With the wind swirling around St. George’s Park on Thursday evening, the two teams facing off struggled to establish any consistency in the early stages of the game. Poppy Pattinson, who was filling in at left back for Danielle Turner, knocked an ill-advised pass back to Sandy MacIver, who did well to only concede a throw-in.
Scary scenes ensued two minutes later when Claudia Walker got in behind Everton’s defense and collided with MacIver, who had rushed out to challenge the forward. Both players crumpled to the ground, and each side’s medical staff was swiftly ushered onto the field.
Walker managed to get up and walk around, but MacIver stayed on the turf for around eight minutes. After attempting to stay on the field, it was apparent that the young shot-stopper had to be withdrawn. Even though backup goalie Tinja-Riikka Korpela came in on short notice, Birmingham City failed to register a single shot on net — resulting in an uneventful affair for the Finnish international.
Everton’s breakthrough came in the 36’. Hayley Raso, who was Ingrid Moe Wold’s replacement at right back, picked up the ball in the Toffees’ half and sped up the right channel. She worked a quick one-two with Claire Emslie and drove the end line, at which point the Australian speedster picked out Jill Scott in the center of the box. England’s second-most capped player then struck a one-touch shot into the bottom-left corner to open the scoring.
Four goals.— Everton Women (@EvertonWomen) March 11, 2021
Clean sheet. ⛔️ pic.twitter.com/JoMrCfvQeq
On the stroke of halftime, Alisha Lehmann, who is on loan through the end of the season from West Ham, notched her first goal in blue, redirecting a cross with a smashing header. With nine minutes of added time at the end of the half — due to MacIver’s injury — Scott ripped a banana shot with her right foot that did everything but cross the goal line.
The second saw Everton’s makeshift defense clamp down ever further on City; the Toffees dictated tempo and dominated possession for the final 45. Just five minutes removed from halftime, Emslie took advantage of a languid pass from Birmingham goalkeeper Hannah Hampton and chipped the young netminder for the third goal. And in the dying moments of the game, second-half substitute Simone Magill wrapped her foot around a shot from the top of the 18, displaying her finishing acumen.
MOMENT OF THE MATCH
When Claire Emslie gets the ball on the wing, good things tend to happen. Everton’s second goal in Thursday’s fixture was no different. The Scottish winger picked up the ball on the right flank and delivered a perfectly weighted pass into the center of the box. After timing her run to perfection, Alisha Lehmann snuck in front of the defense and sent a headed shot into the back of the net for her first goal as a Toffee!
Everton (4-3-3): Sandy MacIver; Hayley Raso, Megan Finnigan, Rikke Sevecke, Poppy Pattinson; Jill Scott, Maéva Clemaron, Izzy Christiansen; Claire Emslie, Valérie Gauvin, Alisha Lehmann
Substitutes: Tinja-Riikka Korpela for MacIver 18, Simone Magill for Gauvin 64, Lucy Graham for Christiansen 64, Nicoline Sørensen for Clemaron 73, Abbey-Leigh Stringer for Emslie 73
Unused Substitutes: Danielle Turner, Gabby George, Chantelle Boye-Hlorkah, Grace Clinton
Goals: Scott 36, Lehmann 45, Emslie 50, Magill 88
Bookings: MacIver 13
Birmingham City (4-5-1): Hannah Hampton; Sarah Mayling, Harriett Scott, Ruby Mace, Rebecca Holloway; Christie Murray, Jamie-Lee Napier, Mollie Green, Ruesha Littlejohn, Emma Kelly; Claudia Walker
Substitutes: Emily Murphy for Kelly 53, Lucy Whipp for Kelly 64
Unused Substitutes: Sophie Whitehouse, Chloe McCarron, Gemma Lawley
Bookings: Scott 82