September 29, 2020 by Stephen L Wright
The last time Blues and Everton faced off was in last season’s Conti Cup. They had played opposite each other two weeks earlier in the season opener. Although possession had been pretty much evenly shared, the visitors had seen the best of the play. The cup game was entirely different and in my post-match report I talked about Blues being ‘hungry for the win’ (a favourite phrase of new boss Carla Ward). They took the game to Everton and they came out victorious.
Well, it’s a very different squad from then, but last Sunday’s win against Brighton showed a very different team from two weeks earlier when they’d met in the season opener. Then, they lost the hunger and fell into old ways of play. On Sunday they displayed a rediscovered appetite and battled for a well deserved win.
Everton, with three wins on the spin – two in the League and then ending Chelsea’s cup run on Sunday – have brought in some big guns this year. It will be interesting to see how psyched Blues are to face the likes of Izzy Christiansen, Claire Emslie, Hayley Raso and Nicoline Sørensen.
Ward had no doubts in her pre-match comments: “Everton are a great side, they have a lot of depth, we know it will be a huge task, a tough game. We can go out there and enjoy it, that is our first priority. We will give everything, we will not go down without a fight.“
So, can Blues channel the spirit and hunger of the 2019 squad and align it with that they showed on Sunday? Can they ‘go out and enjoy it’? I believe they can do both. And one of the biggest reasons why is the heart and the belief that Ward has instilled in them.
One final thought. It will be interesting to see if Ward follows her predecessor’s decision, in her cup game, and plays Connie Scofield in the Starting XI. The youngster played three quarters of the game, came close to scoring and took a well earned POTM.
As ever, report to follow. Until then…