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CAPTAIN FANTASTIC FINNIGAN CONTINUES EVERTON DERBY DOMINANCE | Liverpool 0-1 Everton

By Jake Marley

The Everton view from Anfield

God I love this team. They embody and epitomise everything us Evertonians love about our teams: passion, fight, endeavour and pride in the shirt. Oh, and they win Merseyside derbies at Anfield in their sleep. Those aforementioned qualities were evident in abundance on Sunday evening as our tenacious Toffees made it back to back Anfield Merseyside Derby victories under super cool Dane, Brian Sorensen.

It’s been a frustrating opening few weeks for the blues with injuries, poor officiating, a missed penalty and did I mention INJURIES, playing a big part in three marginal losses across the WSL and Conti Cup to begin the 2023-24 season. All that, left us blues standing on The Kop – I know, I feel dirty too – desperately in need of a victory to kick start our season.

A pre-match hot drink accompanied the 3.30pmteam news announcement which revealed the welcome return of Karen Holmgaard and Katja Snoeijs to the Toffees matchday squad after injury. A much needed shot of optimism after a glum few weeks. However, as is so often the way with Everton Football Club, the bad luck that hampered our start to the season threatened to have a big say again when ‘The Scottish Scouser’ Lucy Hope was downed by what looked a serious injury inside 30 seconds – best wishes to Lucy for a speedy recovery (great to see her able to join us for the post-match celebrations, albeit on crutches), also whilst I remember, major props to our tireless Aussie dynamo Clare Wheeler for filling in so ably out of position at wing-back at such short notice. She was incredible all evening.

Thankfully, despite the early setback and a slightly shaky start the blues refused to be denied, delivering a gritty performance for us all to be proud of and deservedly making it 4 out of 4 at Anfield in the process. As our own Megan Finnigan said post-match, “we wanted to cause mayhem and that’s exactly what we did.”

The very epitome of The Spirit Of The Blues.

Now, onto the players that made it happen. Having listened back to our manager Brian Sorensen post-match, I couldn’t agree with him more that absolutely EVERYBODY in blue (and in Courtney Brosnan’s case, green) could and indeed should be mentioned for the part they played in this faultless team performance and huge win. However, I do want to single out a couple for particular praise from my viewpoint.

First off, Megan Finnigan. She’s been with us since the age of nine and is not only our club captain but an absolute warrior that bleeds blue. The match winner, with her second goal in as many seasons at Anfield, but also a calming, experienced presence that led by example on the pitch for over 100 minutes of footy. Magnificent.

Secondly, Heather Payne. I see Megan was given player of the match by Sky, but for me that accolade could oh so easily have been endowed upon Payne. New to the club and therefore new to the Merseyside Derby, she was as key as anyone to our victory on the dark side, putting in a huge shift full of fight and endeavour. Quite simply, she won everything there was to win and tackled anything that moved. A tireless and thoroughly ‘Everton’ display. Superb.

Thirdly, “Yaya” Aurora Galli. The unsung heroine of our side. A real fan favourite, Yaya is a very classy player made of the finest Italian steel. When we’re on it, she makes us tick, enabling our silky ball players like Hanna Bennison to do their thing. She never, ever lets us down. Forza Azzure.

Finally, it would be amiss to not mention Toni Duggan. Away wins and even more so, away derby wins like this would not be possible without a cameo like Toni’s on Sunday evening. A classic experienced No.9 performance from an effortlessly clever player that just oozes class with every touch. In my view, nobody used the ball as well as Toni for the thirty or so minutes she was on the pitch. Whether it be the calm she brought over everyone in blue by simply playing the ‘easy’ pass every time or the wily time-wasting in the far corner in the dying stages – she was vital to us getting over the line and delivering a warning shot to the rest of the WSL.

So to close, as you all know, it’s not often as a blue you leave Anfield happy, but as an Everton Women fan, I’ve entered three times and three times I’ve left happy,  brimming with pride thanks to this incredible team. Whether you were there with us or supporting at home, ride that beautiful wave all week and beyond blues, oh, and come on, come on, get down to Walton Hall Park. 

Up The Toffees.

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