September 8, 2019 by Stephen L Wright
In front of a record opening game attendance of 873, in the newly refurbished SportNation.bet Stadium, the hosts started very shakily, not demonstrating experience of playing as a team in five pre-season games.
The visitors pushed and pummelled them hard and it wasn’t until half-way through the half that Blues found their rhythm as they linked passes, drove towards the Everton goal and made some decent shots on target. But Everton pushed back, and it was an on the floor at point blank range double save from an on form Hampton that denied them an opening goal. Honours even at the half-time whistle.
Thirty seconds after the restart a deflection in the box, off Captain Kez, skimmed past Hampton. After that Blues lost a lot of impetus, although a long range hoof from Arthur nearly split a goalpost. It was really the only chance of the half.
Understandably, Marta and the players are disappointed. All know there are lessons to learn. For me, the technical, competitive football of the first half never really appeared in the second. Misjudged passes, long range, overhead, hoiks and unneccesary running into trouble led to Everton seeing too much of the ball, and they were unlucky not to score.
The stats show that possession was 52%-48% in Blues’ favour but that’s not how it felt.
I said in my last post that the players’ love for Marta’s style of football and the way they talk about how they have gelled in pre-season should see us back to the days of Seasons past. Don’t get me wrong. There was a lot of positive, precise, pinpoint football played well but not often enough, nor always well enough.
We sit 9th out of 12 in the table.
The two teams face off again at the SN.b in two weeks’ time in the Conti Cup for what should be an interesting ‘rematch’.
In the meantime, we go again at West Ham next Sunday.