Everton Women boss Brian Sorensen saw the positives from his side’s performance against Arsenal this weekend, despite the Blues going down 1-0 at Meadow Park.
Vivianne Miedema’s first-half goal was enough to claim the WSL points, leaving the Toffees in eighth spot after eight games.
Emily Ramsey was in sparkling form for Everton and produced a string of fine saves to ensure the Gunners were unable to relax until the final whistle was blown.
The spirited performance from the Blues saw them fashion some chances of their own, while the undoubted highlight was seeing Nicoline Sorensen back on the pitch after more than 14 months on the sidelines.
Sorensen was quick to praise Everton opponents but feels his team need to keep working hard and has already turned his attention to Wednesday’s Continental Cup clash with Manchester United.
“I know they [Arsenal] had some injuries who are on their way back but that was a proper team they put on the field today, really good in all areas,” he said.
“So, we just need to keep working, keep grinding and see if we can close that gap [on the top teams] at some point.
“But overall, the performance we put in, the energy, the metres we run was good, now we have a couple of days rest and then we will be ready for United on Wednesday.”
Everton started the game positively, Aggie Beever-Jones finding Jess Park free in the area, only for the latter’s effort blocked before ricocheting out for a goal kick.
But it was Arsenal who took the lead on 24 minutes. Miedema showed great feet to evade the tackles before brilliantly curling her effort past Ramsey to break the deadlock.
The Blues’ custodian was then curled upon to produce a string of saves to deny the hosts from increasing their advantage, and was ably assisted by Natalie Bjorn and Gabby George, whose defending at times could aptly be described as heroic.
Katja Snoeijs did fashion an Everton response following a defensive error from Arsenal, but her effort went over the bar.
Ramsey continued to produce some great goalkeeping after the restart, including a trio of saves from Miedema, who will have been left wondering how she had only one goal for her efforts, following a six-yard-box scramble.
The ever-dangerous Beever-Jones nearly grabbed an unlikely equaliser on the hour mark. The forward broke through and looked to round Manuela Zinsberger, only for the Arsenal stopper to get down superbly and deny the Blues No.15.
Sorensen smelt blood and chose to ring the changes, including a special moment for the returning Nicoline Sorensen and Kenzie Weir, who earned her first-ever top-flight appearance.
And the changes looked to have made the difference in the dying minutes; Sorensen’s free kick found the head of Weir, who was denied a fairy tale debut as Zinsberger collected the effort as her team held on for all three points.