By George Overhill

13th Feb, 2022 | 8:13am

Everton Women expert reflects managerial change and painful defeat

We’re delighted to welcome Peter MacFarlane, member of the Everton Women Official Supporters Club, as our exclusive Everton Women expert.

The Toffees went down to a painful 2-1 defeat against Reading only days after the unexpected departure of their manager Jean-Luc Vasseur, and despite a trying time Peter MacFarlane sees reasons to be positive.

Chris Roberts and Claire Ditchburn took charge for a game where Everton easily could have taken something but ultimately went home empty handed, to lose for a third time on the bounce in the WSL.

Speaking exclusively to Goodison News, MacFarlane said: “The signs were good early on as Everton took the lead after brilliant play from Claire Emslie after a short corner routine saw her cut inside onto her left foot and shoot towards the front post, replays showing that Anna Anvegard got the decisive touch to deflect the ball in to the back of the net.

“The Toffees dominated for large parts of the game but just couldn’t find that second goal to put the game to bed, with Izzy Christiansen missing from the penalty spot for the second time against Reading this season.

“Unfortunately it cost us dear and a late Reading rallying cry saw them score twice late on to snatch all three points in what ended up being another disappointing afternoon.

Subscribe to Football Insider TV now

“There were plenty of positives to take from the game, and certainly a very clear improvement in the performances of the team as a whole.

MacFarlane went on to assess the current situation in light of the surprising managerial change.

“Although Vasseur came with a much-publicised level of pedigree, unfortunately the performances just didn’t seem to match up to that. It’s genuinely difficult to pinpoint a single area of improvement during his tenure, which was dogged by strange starting XIs, bizarre substitutions and a clear lack of identity.

“Chris Roberts has this week commented on the fact that he’s been working hard to bring the players up to full fitness so that they are able to play through the 90 minutes. This suggests to me that fitness has been an issue within the squad, not just because of injuries, but also due to the coaching of the previous manager.

“Roberts is someone that Evertonians know well. He came to the club as Willie Kirk’s assistant, has always had a great rapport with the fans and players alike, but seemed to us to be sidelined by Vasseur, so it’s great to see Chris front and centre again, and trying his very best for our team and our club. That connection with the fans is so important at Everton.

“We will always try our best to spur the team on, and the very least we expect is for the players to fight and give absolutely everything when they’re wearing our badge. With Chris Roberts in charge I believe that we will see that passion and fight in abundance, and I wish him all the best for as long as he, along with Claire Ditchburn, is in charge.”


The team had arrested the slide of three consecutive losses without scoring a goal in all competitions in their last game prior to the change.

A confidence-boosting 4-0 FA Cup win against third-tier Huddersfield Town Women would have had fans and players hoping for to build in the subsequent league match.

But the turmoil of the managerial departure, along with members of his coaching team, will not have been helpful preparation for the squad or Roberts and Ditchburn.

The clear focus now will be to establish some stability under the new regime with a view to pushing up the table away from relegation.

With two games in hand on Leicester and Birmingham below them there is plenty of opportunity to make things safe, but it has been a difficult season so far and the prospect is far closer than anyone would like.

In other Everton news, Danny Murphy and Trevor Sinclair disagreed on talkSPORT over Dele Alli criticism.