Gabby George’s sublime long-range strike proved to be enough as Everton Women kicked off 2023 with victory over Reading.
An early goal from Katja Snoeijs followed by a Jess Park goal in the 32nd minute put the Blues completely in charge in the first 45 but the visitors hit back just after the restart with a Justine header Vanhaevermaet, only because George reset both premises. goal cushion Reading refused to lie down, however, with Deanna Cooper’s goal in the 68th minute reducing the deficit to just one goal.
Everton decided that attack was the best way to protect what they had and will feel bad that they didn’t get the three points with a bigger scoring margin.
The Blues started on the front foot and with Park particularly in high spirits. The teenager’s impeccable footwork found George out wide, and his cross was cleverly headed home by Snoeijs to put the Toffees ahead.
The goal produced a response from Reading, but it was Everton who doubled their lead. Park, once again the architect, this time combining with Nicoline Sorensen, before receiving the ball back, rounding Gemma Evans and finishing coolly to put the Blues in a dominant position.
Reading hit back after the restart and Vanheavermaet’s near-post header from a corner was just reward for the Royals’ efforts.
Everton’s response was almost immediate, though, and it was a moment of impeccable quality from skipper George for the day. Rushing forward from the kick-off, the unmarked George was given time and space, before unleashing an unstoppable drive that gave Reading’s Jacqueline Burns no chance.
Cooper’s header seven minutes later looked to have set up a nail-biting finish, but it was the Blues who pressed for the next goal, with debutant Sara Holmgaard, Aggie Beever-Jones and Izzy Christiansen all having chances to get a quarter.
The crowd made their appreciation clear at the full-time whistle, and will be looking forward to Everton’s next game, which is another home game on Sunday, January 22, with West Ham away at Walton Hall Park.