This is the team Evertonians expected after a productive summer at Finch Farm. Against an inferior Birmingham City side that was also winless, the Toffees marched into the West Midlands and outplayed their opposition.
The visitors came out firing, putting immediate pressure on City’s defense through link-up play between Kenza Dali and Claire Emslie. The two worked possession to win a shot on goal. The attempt, however, was blocked by the defense.
It took just 13 minutes for the Blues to score their first goal of the campaign; Dali played a long ball to Izzy Christiansen at the top of the box, and the Brit found midfielder Grace Clinton, who fired a shot that was blocked. The rebound, though, fell to new signing Leonie Maier, and the German right back struck the ball into the back of the net.
Ten minutes after Everton opened the scoring, goalie Sandy MacIver was called upon to keep the home side off the scoresheet. England’s number two was quick off her line to deny a goal-scoring opportunity and cleared the rebound out of danger.
With pressure mounting halfway through the first, Maier, who found herself unmarked at the far post, nearly had her second tally of the day but poked a free header wide of goal.
Against the run of play, Birmingham, courtesy of a moment of brilliance from winger Jade Pennock, evened the score. The former Sheffield player earned herself a pocket of space atop the 18 and deftly placed a shot in the bottom-left corner past a diving MacIver.
The Toffees almost made it 2–1 in the second when Hanna Bennison, Everton’s club-record signing, was gifted a wide-open shot in front of net. To her credit, City defender Louise Quinn made a brilliant diving block on the Swede’s attempt.
The 18-year-old would have to wait another five minutes before penciling her name into the scorebook. Bennison mesmerized her defender with quick feet and played a nifty give-and-go with Toni Duggan. The Swede then arched a shot up and over Birmingham goalie Emily Ramsey for her first goal in blue.
Wanting to get in on the scoring fun, center-back Rikke Sevecke became the third Blue to score her first goal with the team. Seconds before the full-time whistle blew, the Danish defender rose up to redirect a corner; Sevecke powered over everyone else on the pitch for her first Merseyside marker.
Birmingham City (4-3-3): Emily Ramsey; Harriet Scott (Emily Whelan 62); Louise Quinn; Gemma Lawley; Rebecca Holloway; Lucy Quinn; Lisa Robertson; Jamie Finn; Jade Pennock (Lucy Whipp 81); Sarah Ewens (Eleanor Ryan-Doyle 65); Veatriki Sarri (Libby Smith 62)
Unused Substitutes: Marie Hourihan
Goals: Pennock 32
Everton (4-3-3): Sandy MacIver; Danielle Turner; Gabby George; Nathalie Björn; Leonie Maier (Rikke Sevecke 69); Aurora Galli (Hanna Bennison 46); Kenza Dali; Izzy Christiansen; Toni Duggan (Nicoline Sørensen 80) (Poppy Pattinson 95); Grace Clinton (Valerie Gauvin 69); Claire Emslie
Unused Substitutes: Courtney Brosnan; Megan Finnigan
Goals: Maier 13, Bennison 73, Sevecke 97