Post by Everton News. on Jan 26, 2018 21:58:33 GMT
Everton Ladies head coach Andy Spence says his side have no fear going to high-flying Chelsea when they resume their WSL 1 campaign on Sunday (12.30pm kick-off).
The Blue Girls travel to the Kingsmeadow Stadium currently ninth in the table, having lost their previous league encounter at Bristol City. But they sit just three points off Sunderland in fifth - and Spence insists his side can go into the clash with plenty of confidence against title-chasing Chelsea, with full-back Taylor Hinds - signed from Arsenal this week - in line to make her debut.
“We can take a lot of confidence from games against Manchester City where we have competed really well," he said. "The girls are really looking forward to the game and if you are a young player with big ambitions for the future, you want to test yourself against players who are perhaps at the level you want to be at in three or four years time.
“Chelsea have really grown as a club and they have recruited some of the best players over European and world football, so they are the team who are expected to win leagues and cups. We know we aren’t at that level at that moment in terms of experience, but I know we have got a group of young players who have shown they are not afraid to go up against the teams with the bigger reputations and go and compete with them.
“We are all looking forward to it, we know we are facing one of European football’s best squads, but we are not fearful and, if anything, excited to see if we can put in another top performance. We are targeting a win, it is also about building consistent performances and getting back to those performance levels that we displayed before the break.
“We are focused on us growing as a team and getting back to the levels we have achieved and that will look after everything else, I don’t worry about the table at the moment, I worry about our performances, but I think we are doing well so far."
The game will be the Toffees’ first since the loss against Bristol two weeks ago, with an international break sandwiched in between, and Spence is confident the break will have helped his side.
“The vast majority of the players have been training with us since the Bristol game and have been putting a lot of hard work in," added the Blue Girls boss. "The players and myself were disappointed with the display we put on so there has been a lot of hard work with the girls in the past few weeks, they have been brilliant and really want to respond in the right manner. We are in a good place leading into the last couple of days before the game.
“We have had a few players away internationally, which we are pleased about for the players having that opportunity, those players have come back over the past few days and they take a lot of confidence when they go away so we want them to bring that confidence back to Everton.
“Professional football is about being really competitive, we have 19 players who all want to be playing and who are all improving, we have a really competitive squad, a squad that push each other on all the time and are making themselves better by that competitive nature.
“When you have 10 teams in a league, the table can look good, and then not so good. Into the break we were fairly comfortable with the position we were in and one game has swung it in terms of points."
You can watch the Blue Girls in action this Saturday on the BBC Red Button from 12.30pm.
Post by Everton News. on Jan 28, 2018 22:08:40 GMT
A resolute performance from Everton Ladies saw them edged out 1-0 against WSL 1 title challengers Chelsea at Kingsmeadow.
In truth, it could have been more for the Blue Girls, with striker Courtney Sweetman-Kirk seeing a first-half penalty smack the post.
But the Londoners stepped up a gear in the second half and, despite a spirited defensive display from the Toffees, it was left to full-back Jonna Andersson to fire into the top corner in the 83rd minute to break the visitors’ hearts.
Head Coach Andy Spence was forced into an early change to his starting line-up prior to kick-off after Simone Magill picked up a knock in the warm-up, with Mollie Green coming in.
But it was Green’s fellow forward Chloe Kelly who had the first real chance of the afternoon. After Sweetman-Kirk was fouled, the 20-year-old – who turned her loan spell from Arsenal into a permanent move on Thursday – bent a free-kick toward goal that needed the fingertips of keeper Hedvig Lindahl to tip over.
Sweetman-Kirk then had the ball in the net only to see the linesman’s flag up for offside, a decision that looked tight but one replays suggested was just about right.
Angharad James sent a dipping volley over the bar before the Blue Girls were awarded a penalty when Chelsea’s Anita Asante fouled Sweetman-Kirk. The striker stepped up to take the penalty herself but her powerful spot-kick came back off the post.
Back came Chelsea and Lizzie Durack was alert to make key saves from Hannah Blundell then England international Karen Carney, leaving it goalless at the break.
After the interval it was Chelsea who assumed early control – Durack on hand to make vital stops to deny USA international Crystal Dunn and then Carney in quick succession.
The Londoners introduced internationals Fran Kirby, Maren Mjelde and Ji So Yun from the bench to inject fresh impetus into their attack but still the Toffees held on – with Durack in particularly stubborn form.
The Blue Girls keeper made telling stops to keep out Kirby then Yun as Chelsea found the slivers of space afforded to them by Everton’s rearguard.
But the pressure finally told in the 83rd minute. Kirby found space in the box, and moved it left to where Chelsea full-back Andersson was running and she side-footed into the top corner, leaving Durack with no chance.
A bitter pill to swallow for the Toffees, who must bounce back quickly ahead of their FA Cup fourth round tie against Bristol City in Crosby on Sunday.
Post by Everton News. on Jan 28, 2018 22:09:25 GMT
Everton Ladies Head Coach admitted his side “brought their A-game” despite suffering a narrow 1-0 defeat at Chelsea.
The Blue Girls have regularly gone toe-to-toe with the more established clubs since their return to WSL 1 and did so again at Kingsmeadow against the title challengers.
Courtney Sweetman-Kirk hit the post from the spot and Chloe Kelly saw a free-kick well saved by Hedvig Lindahl as Everton edged the first half.
But it would be the hosts who snatched victory in the 83rd minute as Chelsea left-back Jonna Andersson rifled a Fran Kirby pass into the top corner.
Blue Girls Head Coach Spence could not fault the efforts of his players and believes another vital lesson has been learned in their evolution as a top-flight side.
“We brought our A-games today in our performance,” he said. “We knew we were facing one of Europe’s top sides, a club who have progressed immensely over the last few years.
“But the exciting thing was that we felt we could do something – that if we were positive we could get a result. And we were seven minutes away from doing that.
“On reflection, in the first half, no one really could have argued if we were two or three goals ahead based on the chances we created and the penalty. But that happens and we know we have got to be ruthless.
“Chelsea have that and that is why they will be up there competing for the title.”
Proud of our performance today but gutted to come away with nothing. Lots to be positive about though and build on to take forward in to the next few games ⚽️
An entertaining contest at Kingsmeadow had its share of controversy in the 22nd minute as Chelsea’s Anita Asante fouled Sweetman-Kirk, denying her a clear effort on goal in the process.
Referee Robert Whitton, however, deemed the infringement worthy of only a yellow card, with Sweetman-Kirk denied by the upright from the spot.
Spence was left frustrated by decision but refused to let it detract from another strong display from his charges.
“It was a red card,” he added. “You don’t want to see players sent off but you’ve got to apply the letter of the law.
“I’ve watched it back and the definition as I see it is if the touch from Courtney is taking her too far away from goal then it is a yellow. But her touch takes her to the middle of the goal.
“But sometimes you get decisions like that. We won’t let it take anything away from our performance because it was another top display from our girls.”
Post by Everton News. on Jan 29, 2018 17:16:05 GMT
Everton Ladies goalkeeper Lizzie Durack admits unrewarded performances have become “the story of our season” after another excellent display against Chelsea left the Toffees empty-handed.
Like they have done all term, the Blue Girls showed no fear in going toe-to-toe with one of the strongest sides in WSL 1, with Chelsea sitting just two points off league leaders Manchester City.
Everton could have been leading at the break had Hedvig Lindahl not got her fingertips to Chloe Kelly’s free-kick or Courtney Sweetman-Kirk’s penalty not come back off the post.
The hosts then stepped it up in the second period and finally broke through a stubborn Toffees rearguard when Jonna Andersson lashed home the winner.
A disappointing result for Andy Spence's side - but Durack insists confidence remains strong within the group after another eye-catching display in front of the BBC cameras at Kingsmeadow.
“It is a missed opportunity in terms of points on the board,” she told evertonfc.com. “But looking at the bigger picture in terms of confidence and building as a team, we can take a lot of confidence from putting in a performance like that against an opponent with the quality that Chelsea have.
“That seems to be our story so far this season – putting in good performances but not getting them rewarded. But I have to give credit to the girls – we played an unbelievable game. Andy [Spence] told us after the match that that was one of the best performances we have put in.
“We were under pressure from one of the top teams in Europe. To let in the goal was disappointing but at the beginning of the game – at the beginning of the season even, having just come up – we wouldn’t be too disappointed about a 1-0 defeat away at Chelsea.”
Durack had been key to a resolute Everton defence that looked like it had played a crucial part in securing a well-deserved point on the road.
The 23-year-old produced excellent stops to deny England internationals Karen Carney and Fran Kirby, plus South Korea star Ji So Yun.
But she could do nothing when Kirby teed up Sweden left-back Andersson to side-foot into the top corner in the 83rd minute.
“Sometimes you have just got to tip your cap to the finish,” added Durack. “Obviously I am always trying to save everything but looking back, I’m not sure what I could have done with that one.
“But we kept them out for as long as we could. The girls defended so well and we will take confidence from that.
“Likewise, I thought we dominated the first half and put their goalkeeper under more pressure than they did me. It was an all-round great team performance so we will take a lot from that.”
The Blue Girls are back in action when they take on Bristol City in the FA Women’s Cup fourth round on Sunday at the home of Marine FC in Crosby. Click here for tickets.