Everton Ladies Head Coach Andy Spence insists the 3-2 win over Reading in the Continental Cup can “kickstart our season”.
Goals from Claudia Walker – her first since returning from long-term injury over the summer – plus Inessa Kaagman’s maiden strike for the Toffees earned a morale-boosting victory over the Royals, the perfect way to begin life at Southport’s Merseyrail Community Stadium.
After defeats to Durham and Birmingham City, Everton exploded out the traps and could have gone in front inside the first minute, but Rachael Laws denied the clean-through Kaagman.
But it set the tone for a pulsating 90 minutes of football that will lift confidence going into tough games against Manchester City on Thursday and Sunday’s visit of Chelsea.
“It’s a result that can kickstart a season,” enthused Spence. “When you don’t pick up results in your first few games, you can get a bit disheartened, but we have shown we are a team that wants to get it right.
“The performance – and more importantly the result – shows that we want to do that and I have got to give a huge amount of credit to the girls. It was a real top display and a fully deserved win.
“To score three goals against a very good Reading side who, if you look at the stats over the last 12 months or so don’t concede very often, shows how good we were.
“Going forward we looked great. It was fantastic to see Claudia score twice – she lives and breathes goals – and today will be a huge moment for Inessa as well. I’m really pleased for the girls.”
Everton went into the break ahead thanks to Walker’s two first half goals.
Quick feet from Dominique Bruinenberg allowed her to pick out the striker for her first, setting herself to slam a low shot past Laws.
Megan Finnigan’s own goal restored parity but the Toffees would shrug it off and regain the lead – Walker’s long-range effort slipping through the grasp of Reading keeper and into the net.
Only a good stop from the Reading custodian stopped Angharad James from extending the lead at the tail end of the first half.
But the best was yet to come. Neat interplay from Kaagman, Walker and Chlose Kelly saw the Dutch midfielder clip a sumptuous effort over Laws and into the net, her first since swapping Ajax for Everton in the summer.
Former Toffee Brooke Chaplin netted a late consolation but the points were staying on Merseyside.