This afternoon Liverpool Ladies overcame Birmingham City Ladies to take themselves to within a point of the top of the league.
In the opening exchanges each side struggled to grasp control of the game, Fara Williams won possession for Liverpool immediately after the opening whistle but the reds initially found it tough to retain possession.
Martha Harris returned to the starting 11 after missing a number of games due to injury and featuring in the England U20s World Cup campaign. Harris played at left wing back with Lucy Bronze on the right and a centre back trio of Gemma Bonner, Becky Easton and Corina Schroder.
Birmingham’s Kirsty Linnett slipped past the reds defence on a couple of occasions during the first half, first thwarted by a Becky Easton sliding challenge and then denied with a save from Libby Stout.
As the first half went on, Liverpool began to look the more composed of the two sides. Beginning to patiently build up their attack with Amanda DaCosta and Fara Williams each being particularly influential. Martha Harris was also impressing on the left, constantly making runs and creating space for herself out wide.
Liverpool almost took the lead when Kate Longhurst made a great run through on goal, before the no.7 could get her strike in Aoife Mannion came sliding in with a crunching tackle that Becky Easton would be proud of.
The red’s patience in front of goal eventually paid off, with a number of players involved in the build up; the ball fell to Harris inside the box, her shot was cleared only as far as Amanda DaCosta who made no mistakes from 5 yards out smashing the ball into the back of the net.
DaCosta almost added a second after Lucy Bronze and Natasha Dowie combined to set her up – this time the strike was blocked and Liverpool went in at half time 1-0 up.
Liverpool continued to carve out opportunities in the second half, Kate Longhurst winning an early corner. This was caught by Becky Spencer, minutes later the Birmingham keeper was again on hand at the corner to save Lucy Bronze‘s on target header.
Katrin Omarsdottir also seen a long range effort go just inches over the bar, after dangerously dipping mid-air.
Both sides made a couple of attacking substitutions, with Kate Longhurst and Martha Harris replaced by Gemma Davison and Katie Zelem and former red Hannah Keryakoplis coming on for Birmingham.
Keryakoplis was on the pitch for a matter of minutes before she equalised against her former club, the ball dropping to her feet 40 yards out after Libby Stout mis-hit a clearance – the striker scoring in the empty goal.
Liverpool quickly got themselves back into position to retake the lead in the most bizarre of circumstances, from the restart Fara Williams spotting the keeper off her line and scoring an incredible goal from the half way line not even a minute after the blues equaliser.
A shell-shocked Birmingham protested saying the referee had not signalled for the restart, however the goal stood and proved to be the winner with Liverpool taking all 3 points in this crucial top of the table clash.
POTM : Fara Williams
XI : Stout, Bronze, Bonner (C), Easton, Schroder, Harris (Hodson), Omarsdottir, Williams, DaCosta (Zelem), Longhurst (Davison), Dowie
Liverpool have just 2 games remaining now of the 2014 season, away to Arsenal 2 weeks today before facing Bristol Academy at home on 12th October. Winning both these games will guarantee a Champions League spot, while just a point separates the reds from Chelsea at the top of the league. Chelsea face Everton and Man City in their final games, meaning the title is still very much in the Londoners hands.
Liverpool’s Development Squad kicked off their season with a 3-0 win away at reigning champions Sunderland Ladies. Hannah Dale opened the scoring before Mollie Green netted a brace. Megan Alexander returned from her recent loan spell with Oxford United while Ellie Stewart and Claudia Walker both started after featuring for the first team throughout their season. The next game is this Thursday evening at home against Everton Ladies, entry is free, 7:30pm kick off at Select Stadium.
Finally, this week I was proud to have the opportunity to have my blog featured on one of my University lecturer’s websites. You can read the piece here: You’ll Never Walk Alone: Sports Journalism & Social Media
Thanks for reading!