Blue Girls Taking Confidence Despite City Defeat

Everton Ladies can take plenty from their narrow 3-2 defeat to Manchester City, insists Simone Magill.

The striker scored early in the second half on Saturday night to give the Blue Girls fresh momentum as they refused to give up with City leading 3-1 at half-time after Claudia Walker’s fifth-minute stunner.

But despite working tirelessly to try to force an opening, City’s experience saw them just hold onto the victory.

However, the level of performance should give Everton plenty of confidence, says Magill.

“Getting that second goal gave us a lot of momentum,” she said. “We came out for the second period up for it and we knew that the next goal had to be ours. When we got it, it instilled that little bit more belief in us to really push on and try to get the third.

“We were very unlucky. We got off to a great start but let in some goals in the first half. But we brought it back and were all over them in the second half. So we were really unlucky to not pull one more back towards the end.

“The performance was by far our best and we have improved game on game. We have had tough opponents and we recognise that we have made the step up from WSL 2. We knew it wasn’t going to be an easy start but we are happy with the performance we put in against City and we want to build on that going into our next game.”

Everton Ladies head coach Andy Spence named an attack-minded line-up against the favourites for the WSL 1 crown, with Magill joining Walker, Chaney Boye-Hlorkah and Courtney Sweetman-Kirk in attack.

The bold move paid off as Walker lashed home from 25 yards after just five minutes, and on another day Everton would have come away with a point.

“It was definitely enjoyable!” added Magill. “It was near enough all the attackers in the team out there all together.

“We have had new players come into the team and as a forward unit we are really starting to work together and bond up front. It is obviously a plus for us because we are getting into the final third more often and scoring goals. We are doing that against top teams as well so that bodes well for us.”

Earlier this month, Magill was back in Northern Ireland for their match with Germany at Windsor Park to receive a special accolade.

Back in June 2016, the Toffees striker netted after just 11 seconds of a Euro 2017 qualifier against Georgia, with the strike becoming the fastest women’s international goal scored, eclipsing Alex Morgan’s 12-second strike for the USA.

“It was really nice to be recognised, especially on such a big stage with the men playing against Germany,” she said of the presentation. “There were 20,000 people there so it is definitely a moment I will remember.

“It was quite nerve-wracking – I was standing there out on the pitch and they showed the goal on the big screen. But it was lovely to be recognised and the glass award they gave me was massive - I’ve had to leave it in Ireland!”

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