Everton secured their progression to the Vitality Women’s FA Cup fifth round with a 2-1 victory over Durham yesterday but it was far from an easy task for The Blue Girls.
The Merseysiders had to come from 1-0 down and it took a Nicoline Sorensen goal in stoppage to guarantee the victory. It was far from a textbook performance from Everton but their manager Willie Kirk said that the brief was simply to get through.
“We made it difficult for ourselves in the first round against London Bees last campaign and we got all the way to the final,” Kirk said
“It doesn’t say in the record books how well you played, how comfortable the game was or how uncomfortable it was, so the main thing was just getting through the game.”
With the teams level going in at the break, there was everything to play for. Kirk went on to comment on what was said in the dressing room during the interval.
“I said just make sure it’s Durham nil and that’s our professional job done,” Kirk confessed. “It doesn’t matter if we get one or three or five, just make sure it’s Durham nil and then obviously we conceded within a minute.”
Everton responded almost instantly through Poppy Pattinson to draw the game level before Sorensen netted the winner at the death. Although The Blue Girls came away with the positive result, Kirk downplayed the quality of the performance and he was unimpressed with the individual displays of his players.
He said “I don’t think anybody particularly played well. I don’t think anybody would have come out there and gone ‘I played well today’ which is good because it shows you the standards that we’ve got.
“None of us lived up to those standards today and we’ve still got through.”
Nevertheless, even though his players put in a lacklustre showing, Kirk is already eagerly awaiting the match against Chelsea in the next round.
“The Chelsea game is one we’re really looking forward to,” Kirk said. “It’ll be a great game to finish the season with, there’ll be a lot riding on that because you know it’s going to impact your fixtures next season and we all want more fixtures.”
Kirk is also enthusiastically looking forward to his side’s final games in this season’s Barclays FA Women’s Super League.
“It’s a really good end to the season; West Ham, Arsenal, Man United and Chelsea,” Kirk said. “I think it’s a really exciting last four games and four games that we can’t just sack off for our summer holidays because although it won’t change our position in the league, it might change my opinions on players for next season.
“How we start next season could be determined by how we end this year.”
Next up on the calendar for The Blue Girls is the long trip down south as they face off against a resurgent West Ham United side who have scored 16 goals in their last two games. It will most likely be another tricky challenge for Kirk and his players therefore there is no letting up even as the season draws to a close.