Liverpool Ladies claimed their first derby victory over Everton Ladies this season earlier tonight, beating the blues 1-0 with a Kate Longhurst strike.
Having won their previous two cup games, Liverpool went into this game with 10 goals scored and with perhaps more confidence than before the break when they drew their last two league games before returning to a home defeat to Arsenal.
Despite this it was Everton who had the majority of the chances within the opening 10 minutes, Nikita Parris with an early strike that was brilliantly saved by Libby Stout – Liverpool’s No.1 excellently getting down to save from close range from the striker.
Liverpool tried to push forward but kept finding themselves penned inside their own half, losing possession on the halfway line and then conceding a free kick which Kate Longhurst defended well to head out for a corner; the resulting corner headed wide with two Evertonians down needing treatment.
Following the early burst of Everton activity, Liverpool began to find their rhythm; Libby Stout sending a short goal kick to Fara Williams who almost picked out Longhurst up front with the long ball but the defender got there first.
Next Gemma Davison, continuing her fantastic form this half of the season playing predominantly through the centre did well to win a corner which Williams took and almost reached Gemma Bonner.
Continuing the frantic opening ten minutes, Everton again attempted to breach the Liverpool defence on the counter attack – with Corina Schroder and Kate Longhurst joining forces to stop Nikita Parris from getting a strike in.
Straight down the other end another brilliant run from Davison picked out Katie Zelem on the right, her ball across the box back to Davison and Natasha Dowie was chased down by the pair and sent towards the goal – Rachel Brown-Finnis collecting despite the oncoming Amanda DaCosta.
The only goal of the game came after Corina Schroder did fantastically well towards the corner, holding off 3 blue players to turn and get a pass to the edge of the box to Natasha Dowie. Dowie found Kate Longhurst waiting on the edge of the 18-yard box for the forward to confidently smash home her first goal of the season.
The game continued to be end-to-end for the remainder of the first-half and the second, shortly after the reds took the lead Liverpool again finding themselves under heavy fire – Nina Frausing pairing exceptionally well with Gemma Bonner to consistently elude Nikita Parris‘ chances, the blues number 9 finding herself frustratedly pushed out wide and not managing to wreak as much damage as the 2-0 Everton win here back in April.
Libby Stout also continued to prove why she is becoming one of the best goalkeepers in the Women’s Super League, commanding her box and comfortably coming out off her line to collect long ball, corners and crosses.
At the beginning of the second-half it was Liverpool who showed the most attacking intent, immediately setting off down the right hand side with Amanda DaCosta. Everton defended well to force the Liverpool midfielder to pass back, eventually coming to Schroder who’s cross was blocked.
From the blocked cross Everton counter-attacked, Schroder getting back and across the face of goal to help out Stout at the back and clear for Liverpool this time to mount the attack.
It was Kate Longhurst who had the greatest chance to double the reds lead, a great cross from Natasha Dowie reaching Longhurst on the 6-yard box but unfortunately she couldn’t connect with it properly and the chance went wide.
Gemma Bonner also almost got on the end of a Fara Williams free kick minutes later, the initial free kick sailing over her head but passed back in for the skipper to attempt a scissor kick but again the blues defence was strong and managed to get the ball clear. At the other end Bonner also fantastically shielded the ball across the face of goal, Everton got the ball back in from the clearance but it was easy for Stout to collect.
Martha Harris and Katrin Omarsdottir replaced Katie Zelem and Kate Longhurst during the second-half that produced many chances for each team to press forward.
The game played out to a hugely important 1-0 victory for Liverpool, despite a glorious late chance for Gemma Davison who almost went one-on-one with the keeper only for Fern Whelan to get back across the face of goal – forcing Davison to turn and shoot, which was saved by Brown.
POTM: Corina Schroder
XI: Stout, Bronze, Bonner (C), Frausing, Schroder, Williams, DaCosta, Zelem (Harris), Davison, Longhurst (Katrin), Dowie
3 points mean Liverpool move to 3rd in the table, ahead of Manchester City and Notts County’s clash tomorrow evening. Next up for the reds they travel to Bristol Academy on Saturday, last season this was the game that set Liverpool’s title hopes alight with a magnificent strike from Gemma Bonner who netted the winning goal in a 4-3 battle. For the first time (and only) this season there will be no match report on the blog for this game, I am in London for the weekend and unable to make it! Make sure you are following @LFCladies on twitter for match updates while the game is in play.
In other news this week, on Tuesday England U19s played their opening game of the UEFA Championships in Norway and despite falling to a 2-0 defeat to Sweden it was brilliant to see Claudia Walker captaining and leading the side. Their next game will be on Friday against Republic of Ireland.