Prior to this cup tie, Liverpool Ladies Development Squad had played 3 games – winning 2 and losing 1 away to Notts County in their last outing. Looking to bounce back with a win over Durham and with a strong starting 11, full-back Olivia Wild one of the players not featuring however due to being at St Georges Park.
This was the 2nd cup game for the reds this season, they beat Manchester City 1-0 away on 13th October and they continued their cup form with a great display which included 6 goals scored by 6 different goalscorers.
After getting slightly lost trying to find our way to the stands, a different entrance to watching the first team play, we missed the first few minutes including an early injury to Sophia Riccio. Riccio looked in some pain and was replaced by Shannon Beckwith, hopefully the injury wasn’t as bad as it looked.
Liverpool were attacking with intent and looked hungry for goals, so far this season the team had scored 5 goals in 3 games. Katie Zelem took a free kick that hit the wall, hit back into the box the ball went out for a corner kick and the resulting corner was put in by Beckwith who had been on the pitch only a couple of minutes.
Following the goal Durham mounted an attack that broke down when Samantha Chappell was fouled in the 18-yard box, goalkeeper Danielle Gibbons took the free kick that led to the attack in which Bethany Donoghue doubled Liverpool’s lead to 2-0.
Showing no signs of sitting back to defend the lead, Liverpool continued to press forward and quickly extended the lead to 3. Center-back Ellie Stewart took a free kick that thwarted the Durham keeper to end up in the back of the net, despite the fact it wasn’t actually a strike it was a great first Liverpool goal for Stewart.
Liverpool’s defence dealt well with the Durham attack, before unfortunately conceding a penalty and Durham débutante Stacy Crooks sent Gibbons the wrong way to pull a goal back.
Just before half-time former Claudia Walker scored her 3rd goal in 4 games to re-extend the reds lead to 3 goals.
Throughout the 2nd half it was mostly Liverpool pressure, slightly more settled than the first-half the reds had shot after shot on the Durham goal blocked or saved by the keeper. There were also some fantastic crosses into the box, Ashley Hodson almost got onto the end of one early in the 2nd half, her shot blocked the ball fell to Walker who shot wide.
Megan Alexander had an impressive second half on the left, first with a great run which was only halted with a fine sliding tackle. Alexander then came close to scoring twice, through on goal her first strike was punched away by the keeper and her second cleared off the line.
Ashley Hodson was another player who was a constant attacking threat, her cross across the 6-yard box to Donoghue was just missed by the former Blackburn Rovers midfielder. Donoghue also saw a low drive from the edge of the box saved.
Both players got themselves onto the scoresheet as the Durham defence fell apart, Alexander with the 5th and Hodson the 6th after sliding the ball past the oncoming goalkeeper.
Durham had a couple of chances late in the game, Crooks did add a second consolation goal injuring Gibbons in the process and Katie Zelem was unlucky not to get herself a goal. Zelem’s injury time strike over the crossbar.
A great all-round team performance from the reds, six different goal scorers speaks for itself and many more players could have grabbed themselves goals – especially during the second half.
Next Sunday Liverpool travel to Sunderland for their 3rd league game of the season, and 2 weeks today we will be back at Halton for another league game – this time vs Birmingham City and also a 2pm kick off.
Gibbons, Riccio, (Beckwith), Stewart, Chappell, Alexander, Dale (Vella), Rumsey, Donoghue, Zelem, Walker (Revitt), Hodson
POTM: Megan Alexander, a particularly impressive 2nd half performance with a hat-trick of chances capped with a well taken strike.