Liverpool Ladies returned to winning ways this afternoon with a thumping 7-1 win away at Durham WFC in the Continental Cup.
Libby Stout returned to the starting 11 after missing last week’s defeat to Arsenal, Nina Frausing made her first start for Liverpool in place of the injured Becky Easton and Martha Harris came in for Kate Longhurst.
Liverpool started quickly out of the blocks in the first-half, holding the majority of the possession with Fara Williams, Katie Zelem and Gemma Davison each pressing forward looking to create opportunities.
Natasha Dowie looked eager to score and could have had a hat-trick within the opening 10 minutes. Danielle Hill cut out a Davison cross that Liverpool’s leading scorer looked certain to get on the end of and minutes later Hill again thwarted Dowie – saving well from a low drive. The third chance came after Katie Zelem expertly controlled and knocked the ball into the path of the oncoming Dowie but her strike went the wrong side of the post.
Midway through the first-half Natasha Dowie finally opened the scoring, finishing well after Durham failed to clear.
Liverpool continued to look hungry for goals however went in at half-time just 1-0 up, despite Dowie hitting the post with a 20-yard strike and sending a penalty just wide.
Matt Beard made a half-time substitution with Ellie Stewart coming on for Martha Harris. Stewart slotted comfortably into defence alongside Gemma Bonner and Nina Frausing and the change allowed Lucy Bronze and Corina Schroder to play even higher up the pitch.
The reds, playing in their new yellow away strip, hit a goal rush in the second-half; firing 6 more past the Durham keeper.
Skipper Gemma Bonner doubled the lead, scrambling the ball home from close range following a corner. The was the Liverpool captain’s first goal this season, after scoring a couple of important goals at the end of the last campaign.
The third came after Corina Schroder and Katie Zelem combined well to set up Natasha Dowie, who scored her second of the day and 8th overall for the season.
Katie Zelem made her competitive debut for the reds last weekend an continued her comeback from a broken collarbone with an impressive performance in the centre of midfield. Zelem was behind the majority of the Liverpool chances in the second-half, creating a good partnership with Gemma Davison and continuously linking with Schroder on the wing.
Zelem scored twice in quick succession, the ever-brilliant Lucy Bronze setting up both of her goals. The first cross powerfully headed into the back of the net and the second headed from the rebound after first hitting the crossbar.
5-0 up and cruising, Kate Longhurst came on for Natasha Dowie and almost immediately set up a chance for Amanda Da Costa who shot wide. Hannah Dale also came on, replacing Katie Zelem.
It was finally Gemma Davison‘s turn to strike a double, Davison had been providing opportunities for her team mates throughout the course of the game but eventually got herself on the score sheet. Davison’s first goal coming after the Durham defence failed to clear and her second after yet another Lucy Bronze cross.
Libby Stout was solid when called upon, coming out to clear her lines and easily collecting corners. Stout however conceded a penalty in the final minutes of the game and despite diving the right way Durham pulled a goal back with Caroline Dixon adding a late consolation goal from the spot.
POTM: Katie Zelem, with a mention also to Lucy Bronze with a hat-trick of assists!
XI: Stout, Bronze, Bonner (C), Frausing, Schroder, Harris (Stewart), Williams, Da Costa, Davison, Zelem (Dale), Dowie (Longhurst)
Unused subs: Gibbons, Walker, Hodson
An extremely promising second-half performance from Liverpool today, ahead of their final Continental Cup group game at home to Doncaster Belles on Saturday 12th July.
Although the chances of progressing to the semi-finals of the competition are slim, there is still a chance so it would be great to get a good crowd in to support the players. Liverpool are doing a special offer on ticket prices for the game if bought in advance.
Thanks for reading!