Liverpool Ladies went into this game in pole position in the FA Women’s Super League, 6 points from the final two games would see us crowned Champions of England for the first time.
Liverpool kicked the game off with both sides eager to get off to a good start. Fara Williams saw an early strike tipped over the bar while Natasha Dowie was almost handed a goal by the Everton keeper, Rachael Brown spilling the ball into the path of the oncoming Dowie but she recovered well.
Despite the early chances it was Everton who took the lead, Jill Scott doing well to turn inside the box and set up Nikita Parris who’s curling effort sent Laws the wrong way.
Liverpool had an equaliser moments later, Natasha Dowie leveling the score. The cross came to Dowie from the right, one look at goal and she audaciously chipped the ball over Brown who had come well off her line.
After the equaliser Liverpool began to settle into the rhythm of the game, our midfield trio of Amanda Da Costa, Fara Williams and Katrin Omarsdottir controlling the middle of the park. Da Costa in particular who’s work rate during 90 minutes is impressive and she has been unlucky this season not to add to her 2 goal tally.
Lucy Bronze put in another great performance at right back, surely working her way into contention for a place in the England starting 11. Bronze was up and down the wing for the full 90 minutes, sending cross after cross into the box. One of Bronze’s runs seen her end in the 18 yard box but the final ball couldn’t reach Dowie and was cleared for a corner.
Nicole Rolser then made a run down the left, before cutting in and passing to Da Costa who’s strike was off target. Rolser then almost set up Dowie, Liverpool displaying some great passing football with the move starting from the back; Whitney Engen hitting the ball up field to Fors who found Katrin, she passed to Rolser who was dispossessed but quickly won back possession to hit the through ball to Dowie but it was unfortunately intercepted. The ball fell to Louise Fors who battled her way through a number of blue shirts but Brown collected.
Liverpool won a couple of corners in quick succession half an hour into the game, the second of which was deemed to have been hand balled by Whitney Engen for an Everton free kick.
Following the free kick Liverpool were quick to win back possession. Lucy Bronze again with the run to the half way line, onto Rolser who sent Corina Schroder into the box. Schroder crossed the ball to the incoming Dowie on the edge of the 18 yard box to put Liverpool ahead.
Everton were struggling to get close to the Liverpool box and instead decided to try their luck from range, Paige Williams with the first and just before half time Nikita Parris scored a fantastic goal from 30 yards our to send the sides in 2-2 at half time.
After disappointingly conceding on the stroke of half time, the reds came out fighting. Bronze won an early free kick but no one was on the end of the resulting Louise Fors cross.
Everton’s Toni Duggan was kept quiet throughout by our defence, Duggan forced out wide and further up the pitch to get a touch of the ball.
In contrast at the other end Blues keeper Brown was kept busy, first coming off her line to collect Dowie’s Da Costa bound header and then catching Fors’ ball aimed for Rolser. Rolser had another chance minutes later, Lucy Bronze setting her up in the box but her strike was straight at Brown.
A few weeks ago Gemma Bonner was the hero with the crucial winning goal against Bristol. Tonight saw Liverpool Ladies’ Captain Fantastic again pop up with an important goal, Fara Williams’ perfectly taken corner powerfully headed into the back of the net to once more put Liverpool ahead.
Liverpool continued to press and search for a fourth goal, Sarah Gregorius made her derby debut with 20 minutes to go, replacing Louise Fors. Gregorius was quickly thrown into the action – setting Da Costa up for a low hit hard drive that shot narrowly wide of the post.
News filtered through that Bristol Academy had won against Birmingham City, further stressing the importance of a win for Liverpool in this game.
Who else then but Liverpool’s prolific Natasha Dowie to finally give the reds a bit of breathing space and complete her hat trick. Dowie headed in Rolser’s cross proving her England call up was more than well-deserved and overdue. Natasha has now also scored an average of a goal a game with 13 goals in 13 league appearances.
The 4-2 victory over our Merseyside rivals again sends us clears at the top of the league, our main competitors now for the title Bristol Academy sit 5 points behind in second with a game in hand.
POTM Natasha Dowie
Laws, Bronze, Bonner (C), Engen, Schroder, Omarsdottir, Williams, Rolser (Longhurst), Fors (Gregorius), Da Costa, Dowie
The final day fixture against Bristol will be a title decider should they beat Doncaster in their game in hand. Liverpool vs Bristol is on Sunday 29th September, 2pm KO @ Halton Stadium.
Thanks for reading and following @LFCLadiesFans tonight, the twitter page hit 1,000 followers this evening so welcome to anyone new who might have found this page!
* SEASON REVIEW: During the mid season break I put a review up of the season so far, I am now gathering information for the full season review but I want your views! Over the next couple of weeks please either tweet me or comment below with the following: 1) Highlight of the Season, 2) Goal of the Season & 3) Player of the Season. For the Player of the Season at the midway point many different players were mentioned, if you think more than one player is deserving of a mention that’s fine all the votes will be added! Thank you!
Lastly it was a nice surprise to arrive at Halton last night and find myself in the match day programme, very surreal to see people around the ground reading about me!