A sunny Damson Park was the location for the start of the 2019/20 season for Birmingham City. A lot of blues fans were nervous in the days building up to this game due to the massive Exodus of players that left the club.
New signings Abbi Grant, Brianna Visalli, Rebecca Holloway, Adrienne Jordan and Lucy Whipp all made their debuts for the club and they all played very well.
Most fans (me included) weren’t confident about the game and it didn’t help when Everton started off on the front foot winning a free kick straight from kick off. The delivery though more settled our nerves as the ball was headed straight at Hampton in the Birmingham goal.
New signing, Adrienne Jordan, impressed on her debut, early on driving forward and playing the ball to Claudia Walker four minutes in but the frontrunners tame shot was straight at Everton keeper Tinja-Riikka Korpela.
Aside from that chance, Everton had the brighter start winning multiple free kicks although Hannah Hampton wasn’t really tested by the headers from Megan Finnigan and Lucy Graham.
After 15 minutes the Blues started to find their feet when Brianna Visalli latched on to Sarah Mayling’s pass into the left corner of the box, Visalli did well to jink past her marker but the Everton goalkeeper was equal to the American’s shot.
Blues’ next chance came 27 minutes in as Lucy Staniforth’s corner had to be swatted away from danger by Everton’s Finnish goalkeeper. Still on the front foot, Birmingham managed to work some space to allow Brianna Visalli to drive in the midfield with Everton back tracking Visalli decided to try her luck spotting Korpela off her line, her lob from 20 yards though was just over the bar.
Blues continued to press and could’ve broken the deadlock as Claudia Walker’s near post header from a Mayling cross was deflected just wide.
With the Blue’s fans fustrated over the missed chances they were soon to be very excited as Staniforth’s shot looked to be lifting over the the goalkeeper but she did brilliantly to tip it over the bar to deny blues a deserved goal.
The best chance after that came from two debutants as Visalli’s ball into the box was headed narrowly wide of the left hand post by Scottish International Abbi Grant.
It looked like Blues were about to rue their missed opportunity’s as Danielle Turner did well to run the ball into the box her ball into the centre caused danger and Simone Magill could’ve given Everton the lead but Hampton was on hand to deny her from point blank range with a superb reaction stop. The rebound from Chloe Kelly deflected off a blues player and the foot of Hampton to go wide a let-off for blues
There was still time late in the half for blues to take the lead skipper Kerys Harrop’s dummy from Staniforth’s free kick rolled marginally beyond the far post.
The second half came and it was an awful start to the second half for blues as The ball was given to Hannah cain and her perfect wide run allowed her to send the ball into the box looking for Magill but the ball was turned into her own net by the unfortunate blues skipper Harrop 30 seconds into the second half
Everton could’ve made it three in the second half with molly pike side footing wide from eight yards out. Then Gabrielle George came really close heading wide from an inviting Chloe kelly corner.
On the 55 minute mark Damson Park roared as Rachel Williams made her long waited return from injury.
It took till the 60th minute mark when blues had their best chance of the second half as Chloe Arthur let fly from 25 yards. It beat the keeper and looked destined for the top corner but the post denied Blues and equaliser and potentially a goal of the season contender for the Scottish international
Going on into the late stages of the game Birmingham tried so hard to grab the equaliser with Harrop’s header blocked on the line by newly appointed Everton captain Lucy Graham and Williams went within a whisker of converting from back-to-back Staniforth corners.
Five minutes from time Grant tried to make her mark in the game dancing her way past her marker on the edge of the box but her curling shot soared just high of the corner not testing Korpela in the goal.
It wasn’t to be for Blues as the final whistle went and Everton managed to hold on to their 46th minute lead. We just couldn’t seem to put the ball into the net and will look to be sharper In their next game on the 15th against West Ham.
Birmingham City: Hampton, Arthur, Harrop, Holloway, Visalli (Scofield 74),Grant (Scott 88), Jordan, Staniforth, Whipp (Williams 56), Mayling, Walker
Subs (not used) Logan, Gregory, Brooks, Rabjohn
Everton: Korpela, Turner, George,Kaagman(Hughes 72), Magill, Kelly, Morgan (Van Es 90+2), Pike, Cain (Hinds 87), Graham, Finnigan
Subs not used: Brougham, Clemaron, Bryson, Levell