Liverpool fought their way back to the top of the Woman’s Super League with a hard-earned 4-3 victory away at league leaders Bristol Academy.
Following a 3-0 league defeat against Arsenal last weekend, Liverpool needed to win this game to keep our title hopes alive – lose and Bristol would extend their lead to 6 points. Matt Beard made two changes to the team that lost midweek in the cup to Lincoln, Sarah Quantrill returned to the starting line up in place of Rachel Laws and Sarah Gregorius dropped to the bench in favour of Katrin Omarsdottir.
Liverpool got off to a good start, Amanda Da Costa with the reds first effort after goalkeeper Siobhan Chamberlain’s clearance only went as far as the American midfielder. Da Costa’s first time strike at the empty Bristol goal however went over the crossbar.
Lucy Bronze put in another great shift on the right and an early cross nearly found Natasha Dowie, forcing Chamberlain to punch the ball away.
Nicole Rolser, Liverpool’s tricky German midfielder, once again found herself the main target of opposition fouls and was pushed over by Grace McCatty just outside of the 18 yard box. Fara Williams and Louise Fors stood over it with Fors taking, hitting the wall.
Natasha Harding picked up a nasty looking eye injury, one that put Liverpool captain Gemma Bonner’s black eye to shame, following a tumble with Sarah Quantrill in the box.
Bristol were awarded a dubious free kick decision, it was sent towards Heatherson in the 6 yard box who’s first strike was parried away by Quantrill but she followed up the rebound to put Bristol ahead.
Katrin Omarsdottir almost equalised immediately for Liverpool, a Louise Fors corner was only cleared as far as Da Costa who hit the ball back into the box but Katrin couldn’t control her volley.
Shortly after Nicole Rolser was again knocked down by Grace McCatty, this time in the penalty area and Liverpool were correctly awarded a penalty. Given our luck with penalties over the last week, Louise Fors stepped up to smash the ball past Chamberlain and grab that all important equaliser to put us back in the game.
Into added time at the end of the first half, Louise Fors swung her corner kick into the box. The ball bounced through a few players before literally bouncing off the surprised Nicole Rolser into the back of the net. The goal at the stroke of half time sent the Ladies in 2-1 up.
Back out for the second half and now playing with confidence. Liverpool were awarded another free kick on the edge of the box, this time Icelandic midfielder Katrin Omarsdottir stepped up but again it hit the wall.
Omarsdottir was to get a third chance at goal a few minutes later and made no mistakes with this one, scoring a brilliant goal from the edge of the box to give us a 2 goal cushion. The was Katrin’s second Liverpool goal and not her first as the BT Sport commentator informed everybody – she scored the winner against Sunderland in our FA Cup Quarter Final.
Chasing the game Bristol made two attacking substitutions, sending on Spanish duo Laura Del Rio and Keka. Del Rio made an immediate impact.
Sarah Quantrill’s goal kick only went as far as Natalia who quickly passed to Del Rio and she slotted the ball past Quantrill to pull a goal back.
Not even two minutes later Bristol had their equaliser – Natasha Harding’s cross into the box found Natalia who made it 3-3.
With 10 minutes left for either side to find a winner, both Lucy Bronze and Whitney Engen did well breaking down Bristol attacks.
Becky Easton came on to replace Corina Schroder for her first appearance this half of the season and Sarah Gregorius came on for penalty scorer Louise Fors.
Captain Gemma Bonner suddenly found herself in a bit of space in the Bristol half, letting the ball roll a couple of yards in front and glancing towards goal she superbly struck the ball which went flying past Chamberlain. Liverpool were 4-3 up with minutes to go.
Into injury time – Kate Longhurst replaced Natasha Dowie up front for the reds but it was all Bristol as they desperately searched for another equaliser. They won a corner deep into injury time yet any hope was crushed as Rose headed well over.
A great shift put in tonight by all Liverpool Ladies, player of the match has to go to Gemma Bonner for a great all-round performance and a crucial match winning goal that could be so important for our season. Nicole Rolser and Lucy Bronze the other stand out players in this great Liverpool side this evening.
The Ladies now have a week until their next game against Chelsea Ladies. This will be played at Halton Stadium Saturday 17th August, 7:15pm KO. The match preview for this game will be up during the week.
Thanks for reading and thanks to all those that joined @LFCLadiesFans
on twitter tonight during the game! All comments are much appreciated.