hampton is one of the league’s top netminders, and the Blues play through their captain, Christie Murray, in the center of the pitch. Despite conceding the fewest goals of any team outside the top five, Birmingham parted ways with Rachel Corsie, whose play at center-back was vital to an impressive defensive unit — the Scottish center-half returned to Kansas City NWSL after her loan spell ended in January.
These two sides met just over one month ago in the league. Everton held 72-percent possession, more than doubled City’s passes and logged nine corners while the opposition managed just two. Even though the three points were there to be had, a second-attempt penalty cost the Toffees two points and a vital win in the chase for the top four. The two clubs also met in the semifinal of the FA Cup, a comfortable 3–0 win for the Merseyside club.
Competition: FA Women’s Super League
Date and start time: Thursday, March 11th at 9:00 a.m. ET/2:00 p.m. GMT
Stadium: Damson Park, Solihull, West Midlands, England, United Kingdom
Capacity: 5,500 (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), ATA Football (free, registration required)