Everton Women 4-0 Bristol City Women
Photo by Emma Simpson - Everton FC/Everton FC via Getty Images)

It would be an unhappy return to the WSL for Matt Beard, who was taking charge for the first time as caretaker manager of the Robins, as Everton got their first win in five attempts as they dismantled struggling Bristol City at Walton Hall Park stadium.

The game was practically over at the break, after the Toffees two opening goals bookended a dominant first half display. Two more after the break ended the contest for good just after the hour mark. 

The wait for Bristol City's first win in the WSL this season goes on. 

  • The Match


There was no sign of any rust from the extended holiday break from Willie Kirk's out of form Merseyside team. If anything, the time off appears to have been just what the previously misfiring Toffees needed. No WSL wins since October? No problem.

Right from the first whistle, Everton thrashed around a foggy Walton Park. It took just three minutes for talisman Izzy Christiansen to connect with a low driven cross from Nicoline Sørensen, and put Everton 1-0 up. The verve and desire of Christiansen, as she blew past Laura Rafferty in the Bristol defense, would go on to set the tone for the match. 

The overall pattern of the first half was defined by width. The serene Sørensen​​​,​predominantly marshaling the left flank, and the spritely Hayley Raso, who started on the right hand side of Everton's three attacking midfielders, both bombarded the Bristol City defense with crosses.

Despite the change in manager, Beard opted to continue Tanya Oxtoby's formula. He deployed five defenders to sit deep and invite the pressure on, hoping that a quick counter from Ebony Salmon or Emma Bissell. Sadly for Bristol, no counter attack would emerge. 

With only one goal to show from Everton's brilliant opening, there was a moment, around the half hour, that Bristol City's belief in themselves started to grow as the flow of the game became more balanced. 

However, the reprieve was short lived. Just before half time Haaland spilled another Sørensen​​​ cross from the left hand side and Simone Magill was the quickest to respond and prod the ball into the back of the net. Any hope Bristol had of making a comeback appeared to dissolve with that second goal. 

Having started with an unchanged XI from Bristol's Continental Cup quarter-final win over Aston Villa on Wednesday, Beard boldly made three positive changes to start the second half. Jaz Matthews, Abi Harrison and Ella Mastrantonio all entered the fray to offer some new ideas to the ponderous Robins. 

Despite the substitutes, the second half played out in similar fashion to the first. Just before the hour mark, the nervous looking Matthews was caught in possession outside her own box by a pressing Magill. Two passes later, Christiansen smashed home from 12 yards out, her second and Everton's third of the day. 

The icing on the cake was Megan Finnigan's header in the 64th minute to make it 4-0. The defender rose highest, after Christiansen's corner kick swirled into the Bristol City box. A first WSL goal for Finnigan capping off  a marvelous all round display. 

  • Stand Out Player

Izzy Christiansen 

An array of superb performances from Everton, but the midfielder - with two goals and an assist - was still was head and shoulders above anyone else.

Christiansen's combination of work rate off the ball and quality on the ball make her one of the most complete midfielders in the WSL. Despite not wearing the captain's armband, it is impossible not to observe the respect that her teammates have for her. When she is on form, Everton are on form. A revitalized second half of the season will need Christiansen at her best. 
 

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