Sweetman-Kirk: We Missed That Winning Feeling

Courtney Sweetman-Kirk admits Everton Ladies were getting sick of seeing good performances go unrewarded – so were delighted to pick up three points against Reading.

The Blue Girls have gone toe-to-toe against some of the more established WSL 1 sides so far this season but have only nine points to show for their efforts.

But goals from Sweetman-Kirk and Chloe Kelly secured a deserved result at the Select Security Stadium on Sunday, as Andy Spence’s charges held firm despite second-half pressure from the Royals to run out 2-1 winners.

It left the squad bouncing, as evidenced by the sounds of jubilation coming out of the home dressing room after the game.

“We have not had that for a while!” smiled Sweetman-Kirk when speaking to evertonfc.com. “There is only so many times you can say, 'well done – but we lost'. We are an ambitious group and although we took confidence from the good performances we have been putting in, we really wanted the three points. 
“We came in after the win over Bristol in the FA Women’s Cup last week knowing that we didn’t play as well as we would have wanted to. It was a little bit smash and grab and we weren’t happy with our performance. 

“It wasn’t pretty again against Reading but in a different way – we had to do the right things to hold on to what we had. The first half was quite good from an attacking point of view but then we have had to dig in and show our character in the second. 

“Its nice to have that winning feeling and hopefully that will bring us more momentum going forward. We have Lewes in the FA Women’s Cup [on Sunday], then Arsenal before the international break, so hopefully we can get two good results in those two games.”

Sweetman-Kirk was at her busy best on Sunday, chasing and harrying Reading’s defenders and not allowing the Royals to deploy their usual passing style out from the back. 

Soon after opening the scoring with a cool finish on six minutes, her tireless work rate was rewarded when she closed down Reading defender Jo Potter and forced her into a loose pass that fellow forward Kelly gratefully intercepted and lashed into the bottom corner.

“That’s one of the best aspects of my game – I’m a bit of a nuisance!” added Sweetman-Kirk. “There was a bit of a ricochet but I think there is a potential assist for me there for Chloe’s goal. I’ll claim it anyway! 

“It was a great goal, a really good finish – it got stuck in the bottom stanchion. I’m not quite sure if she knew it was in initially, which was quite funny, but she soon did when I came running up screaming.

“I will always do the hard work for the team up top and they know that. Sometimes when they are under pressure and need to get rid of it then you can turn a lost cause into something if you are able to put yourself about and win throw-ins or corners. 

“Personally, its great to be back on the scoresheet as well because it has been a little while. But it’s all about the team performance. We are so happy with the three points and, whether I score or not, that’s always the most important thing.”