Everton Ladies striker Elise Hughes admits she “couldn’t have written it any better” after scoring her first senior goal in Sunday’s Merseyside derby.
The staunch Evertonian has come through the ranks at the Toffees, making her debut away at Arsenal last season, but was handed her maiden start for the Club against Liverpool in the Continental Cup.
And she marked the occasion with a close-range finish - after seeing her initial header come back off the post – to help the Blue Girls earn their second win over their city rivals in a fortnight.
Chaney Boye-Hlorkah opened the scoring at Tranmere Rovers’ Prenton Park before Simone Magill lashed in a volley to double Everton’s lead. Although Niamh Fahey pulled one back, Hughes wrapped up victory in a blistering performance from the Toffees.
“I couldn’t write it any better,” said the 17-year-old. “To get my first start for my Club in a Merseyside derby was more than enough.
“But everyone was backing me to score and when I did, it was unbelievable. I couldn’t even get myself together because as soon as it went in, the girls were straight on me.
“It was the best feeling I have ever had on a football pitch. To get my first senior goal for Everton, as a girlhood blue, it is just amazing.”
That was Everton’s second win in four games under the stewardship of new boss Willie Kirk, who took over the reins earlier this month, and was the perfect way to end a difficult 2018.
For Hughes, the new year is an opportunity to build on her first start and push as hard as she can to secure a place in Kirk’s starting line-up.
“I will easily remember that goal for the rest of my life,” she added. “But I am hoping that is the first of many for Everton. I am in my fifth year at this club and you can’t beat the feeling of scoring.
“I just want to carry on doing what I’m doing for as long as I can.
“Willie has put in a lot of trust in me. He has shown that by giving me a start in what was a massive game. It doesn’t matter that we were out of the cup anyway – it is a Merseyside derby and it is always important to get the win.
“With the new manager, it feels like if you are good enough, you are old enough. Both Willie and assistant Chris Roberts are here to improve the team and to improve us as individuals. I’m really happy with where I am and the progress I have made.”