Liverpool Ladies beat Durham WFC 5-0 away from home in their penultimate game of the 2014/15 season.
The Reds, crowned league champions on Thursday evening, scored twice in the first half through Bethany Donoghue and a wonder goal from Mollie Green. The second half seen 3 more, with Donoghue scoring her second, Jess Davenport adding to her tally for the season and Kirsty Hanson scoring her first Liverpool goal on her first start.
There were 3 changes to the side that won midweek; with Hannah Dale, Mayumi Pacheco and Kess Elmore all away with England.
Summer Smith made her development debut in a midfield 3 that also contained Mollie Green and Vicky Rumsey, Kirsty Hanson in the middle of the front 3 with Bethany Donoghue to her right and Jess Davenport to her left; Tash Rothery alongside Olivia Fuller at centre back, Emilie Revitt starting at left back – and captaining the team with Shannon Beckwith absent through injury – Olivia Wild at right back and Rachel Darbyshire in goal.
The newly crowned champions were almost ahead seconds after kick off, Olivia Wild putting the ball into the box for Mollie Green to hit the post; minutes later Kirsty Hanson did well to keep the ball in play, beat her marker and send a cross towards Bethany Donoghue only for the defender to intercept.
Liverpool had played Durham twice already this season, winning 10-0 and 8-0, but during the early stages their hosts tried to put pressure on the Reds defence – Emilie Revitt called into action, standing her ground to force the winger to pass infield, Vicky Rumsey intercepted the loose ball and Summer Smith was able to clear.
Tash Rothery twice headed away Durham set pieces while Olivia Fuller put in a good shift; quick to react to the crosses coming in from the right and closing down with confidence when the home side attempted to put the ball over the Liverpool back line.
The passage of play in which Liverpool opened the scoring began with Mollie Green midway through the Durham half, the visitors had 9 players forward, pressing around the 18-yard box. The initial strike in was blocked by the goalkeeper, Hanson closing it down and Donoghue capitalising to score her 10th goal of the season.
Donoghue’s goal was quickly followed by a strong contender for goal of the season from Mollie Green. The ball came to Green on the halfway line, who took it forward a few yards before excellently lobbing the ball over the keeper to extend the lead to 2-0 after 15 minutes.
For the next half an hour both sides probed the others defence, with Olivia Wild brilliant both ends of the pitch; almost getting on the score sheet with 2 long range shots, making a wonderful turn to evade her marker and tracking back to match the wingers run, Rothery coming across to clear and carry the ball out.
A brief period towards the end of the first half seen Emilie Revitt move into centre back with Olivia Fuller going on the left, Fuller making a good run into the opposition half and sending the ball towards Hanson.
Fuller was also able to make a break down the wing after combining well with Summer Smith, who kept the ball in play, but it was Durham who looked more likely to score during the closing stages of the first 45 – heading just wide of the post from one cross and then only being denied by a good reaction save by Rachel Darbyshire.
Half-time: Durham WFC 0 – 2 Liverpool Ladies
Both teams emerged unchanged for the second half – Liverpool had just reserve keeper Jess Carberry on the bench – as the battle in midfield continued. Summer Smith seemed to be playing slightly further forward and was winning balls across the centre of the pitch.
Early in the second half Liverpool had a trio of corner kicks, the first coming after Hanson and Donoghue combined on the right. The second was tipped straight out for a third, which almost reached Kirsty Hanson but the keeper just got there.
The partnership between Bethany Donoghue and Mollie Green has produced a number of goals of late, just 7 minutes into the half there was another, Green teeing up Donoghue who expertly clipped the ball around the defender and scored from the edge of the box to put Liverpool further ahead.
Hanson was having a good game up front for Liverpool, coming out wide when required and the striker was unlucky on a number of occasions; the best passage of play of the afternoon seen Jess Davenport dummy the ball for Revitt to run past her to the byline, Hanson’s shot from the cross was saved as was Mollie Green’s rebound.
Up at the other end a well-timed sliding challenge from Vicky Rumsey in the 6-yard box denied Durham and Darbyshire twice came to the edge of the 18 to clear.
The next 2 Liverpool goals would come from set pieces; first Olivia Wild swinging a free kick to Jess Davenport, unmarked inside the area, who scored the fourth through a crowd of players. The fifth and final goal came after Kirsty Hanson seen a shot tipped wide, Green’s corner was then converted by Hanson who volleyed over the line at the far post.
Jess Carberry did make a brief appearance towards the end of the 90, coming on to replace Summer Smith outfield.
XI Darbyshire, Wild, Rothery, Fuller, Revitt ©, Rumsey, Green, Smith (Carberry), Donoghue, Hanson, Davenport
POTM Bethany Donoghue
*UPDATE 28/05/15 – the final league game against Doncaster Belles has been postponed indefinitely*
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