Everton Ladies Head Coach Andy Spence hailed the “professional performance” that allowed his side to earn their first win of the season against Doncaster Rovers Belles.
The Blue Girls kicked off their Continental Cup group stage campaign with a clinical victory over the WSL 2 Belles thanks to Chloe Kelly’s early strike plus Leandra Little’s own goal and Marthe Munsterman’s first goal for the Club.
Having been unfortunate not to take points from their previous two WSL 1 fixtures against Birmingham City and Manchester City, Spence was pleased to see his players’ rewarded for their resilience and determination.
“It was a professional performance,” he told evertonfc.com. “We said it was about building on our previous displays and keeping those levels that we have set. Certainly in the first 10 to 15 minutes we were right on it.
“I said to the girls that we have to go to places like this and enjoy it, especially in arenas like the Keepmoat Stadium where we can get the ball down and play our game. We played at a really good tempo and the early goal obviously helped. Then we got the second one and we would have liked the third a little bit earlier because the second half became a bit scrappy and Doncaster had chances.
“But I am really proud of this team and I am delighted for them picking up the win. The last three games have shown that we are building good momentum.
“It’s important too to pick up clean sheets as well. We had players coming into the team, like Kirstie Levell who has done really well. Chloe, too, has come in and been excellent and scored. And on top of that, Marthe has got her first goal for the Club. So there are lots of positives.”
Spence admitted that, after three straight defeats, it was important for his side to strike early at the Keepmoat Stadium. Both Everton and Doncaster played out a thrilling 3-3 draw during the Spring Series, so there were no doubts the Belles would make it competitive.
But plenty of work on the training pitch has gone into ensuring the Toffees start quickly and the boss was pleased to see that work come to fruition after just six minutes when Kelly beat Jules Draycott with a cool finish.
“The first goal was key,” added Spence. “The stats will tell you that if you score first then you have a higher percentage chance of winning the game. That is something we are looking to do more often. Its not always a given, of course – we did it against Manchester City but then had a crazy spell where we conceded three times.
“But scoring early, being on the front foot from the off and being an aggressive team, as we have shown against Doncaster, is crucial. That is our game and what this group of players can bring.
“When we play at that tempo, it gives me the reassurance that going into the next few games, we have got lots to look forward to.”