Liverpool Ladies picked up another crucial 3 points earlier today against Notts County Ladies. The win takes them to 2nd in the league, 2 points behind Chelsea.
The reds lined up with Libby Stout in goal, in front of a defensive trio of Gemma Bonner, Becky Easton and Nina Frausing. Lucy Bronze and Corina Schroder deployed as wing-backs with Natasha Dowie, Kate Longhurst and Gemma Davison behind her and Katrin Omarsdottir and Fara Williams making up the midfield.
Notts County are a frustrating team to play against and during the first 45 minutes they executed their game plan well, pressing as Liverpool attempted to pass the ball around.
Kate Longhurst was first to break through the Notts lines, following a quick one-two with Natasha Dowie in midfield Longhurst raced to the edge of the 18-yard box only for the defender to catch her last minute before she could get a strike in.
Jess Clarke is County’s top scorer, with 12 goals in all competitions this season. Clarke was again the main threat, her pace down the left wing blinding. Gemma Bonner did particularly well to keep the winger at bay, with a number of well-timed challenges and interceptions.
As Liverpool struggled to control the tempo of the game, they were forced into an early substitution with Becky Easton coming off with what looked to be a hamstring injury. Easton was replaced by Amanda DaCosta and Fara Williams stepped back into the centre of defence alongside Bonner and Nina Frausing.
During the break in play as both Easton and Libby Stout received treatment, Fara Williams pulled the standing players together for an impromptu pep talk. Liverpool were to face another couple of menacing Jess Clarke runs into the box first however before mounting a significant attack of their own.
The ever-brilliant Lucy Bronze beat a couple of players to cut into the 18-yard box from the right, Bronze cut the ball across the face of goal to the incoming Corina Schroder however somehow the strike went over the bar. Schroder almost made amends for the miss minutes later, with a brilliant cross swung in towards Kate Longhurst. The ball only just grazing the head of Liverpool’s no.7.
Out for the second-half, Liverpool had a renewed energy and immediately set off pressing Notts high up the pitch and in their own half. Lucy Bronze again with a good ball to Gemma Davison on the edge of the area but the cross went out for a goal kick.
Next it was captain Gemma Bonner who kickstarted the Liverpool attack, Bonner ball forward finding Natasha Dowie on the half way line. Dowie flicked the ball on to Kate Longhurst who won a corner. The results set piece was headed away and cleared only as far as Davison who tried to send Longhurst through on goal, Notts keeper Carly Telford got there first.
Liverpool crept closer and closer to opening the scoring, Fara Williams controlling play from her new position at centre back. Williams was a calm figure for Liverpool throughout and even hit the post with a free kick that had Telford beaten.
With about 15 minutes to play Katie Zelem replaced Longhurst. Zelem proved to be the missing puzzle piece for the reds, excellently volleying home Gemma Davison‘s cross with her first touch to score the match winning goal.
Following the goal Liverpool looked hungry for more, it looked as though Davison had won a penalty and Natasha Dowie was poised to take the spot kick before the referee bizarrely changed his mind. Notts had a player booked for contesting the penalty, a decision that would prove costly in the 90th minute as Sophie Walton picked up her second yellow card and received her marching orders.
XI: Stout, Bronze, Bonner (C), Easton (DaCosta) Frausing, Schroder, Williams, Omarsdottir, Davison, Longhurst (Zelem), Dowie
POTM: Fara Williams
Next up for the reds they are away (at Select Stadium) against Everton Ladies on Thursday 4th September.
Thanks for reading!