After the Bees were drawn an away trip to Everton Women in the Fourth Round of the Women’s FA Cup, we take a closer look at our cup opponents.
The season so far:
The Toffees have been one of the stand out packages in the Barclays FA Women’s Super League so far this season after they had an impressive first half of the campaign. The Blue side of Merseyside currently sit 5th in the league and have notched up some notable results so far this term. The result of their season so far would surely have to be their 1-0 triumph over Merseyside rivals, Liverpool, at Anfield in November, as Lucy Graham’s goal sealed the points in a historic victory over the Reds.
The Blues have been solid at home and have only been defeated on home soil twice in the league this season. The only teams to come away with the taste of victory from the Pure Season are the league’s top two, Arsenal and Manchester City, thus the Bees will have to bring their best game when the sides meet at the back end of the month. In general, the Toffees don’t concede many goals either and have the fifth-best defensive record in the top flight with only 11 goals being notched by opposition sides. The ran current FA Cup holders Manchester City all the way as they left Merseyside 1-o winners thanks to a strike from Lionesses captain Steph Houghton.
The Manager: Willie Kirk
Many could argue that if the Toffees continue their current form then Kirk has an outside chance of becoming voted manager of the season. Kirk has had a varying career which has spanned across Scotland and England, he joined the Blues in December of 2018, where he guided his side to a 10th place finish. The Scotsman started his career North of the border as an academy coach in the men’s game at Livingston before a short move to Preston Athletic saw him move to Hibbs, again as an academy coach. He soon became Head Coach of Hibbs LFC, where he had a very successful spell winning the Scottish Cup in his first season. He then guided them to a second-place finish in the table in the 2012/13 season, subsequently being named manager of the year.
His first spell as a Head Coach in England came with Bristol City where after relegation he led them back to the top flight at the first time of asking. Following that the Robins then achieved back to back 8th place finishes in the WSL as they built stability at the highest level. Kirk’s next role was to be number two at newly formed Manchester United Women, as he worked alongside Red Devils Head Coach Casey Stoney in the FA Women’s Championship. However, the spell with United was short-lived as he made the move across the North-West to join Everton, where his side has gone on from strength to strength.
The top scorer: Chloe Kelly
The Bees one to look out for, should she play will be Chloe Kelly. She’s having a strong season with the Toffees and has notched five goals in all competitions so far this term. Her last goal came in the home defeat to WSL Champions Arsenal in December, where coincidentally she started her career, making 13 appearances in her early career. She seems to have settled in well in Merseyside where she has been for the past two and a half seasons, this has been far her best season so far. The England international had at one point scored four goals in as many matches for the Toffees and she will look to kick on in this second part of the season. Although the Bees will be hoping to keep her quiet on January 26th!