Kirk: Result Is What Counts For Everton

Manager Willie Kirk backed his Everton side to get better but believes the result is what counts after his team won their season opener for the first time in seven attempts as a Women’s Super League club.

An own goal by Birmingham captain Kerys Harrop in the first minute of the second half handed Everton the three points on Sunday, the victory ending a run of four successive defeats by the Midlands side.

Kirk, whose starting line-up included four summer signings making their debuts, said: “Getting a first opening day win at the seventh time of asking got that monkey off our back, and I was delighted with the result.

“As to the performance, we can play a lot better. But last season we were talking about good performances without getting anything from them, and we don’t want to be that team – we want to be a team that can still win even when everything doesn’t click into place. 

“Everything didn’t click for us today, but there were some good individual performances and there were periods of the game where we did well.

“We missed a couple of good chances to increase our lead and maybe there were some nerves after that, but I don’t think we ever controlled the game apart from the first 20 minutes.

“The second half was just like a basketball game, neither team got a decent period of possession. But we looked fairly comfortable towards the end.”

Kirk was pleased with the contribution of his four new players, particularly goalkeeper Tinja-Rikka Korpela and midfielder Molly Pike.

“I thought ‘Tinny’ [Korpela] was excellent,” said Kirk. “She looked comfortable throughout the game and she breeds confidence in the back line – that’s going to be a real positive for us moving forward.

“Molly’s an 18-year-old who played like a veteran against a very good Birmingham midfield. She can be a key player for us.”

Next up in the Super League is a meeting with Kirk’s former club Bristol City next Sunday at Southport FC’s Pure Stadium.

Kirk added: “Winning the first game of the season gives us a good foundation to build on – and next week is another game we feel we can win.”

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