Match Preview: Bristol Academy vs Liverpool Ladies

 Looking at the list of games for the second half of the season, this one perhaps draws a little more anticipation than the other fixtures. Until Liverpool slumped to a 3-0 defeat by Arsenal last weekend and Bristol were gifted 3 points at Everton, ourselves and the Vixens were equal on points – with Liverpool having the superior goal difference. Their win last Sunday meant they leapfrogged us into 1st place, ahead by only 3 points. The outcome of this match could be crucial to our league season.

 Hoping to bounce back from the Arsenal defeat, Liverpool played Lincoln in a mid-week semi final. The reds unfortunately lost the game on penalties despite dominating the run of the play. Liverpool peppered the Lincoln goal with shots, yet England number 1 Karen Bardsley reminded everyone why she is regarded as one of the worlds top keepers with a number of inspired saves to keep us out. Bardsley also saved two penalty kicks during the shootout, from Louise Fors and Natasha Dowie.
 At times during the game Liverpool looked like the team we had watched during the first half of the season, particularly during the first 45 minutes as we created many chances and could have gone in at half time easily up by 2 or 3 more than 1-0
 Unlike Liverpool, Bristol won their first game back after the break against our Merseyside rivals Everton. The half of the game was a 4 goal thriller, twice the Vixens went ahead with Everton twice bringing the score level. Bristol’s first was a Jill Scott own goal, while their second came after a misplaced Everton back pass. Heavy rain during the second half seemed to slow the tempo of the game however debutant Billie Murphy scored the blues second own goal of the game to gift Bristol the win.
 Bristol play an attacking game, Natalia is a constant threat – always lurking around the 18 yard box – alongside fellow Spaniard Laura Del Rio. Del Rio carried a slight injury problem through May and June which limited her appearances but she did come off the bench against Everton. Natasha Harding is another key player for the Vixens, netting the second goal against Everton at the weekend, Harding seems to have easily slipped back into her fine form straight after the break.
 This is a game Liverpool cannot really afford to lose, a Bristol victory would see them extend their lead over us at the top to six points with Arsenal also breathing down our necks.
 Natasha Dowie scored for us against Lincoln during the week and was unlucky not to double or treble her tally as she linked up well with Nicole Rolser. Fara Williams was the driving force behind most of Liverpool’s attacks on Wednesday, along with Amanda Da Costa. New signing Kate Longhurst was cup tied during the week but could feature against Bristol after impressing while coming on as a sub against Arsenal.
 Hopefully 120 minutes played during the week will not affect us, I don’t think motivation will be a problem however and I am sure Liverpool will throw everything at Bristol to get our season back on track.
 This is an away game for Liverpool Ladies and will be played at Bristol Academy’s Stoke Gifford Stadium. Kick off is at 7:45pm with adult tickets priced at £5 and concessions £3, the game is also live on BT Sport for those who can’t make it and for those who don’t have BT Sport keep an eye out on twitter as I will try and share a stream!
 @LFCLadiesFans will be live tweeting the game, although not there I will be watching on BT Sport. The @Girlsontheball will be there however so make sure you’re also following them.
 Thanks for reading!

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