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Everton Women 1-4 Manchester City: Blues sign off 2023 with heavy defeat

Coach praises outgoing star Sorensen and opposition quality as gap with top sides continues to widen

Everton FC v Manchester City - Barclays Women´s Super League Photo by Danehouse Photography Ltd/Getty Images

Brian Sorensen heaped praise on retiring star Nicoline Sorensen as well as Manchester City’s quality, as Everton Women signed off 2023 with defeat to Gareth Taylor’s side.

Aurora Galli’s sublime effort proved to be scant consolation as a Khadija ‘Bunny’ Shaw hattrick and a Jill Roord goal moved the Citizens up to second in the WSL.

But the Blues boss was dignified in defeat and is looking forward to the Christmas break, where hopefully he can get a few more first team stars back on the field.

“I think we started well but then, Martina had a great chance and I don’t know how that wasn’t a goal,” he said. “Then City took over, got a penalty which was saved, but they were better than us, on the day.”

“It’s a disappointing one, but fair play when your opponents are that good.”

And on the Christmas break, which sees the Blues return in January, Sorensen added:

“The break comes at a good time, we have so many out. Then we refresh and regroup and look forward to the spring.”

Football almost took a backstep to the news of the retirement of Nicoline Sorensen. The Danish star made the announcement last month and her manager was gushing with praise for the person, as well as the footballer.

“We have known for a while now. Everton will continue without her and someone will take her place, but she is an amazing human being,” said the boss.

Everton FC v Manchester City - Barclays Women´s Super League Photo by Lewis Storey/Getty Images

“Fantastic, on and off the pitch, and we will miss her.

“We wish her the best of luck with what comes next.”

Everton began brightly and the returning Martina Piemonte - one of eight changes from the side that faced Liverpool midweek - had the game’s first chance, forcing a tremendous save out of Khiara Keating with a header from a corner.

However, it was City who then took command of the match and had a golden chance minutes later when Lauren Hemp was fouled by Sara Holmgaard in the box with the referee pointing to the spot.

Now it was Courtney Brosnan’s turn to produce a stunning save and the Blues stopper duly obliged as she repelled Shaw’s spot kick to keep the scores level.

But the Jamaican made amends seconds later when she clipped one over the head the Republic of Ireland international.

Brosnan continued to make saves but the pressure eventually told and Shaw added her second on 21 minutes before Roord made it three, minutes later.

Keating was not a spectator during the first half though, and had to be alert to deny Katja Snoejis after the forward did well to bring the ball down and get her effort away.

Into the second 45 and the never-say-die Blues saw their efforts rewarded with a Goal of the Month contender from Galli.

The midfielder unleashed an unstoppable 25-yard strike which gave Keating no chance as the Blues were justly rewarded for their determined display.

But it was City who struck next as Shaw completed her hattrick by nodding home Chloe Kelly’s set-piece.

The biggest cheer of the day was saved till a few minutes before the end. The departing Sorensen made way for Emma Bissell and received a huge ovation as she leaves football behind.

Everton lie seventh in the WSL as the team head into the winter break, and will be back in action when they travel to Aston Villa in January 2024 in the Adobe Women’s FA Cup.