Liverpool Ladies continued their pre-season with an 8-0 thrashing of Derby County away from home last night, the relentless reds putting in a good team performance despite poor pitch conditions.
Danielle Gibbons started in goal once again with Martha Harris at right-back, Corina Schroder on the left and new signing Satara Murray partnering Gemma Bonner at centre-back for the first time.
In midfield Hannah Dale started alongside Fara Williams, Kate Longhurst, Asisat Oshoala and Nicole Rolser ahead of them just behind striker Natasha Dowie.
This match had been arranged as part of Derby County’s 25th anniversary celebrations however from the opening whistle Liverpool looked out to spoil the party; attacking predominantly down the left wing with Corina Schroder in fine form, in the early stages of the game Schroder seen two crosses headed away.
Despite Liverpool’s dominance, Derby were proving tough to break down with their goalkeeper particularly keeping the reds at bay and twice denying Natasha Dowie at close range. Asisat Oshoala played Dowie in for a third time, this time the shot looked to be going in but took a slight deflection and the referee gave a goal kick.
Liverpool broke the deadlock 10 minutes in after a slew of chances, Martha Harris playing a neat low ball into the box for Kate Longhurst to latch onto and smash her first goal of pre-season into the roof of the net.
Longhurst almost set up Nicole Rolser seconds later only to find the keeper just beating the incoming reds no.11 to the ball.
Satara Murray had made her Liverpool debut a couple of weeks earlier in the home friendly against Aston Villa, marking the occasion with a thumping header and impressing supporters with her strength.
Murray once again produced in this match, playing the full 90 minutes; during the first half holding off the Derby no.9 to turn and play the ball out from the back, then when the striker did seem to skip past the reds defender Murray recovered well to get back and clear. This was perhaps the one occasion during the match that Derby looked most likely to score, the ball being launched back into the box and blocked first by Gemma Bonner before Corina Schroder won possession back for Liverpool.
Moments before Liverpool doubled their lead the Rams once again charged forward, Danielle Gibbons doing well to come off her line and save before the striker could get their shot in but the linesman had called offside regardless.
Fifteen minutes after the opening goal, Fara Williams scored a fantastic effort from 25-yards out to double the reds lead and almost added an identical second minutes later.
It was soon 3-0; Williams playing a short corner to Martha Harris, back to Williams who sent the ball towards Bonner on the edge of the box, Bonner sent the ball forward to Nicole Rolser just outside the 6-yard box and Rolser poked the ball over the line.
Another player who impressed over the course of the first-half was development squad midfielder Hannah Dale, Dale linked well with her midfield partner Fara Williams as the latter’s ball over the top of the Derby defence almost ended at Dale’s feet and the young midfielder almost scored a similar strike to Williams’ but seen her strike hit the crossbar.
Liverpool made two substitutions at half-time, Libby Stout replacing Danielle Gibbons in goal and Ingrid Ryland coming in for Martha Harris at right-back.
Hannah Dale started the second-half as brightly as she finished the first, picking up on Gemma Bonner’s clearance to set Ryland off on a run down the right wing and getting herself into a position to receive the ball back 30 yards out from goal, the Derby defence closing in however and Dale was unable to get a shot in.
Natasha Dowie had seen a couple of shots in the first 45 saved well by the Derby keeper and was once again evaded early in the second; Gemma Bonner making a charging run forward and passing low to the waiting Dowie outside the box, Dowie turned well and shot but the keeper was there to deny her.
Dowie would still find herself involved in a slight flurry of action soon afterwards, a great cross into the box from Corina Schroder was turned into the back of the net by Liverpool’s top scorer for the 4th goal of the evening. The no.9 then turned provider twice, an inch-perfect cross landing at the feet of Schroder who finished well with her left foot to make it 5-0.
For the 6th goal and shortly before being substituted for Ashley Hodson, Dowie crossed the ball low from the right for Fara Williams to score her second and Liverpool’s 6th.
Matt Beard made a number of second-half substitutions, Katrin Omarsdottir coming on for Hannah Dale, Becky Easton replacing Gemma Bonner at centre-back and Line Smorsgard making her debut coming on for goal scorer Nicole Rolser.
Smorsgard almost found the back of the net immediately with a cheeky backheel from inside the 6-yard box but wouldn’t have to wait long until opening her Liverpool goalscoring account, fellow new signing Asisat Oshoala once again exploiting the right wing and crossing the ball in for Smorsgard to make no mistake from yards out.
Ashley Hodson has scored 17 goals for the development squad in their season so far and looked confident in the time she got on the pitch during the second-half, comfortably beating the Derby right-back by the corner flag to attempt to cross the ball, the defender getting the block in and Liverpool winning a corner.
Kate Longhurst would cap the confident Liverpool display shortly before full-time with perhaps the finest goal of the evening – volleying the 8th strike into the top left corner from inside the box.
8 goals scored by 5 different players, goals from defence, midfield and upfront coupled with a clean sheet made this a very exciting game to watch for supporters, next up for Liverpool they face Yeovil at home on Sunday 22nd February, 2pm kick off.
XI Gibbons (Stout), Harris (Ryland), Bonner (C)(Easton), Murray, Schroder, Williams, Dale (Omarsdottir), Oshoala, Rolser (Smorsgard), Longhurst, Dowie (Hodson)
POTM Fara Williams