We take an in-depth look at Reading FC Women's opponents Everton Women ahead of our league clash at Walton Hall Park on Saturday during Women’s Football Weekend.
New Look Blues
Like most other WSL managers, Everton boss Willie Kirk was busy in the transfer market pre-season, bringing several European stars to Merseyside. To replace the loss of young England striker Chloe Kelly who moved to Manchester City he brought in 24-year old French international striker Valérie Gauvin who last season netted 14 goals in 16 games for her former club Montpellier. This is already proving one of the best pieces of business done by any WSL club this summer with Gauvin already helping herself to 3 WSL goals and the same number in the conclusion of last season’s FA Cup competition. Another new striker is Nicoline Sorensen who has netted 8 goals in 37 appearances for Denmark. Scottish international winger Claire Emslie, best known for her exploits with Bristol City and Manchester City, has arrived on loan from Orlando Pride. The midfield has been strengthened by Spanish international Damaris Egurrola who signed from Athletic Bilbao. The defence also has a new look with the arrivals of right back Ingrid Moe Wold who has featured in the last two World Cups for Norway, Rikke Sevecke who has made 25 appearances for Denmark, and England Under-21 player Poppy Pattinson who joined from WSL rivals Bristol City.
Impressive early season form
Everton, who finished in 6th place in the WSL last season, got off to a tremendous start this time around. They won their first four league fixtures including impressive away wins at Bristol City 4-0 and Aston Villa 6-0 and sat proudly at the top of the table. The early success was not confined to the league. In the restarted 2019/20 FA Cup competition they impressively overcame Chelsea in the quarter final and then won comfortably at Birmingham to set up a Wembley showcase against Manchester City. They were then held to a home 2-2 draw in the WSL against Brighton & Hove and, despite a tremendous team effort against City at Wembley, bowed out 3-1 after extra time. Last weekend they incurred their first league defeat going down 4-0 at Chelsea. They were without key players Scottish midfielder Lucy Graham and Gauvin through injury. This left Everton in 4th place but just three points behind leaders Manchester United. Willie Kirk will thus be looking to his team to get back into winning ways in Saturday’s clash with the Royals.
In meetings between the clubs over the last two seasons, it is the home side who have always been successful. In 2018-19 the Royals made the long journey north twice. In a group stage match in the League Cup, Everton shaded it 3-2, the Royals goals coming from Brooke Chaplen and a Megan Finnigan own goal. It was the same score line in the WSL in April, on this occasion our goals coming from Remi Allen and Fara Williams. Last season Chloe Kelly scored a hat trick in Everton’s 3-1 home win in the WSL with Fara Williams converting a penalty as consolation. Turning now to meetings at Adams Park, a brace from Brooke Chaplen earned Reading the points in a 2-1 win in November 2018. Last season was another close fixture with Reading come out on top 3-2, courtesy of two first half goals from Jade Moore and a late winner from Lisa-Marie Utland.
Women’s Football Weekend 2020 will be the biggest yet as every Women’s Super League game is spaced across the entire weekend, ensuring fans can watch each one with no overlap whatsoever, including Reading FC Women’s trip to Everton on Saturday at 4.30pm, which will be shown on the BBC Red Button.