Everton Ladies Head Coach Andy Spence understandably had mixed feelings after seeing his team lose a classic ‘game of two halves.’
The Blue Girls were second best in the opening 45 minutes and went two goals behind through Ellen White and Charlie Wellings.
But a Chloe Kelly goal straight after the break sparked a revival that could - and perhaps should - have brought at least a point.
“I was delighted with the second half performance but we were very, very disappointing in the first half,” said Spence.
“We were one or two yards off in all parts of our game – defensively and offensively we were slow, laboured in possession and lacking in confidence.
“We never got a foothold in the game, and it wasn’t down to our game plan it was the team’s mind-set which for whatever reason wasn’t quite right.
“But the second half was the complete opposite. We were very impressive – so much so that in the end I was disappointed not to have won the game.
“I think in that second half we showed ourselves and showed everyone who was watching that when we put our game together we can be very competitive.
“The girls are completely honest, which they showed at half-time – by the time I got into the dressing room they were having real honest conversations with each other and they didn’t really need me to tell them what was going wrong.
“Of course I did tell them, and in no uncertain terms, and there was a super response. We got a goal back straight away and might have had two or three more with an excellent second half performance.
“That is a measure of where we can get ourselves, and the girls can take a huge amount of confidence from the way we played.
“It was great as well to see the substitutes come on and make a brilliant impact. This is a new squad we’re building, most of them new to this level, and they’ve got to learn quick.
“But we won’t hide behind that ‘newcomers’ tag and accept getting beaten – that’s not going to happen.”
Next up for the Blue Girls is what should be one of their toughest games of the season, against champions Manchester City next Saturday.
“We saw Man City beat Arsenal on Saturday,” added Spence. “They were very impressive and everyone knows their qualities – especially myself, because they’ve got a good number of former Everton players in their ranks.
“It’s going to be a very tough game, no question, but nothing frightens me about this top level of the league that we’ve just got back into.
“We can take the confidence from our second half display against Birmingham and go up against City feeling that there’s no reason we can’t get three points.
“Okay we’re new to this league, but we’re not going into games expecting to get beat or settle for draws, we’re looking for wins.
“That’s the attitude we’ll have against Man City. Our girls know the games of their ex-Everton players inside out and so there’ll be nothing new for them to worry about.
“They just have to show the mentality, the intensity and the no-fear attitude they showed in that second half against Birmingham and we can get a result.”
By Tony Leighton