In their second game of the WSL season, Man City Women will travel to the Merseyrail Community Stadium, home of Southport FC to play Everton Ladies FC.
City played Everton three times last season, coming away with a 3-2 win in October 2017, a 2-1 win at home in the Continental Cup and finally a 3-0 home win at the end of the season to secure another season in the UWCL.
The club lost players such as goalkeeper Lizzie Durack to Chelsea, Courtney Sweetman-Kirk to city rivals Liverpool, Fern Whelan, Aileen Whelan and Jodie Brett to newcomers Brighton and Hove Albion and Mollie Green to Manchester United Women. Andy Spence then brought in Chloe Kelly on a permanent move and also Taylor Hinds from Arsenal, Inessa Kaagman from Ajax Vrouwen, Dominique Bruinenberg from Sunderland AFC Ladies, Hannah Cain from Sheffield FC Ladies, Abbey-Leigh Stringer from Birmingham City and Becky Flaherty from Liverpool.
Everton Ladies have played top flight WSL football since the launch in 2011, playing in the FA Women’s Premier League Division before that and winning the league five years in a row from 2006 to 2010. The Merseyside club was managed by U20 coach and former Everton captain Mo Marley, up until she stepped down in 2012; Andy Spence taking up the role. Spence saw the side through FA Women’s Cup Final in 2014 and then through their relegation to the second tier, in which they finished third in their first season. They lost their penultimate game to Bristol City, as the Vixens and Yeovil Town beat them to the top two, however when the Spring Series came around to bridge the gap between the summer and new winter league; Everton reclaimed their spot at the top.
After Notts County folded at the start of the new WSL season, Everton were awarded a spot in the top tier by the FA and also had their re-application to the league accepted meaning Everton Ladies are back in the top flight of football for the foreseeable future.
Everton have played Durham, Birmingham and Reading already this season, losing the first two games 1-0 but beating the Royals 3-2 last Sunday. Claudia Walker made her long awaited return to the team during the Reading game, much to the delight of the striker, her teammates and Spence.
Walker told the club website “It’s been a long time coming after the injury. I scored in pre-season but this is where it matters and I’m really happy to help us win”.
City will be looking to get their first three points of the WSL season after a 0-0 draw at Chelsea a week and a half ago. Jill Scott, Mie Jans and Demi Stokes are out injured while Megan Campbell and Pauline Bremer are a doubt for the game, despite nearing their return from their own injuries.
Kick-off is at 7pm on Thursday night at the Merseyrail Community Stadium in Southport. If you can’t make the game, it is being streamed via Facebook live on the FA WSL Facebook page.