Last night Liverpool Ladies claimed their first FA Women’s Super League derby victory over rivals Everton and strengthened their hold at the top of the table in style. In front of a packed Marine ground – 1,124 being the official gate number – the ladies in red ran riot against the Everton defence.
It was all change for Liverpool, both keepers were out injured meaning emergency loan signing Rachael Laws made her debut. Katrin Omarsdottir returned from international duty having picked up an injury leaving Jess Holbrook to fill her spot in the centre of midfield against her old team. Also back from international duty with the USA Whitney Engen retook her position at centre back with Lucy Bronze moving back across to right back.
For the first ten minutes the two teams struggled to find their rhythm, both trying to get a hold on the game. Everton had a couple of early chances, first a Toni Duggan strike was blocked by Liverpool captain Gemma Bonner then Laws saved well from Nikita Parris. Once Liverpool settled it was the same as the Lincoln game, Liverpool holding the majority of the possession barely allowing Everton a sniff of the ball. The reds crept closer and closer to the Everton goal, both Nicole Rolser and Amanda Da Costa cutting through the Everton defence but being offside. Bronze then hit a great ball to Da Costa but her cross was sent narrowly wide by Corina Shroder. Liverpool now with all the pressure and growing in confidence, Engen up from a corner won the ball back and put it back into the box but Fara Williams placed her shot the wrong side of the post. Rolser then had a number of chances, her first sailed over the crossbar and in hindsight could have been passed to the waiting Natasha Dowie. Amy Kane blocked Rolser’s second goal bound effort however the Everton defence then failed to deal with the ball in the box and she slotted home her second goal of the season. Dowie and Schroder were working well together on the left, shortly before half time Dowie crossed the ball to the unmarked Da Costa but the ball ran just behind her. Despite the relentless assault Liverpool somehow went in at half time up by just one goal.
Everton came out with a renewed fighting spirit in the second half, showing some of the attacking movement they did last week against Doncaster Belles. Bronze and Bonner dealt confidently with the onslaught, Gemma Bonner hit the ball up field to Dowie who went close – the ball going out for a corner. Everton cleared quickly from the corner to hit us on the counter attack, Parris’ shot was saved by Laws but straight into the path of the oncoming Jill Scott who equalised for the blues. Everton’s joy was short lived, Louise Fors continuing her fine form with a goal from just inside the 18 yard box to put us back in front. A Fara Williams free kick then was saved by Lizzie Durack and sent out for another reds corner, this time Whitney Engen taking no chances and staying back to cover the defence. Yet another Fors strike from an almost identical position was punched away by Durack but only as far as Shroder, who had gotten herself into a fantastic position to score her first goal in a red shirt. Comfortably ahead and in control of the game Matt Beard made a double substitution bringing on Becky Easton and Lillie Billson to replace Williams and Rolser, Bronze moving into midfield. Towards the end of the second half both teams had chances, Natasha Dowie’s chip was saved and up at the other end Laws kept out Everton substitute Simone McGill. With the 90 minutes drawing to a close Dowie put the final nail in the Everton coffin after Billson found her unmarked in the Everton half, she struck the ball past the unfortunate Durack for her 9th goal on the season. 4-1 Liverpool.
It’s difficult to single out just one player for player of the game, not one of our ladies put in a bad shift. Our starting back four all did well halting the Everton attacks, Bronze made more than one crucial interception, Bonner with numerous clearances which also seemed to find a red shirt every time and Schroder not just for bagging a goal but for being the catalyst for many of Liverpool’s attacks down the left. If it were based purely on the first half then I would have said Nicole Rolser but taking the full 90 minutes into consideration the POTM for me has to go to Whitney Engen. A rock at the heart of our defence, breaking up many of Everton’s attacks and keeping Toni Duggan quiet all evening limiting the number of chances she could take. This was made all the more impressive when you take into account that barely 48 hours she had put in another player of the match performance for the USWNT against Canada, playing the full 90 minutes in Toronto.
Birmingham are the next side to face our in form reds. It will be the last game before the season breaks for the European Championships, the game kicks off 7:15pm this Saturday 8th June at Halton Stadium. The match preview for this game will be up on Friday evening. Thanks for reading!
LFC: Laws, Bronze, Engen, Bonner (C), Schroder, Holbrook, Williams (Easton 81), Fors, Rolser (Billson 81), Da Costa, Dowie. Unused subs: Chappell, Keryakoplis, Riccio
EFC: Durack, V.Jones, Greenwood, Johnson, Chaplen, Scott (C), Kane (Whipp 85), Hinnigan (K.Jones 64), Parris, Duggan, Boye-Hlorkah (Magill 78). Unused subs: Brown-Finnis, Nelson, Handley, Williams.