Liverpool Ladies suffered their first defeat of 2015 at home to Yeovil Town Ladies this afternoon, losing 1-0.
Liverpool were missing a number of players meaning they had just 3 named substitutes for the game, Martha Harris, Satara Murray and Ashley Hodson were all away with England U23s and Katrin Omarsdottir was also absent.
Danielle Gibbons once again started in goal with Ingrid Ryland, Becky Easton, Gemma Bonner and Corina Schroder making up the defence in front of her. Katie Zelem returned to partner Fara Williams in midfield, Natasha Dowie up front and Asisat Oshoala, Kate Longhurst and Nicole Rolser making up the starting 11.
From kick off it was clear that Yeovil were setting out to match the twice Women’s Super League champions, Kate Longhurst’s early run down the left wing was mirrored by Yeovil seconds later – Ingrid Ryland getting back to cover and intercept before the winger could get a cross in and Gemma Bonner clearing the danger.
Asisat Oshoala was a constant threat throughout the 90 minutes, attacking down the left wing one minute and charging down the right the next. Oshoala constantly looks for a teammate to pass or cross to once clearing the opposition defence and with more game time together Liverpool should begin to reap the benefits of her pace and ability to skip past defenders.
Yeovil almost took the lead during the first-half, a cross coming into the box from the left and the striker’s header seeming to be destined for the top corner only for a fingertips save from Danielle Gibbons to send the ball out for a corner. Gibbons also reacted quickly later in the first half to punch away from a Yeovil free kick, hurting herself in the process and requiring treatment on the pitch.
The home side had their fair share of chances over the course of the game, hitting the crossbar no less than three times – the first coming after Fara Williams let a ferocious strike go from 30 yards, taking a deflection and earning the reds a corner which was almost scrambled over the line but eventually ended in the hands of the keeper.
Natasha Dowie was the second reds player to hit the crossbar – again the shot was deflected, earning a corner and Gemma Bonner’s header went out for another corner. Dowie then almost set up Oshoala whose shot was blocked back to the no.9 who played in Bonner again who seen two strikes blocked.
Liverpool seemed to be creeping closer and closer to opening the scoring as the first half drew to a close, one impressive play seen the reds counter quickly with Fara Williams intercepting the Yeovil attack and setting Dowie off down the wing. Corina Schroder overlapped her run but the German’s cross was blocked with Dowie just missing out on connecting with the rebound.
The second-half continued much the same way, both sides defending well and attacking. Becky Easton made a number of her trademark sliding tackles while Gemma Bonner had a couple of important blocks.
The home side looked most likely to score in a busy spell at the beginning of the second-half, Ingrid Ryland almost setting up Katie Zelem with a cutting through ball down the middle and Natasha Dowie turning well from a Corina Schroder cross but closed down well before she could get a shot in.
A goal finally came and unluckily for the reds it was for their visitors, an unfortunately conceded corner was met well by substitute Amy Wathan who headed home the only goal of the game.
It was Oshoala who had Liverpool’s greatest chance of the game, set up by Fara Williams the reds no.14 neatly tried to chip the ball around the oncoming keeper yet seen the ball bounce agonisingly just inches wide. Late in the second-half Nicole Rolser also completed Liverpool’s hat trick of hitting the crossbar.
Line Smorsgard and Maz Pacheco were both introduced in the second-half as Liverpool pressed for an equaliser, replacing Kate Longhurst and Corina Schroder on the left side of the pitch.
As disappointing as it is to lose credit must be given when it is due and Yeovil fought to the final whistle for the win, defending brilliantly. Pete Amos is building a great team that will challenge for one of two promotion spots in this year’s WSL2, best of luck to them.
Despite the defeat it’s important to also look at the positives that Liverpool can take from the afternoon, the introduction of Mayumi Pacheco on 80 minutes provided a spark on the left wing and the 16-year old continues to impress. Pacheco only made her debut for the development squad in November and then for the first team in the home friendly against Aston Villa, yet with charging forward runs and interchanging passing with Line Smorgard and Fara Williams the youth player does not look out of place amongst the senior squad.
Asisat Oshoala also looks to be an immense acquisition to the strong Liverpool squad, her movement on and off the ball is good and her pace and stamina late in the game in tough conditions unrivalled. Oshoala looked the player on the pitch most likely to do something special for Liverpool, with a nod also to Natasha Dowie who looked sharp – particularly during the opening 45 minutes, chasing everything down in the opposition half and holding the ball up well.
XI Gibbons, Ryland, Easton, Bonner (C), Schroder (Pacheco), Williams, Zelem, Oshoala, Rolser, Longhurst (Smorsgard), Dowie
POTM Asisat Oshoala
The development squad also fell to their first loss of the 2014/15 season in what sounded like horrendous weather conditions in the North East; losing 2-0 at half-time in the cup away at Sunderland but pulling a goal back in the second-half through debutant Tash Rothery for the tie to finish 2-1. Dev squad XI: Darbyshire, Wild, Beckwith (C) (Rothery), Revitt, Fuller, Rumsey, Dale, Taylor (also making her debut), Davenport, Green, Donoghue.
Finally I’m excited to be able to tell you that I have secured a 4-week work placement during the summer with Boston Breakers in the NWSL, I’m so grateful for the opportunity and although I will miss a couple of Liverpool Ladies games @LFCladiesfans is going nowhere and I will continue to provide as many updates as possible from across the pond!
Thanks for reading, Heather