SEASON REVIEW: FA WSL Northern Development Champions 2014/15

 Welcome to @LFCladiesfans Season Review of the 2014/15 Development Squad season.

 The FAWSL Northern Development League runs from September to May, taking a 2-month break over the winter months.

 This season has been a major success for Liverpool Ladies, crowned league champions with 2 games to spare and only exiting the League Cup after 240 minutes of football and a penalty shootout.


back L-R: Jess Carberry, Hayley Taylor, Mollie Green, Kirsty Hanson, Serena Fletcher, Rachel Darbyshire, Tash Rothery, Emilie Revitt, Olivia Wild, Shannon Beckwith, Maz Pacheco
front L-R: Bethany Donoghue, Lizzie Earle, Hannah Dale, Jess Davenport, Vicky Rumsey, Kess Elmore, Olivia Fuller

 Fixtures & Results

W 17/ D 1/ L 3

home games in bold, click the team names in red to read the match report.

21/09/14 Sunderland Ladies     W 3-0     league
25/09/14 Everton Ladies     W 2-0     league
28/09/14 Manchester City     W 2-0     cup
05/10/14 Doncaster Belles     W 7-0     league
12/10/14 Notts County     W 5-0     league
19/10/14 Doncaster Belles     W 5-0     cup
02/11/14 Manchester City     W 4-0     league
09/11/14 Sunderland Ladies     W 3-1     league
16/11/14 Durham WFC     W 10-0     cup
30/11/14 Aston Villa     W 6-1     league

01/02/15 Everton Ladies     W 5-0     cup
08/02/15 Birmingham City     W 3-1     league
22/02/15 Sunderland Ladies     L 2-1     cup
22/03/15 Birmingham City     L 1-0     league
12/04/15 Birmingham City     D 2-2 AET     cup   (LFC win 4-3 on pens)
16/04/15 Manchester City     L 2-0     league
19/04/15 Durham WFC     W 8-0     league
26/04/15 Birmingham City     L 4-2 AET*     cup
03/05/15 Aston Villa     W 6-1     league
10/05/15 Notts County     W 7-0     league
21/05/15 Everton Ladies     W 4-1     league
24/05/15 Durham WFC     W 5-0     league
31/05/15 Doncaster Belles     P-P     league

*league cup semi-final replayed due to refereeing error

Goal scorers & clean sheets

 Liverpool have scored 90 goals in 22 games, an average of 4.1 per game. The team have conceded just 15 in 22 games, an average of 0.7 per game.

 Goals have been scored by 16 different players (1 own goal); 44 from strikers, 37 from midfielders and 5 from defenders.

Mollie Green     17
Ashley Hodson     17
Bethany Donoghue     11
Claudia Walker     10
Hannah Dale     8
Jess Davenport     6
Katie Zelem     5
Mayumi Pacheco     3
Kess Elmore     3
Katrin Omarsdottir     2
Ellie Stewart     1
Olivia Fuller    1
Tash Rothery     1
Shannon Beckwith     1
Nicole Rolser     1
Lucy Staniforth     1
Kirsty Hanson     1
Own goal     1

Clean sheets- 
Rachel Darbyshire   9 in 14 
Danielle Gibbons   3 in 5

Jessica Davenport, Jennifer Herst and Jessica Carberry each played a game in goal while Darbyshire was ruled out due to injury, one clean sheet was kept during this period bringing the total to 14.

Liverpool’s defence only conceded in 8 games out of 22 all season.

Liverpool’s defence
L-R Rachel Darbyshire, Olivia Wild, Emilie Revitt, Shannon Beckwith, Maz Pacheco

Key Games

Sunderland Ladies 0 – 3 Liverpool Ladies, 21/09/14

Kicking off the season away at reigning league champions Sunderland Ladies looked to be a tough game, on paper, for Liverpool Ladies.

Making their debuts during the game were no more than 4 U17s from the Centre of Excellence, Rachel Darbyshire starting with Olivia Fuller, Charlie Johnson and Mayumi Pacheco second half substitutes.

Liverpool went ahead in the 12th minute through Hannah Dale, before Mollie Green scored either side of half-time to record a 3-0 victory for Liverpool and start an unbeaten run that would last into late February.

Liverpool Ladies 4 – 0 Manchester City, 28/09/14

Over the off-season Manchester City signed 2 of Liverpool’s midfielders in Grace Vella and Eve Kennerley, City also finished 2nd in the league in 2013/14.

Once again scoring was opened in the 12th minute, this time through Katie Zelem before Claudia Walker added a second minutes before half-time. Walker scored again in the next 45 before Bethany Donoghue scored the fourth and final goal after coming off the bench.

City would lose only 2 more games over the rest of their season, beating Liverpool 2-0 in the return leg, making this convincing 4-0 win an important one in the race for the league title. 

Liverpool Ladies 3 – 1 Birmingham City, 08/02/15

Over a 2-month period Liverpool Ladies and Birmingham City would face off 4 times, City proving to be a great opponent for the Reds with a strong starting 11.

Liverpool came out on top in this first game, Ashley Hodson and Claudia Walker putting them 2-0 up, Birmingham pulled a goal back before Walker scored again to seal the 3 points.

The next 3 games would see 2 cup ties go to extra time, one going all the way though to penalties – Shannon Beckwith tasked with marking first team striker Freda Ayisi and rising well to the challenge, and the return league game away at Birmingham in which the Blues ran out 1-0 winners. Not a lot separated the two sides, City will face Sunderland this weekend in the Development League Cup final.

Liverpool Ladies 8 – 0 Durham WFC, 19/04/15

The way in which the fixture list worked out, this home game against Durham came after 3 defeats and 1 win on penalties in the cup.

Defeat away at both Birmingham and Manchester City made this an important game with the 2 title challengers now taking up pole positions in the race to be crowned champions.

Mollie Green scored a hat-trick n 20 minutes, with Kess Elmore, Katrin Omarsdottir and Maz Pacheco also on target in the first half. Hannah Dale added a 7th in the second and Jess Davenport netted the 8th.

The victory marking the beginning of an unbeaten run for Liverpool until the end of the season, while Birmingham and Man City both dropped crucial points.

Everton Ladies 1 – 4 Liverpool Ladies, 21/05/15

Following the 4-1 win at Everton
L-R Emilie Revitt, Hannah Dale, Bethany Donoghue, Shannon Beckwith

Two nights earlier Man City had beaten Birmingham, taking them out of contention for the league title and meaning Liverpool needed only 3 points from their final 3 games to finish top of the table.

To win the league with 2 games to spare away at local rivals Everton Ladies marked a special moment in the season, both Bethany Donoghue and Hannah Dale scoring twice against a Blues side that had initially proved tough to break down.

Mollie Green was magnificent throughout, while Rachel Darbyshire produced a fine triple save on the stroke of full-time to ensure Liverpool ran out 4-1 winners on the night, and champions of the 2014/15 league campaign.


24. Rachel Darbyshire

Goalkeeper Rachel Darbyshire kept 9 clean sheets in 14 appearances, only conceding 1 goal in 2014 and this coming after 5 games. Rachel was one of the many players FA Youth Cup winning side to step up to the reserves and has grown in stature over the course of the campaign, training with the first team and making her debut during a pre-season friendly. An enthusiastic, vocal presence in the side who was missed during her absence through injury; following her return Liverpool won 3 out of 3 of their remaining games.

23. Danielle Gibbons

Danielle Gibbons made 5 appearances in total for the development side in 2014/15, putting in a Player of the Match display in the first cup semi-final against a tough Birmingham City side – with save after save during the game itself and then producing a winning save during the penalty shootout.

1*. Jessica Carberry

Jess is the goalkeeper for Liverpool’s U17 side, making one appearance between the posts for the development side after Darbyshire picked up an injury. Despite defeat, Jess did well on her debut, her distribution a particular strong point and not at fault for any of the goals.

28. Olivia Wild

Strong, quick and with a great eye for a long pass, Olivia Wild can run all day up and down the right wing. Has played the majority of her season at right-back although has also been used on the right wing, not looking out of place and giving the defence extra protection from further up the field as she tracks back well. Unfortunate to have missed several games though injury after starting the first 6 games, first a wrist injury picked up at the same time as the previous season, then a shoulder and hamstring preventing her from playing a couple in the second half of the year – making 15 appearances overall – Olivia returned in the league cup semi-final, scoring a rocket of a penalty in the shootout. 

6*. Tash Rothery

A goal on her debut wasn’t enough to prevent the Reds first defeat of the campaign, as Tash Rothery came off the bench to score in the 2-1 defeat away at Sunderland. Tash has proved to be a solid addition to an already sturdy Liverpool defence, playing at either right-back or centre-back and being voted Player of the Match by fans for the away league tie at Manchester City.

33. Mayumi Pacheco

An ever-present in the side throughout the second half of the season, Mayumi Pacheco has made the left-back spot her own. With 3 goals in 11 appearances Maz is a predominantly attacking player who can defend well in equal measure and is a regular in the England U17 squad alongside club team mate Kess Elmore. One of 5 development players to make their first team debut in the 4-1 pre-season victory over Aston Villa, Maz also went on to become Liverpool’s youngest ever player after making a competitive debut in the opening league game against Sunderland Ladies.

Maz was voted by followers of @LFCladiesfans as 2nd in the Player of the Season vote.

32. Serena Fletcher

One of 2 new faces joining the group towards the end of the season from Manchester United’s centre of excellence, Serena is a talented young full-back who made her first and only appearance in the 7-0 win over Notts County. An impressive debut seen the new addition bolster the Red’s attack on the right wing as the majority of their goals came from balls in from that side of the pitch.

26. Emilie Revitt  – 3rd in Player of the Season

Starting the season in a back 3 alongside Ellie Stewart and Shannon Beckwith and then partnering Beckwith in a back 2 following Stewart’s departure; Emilie has enjoyed a hugely successful year and is one of a group of 6 core players who has played the majority of the season’s games, making 19 appearances. Revitt made her first team debut during their pre-season and received a call-up to the senior Wales squad for their friendlies in April – coming within seconds of making her debut only for the fourth official to tell the bench they were unable to make any more substitutes.

Emilie was voted by followers of @LFCladiesfans as 3rd in the Player of the Season vote.

31. Olivia Fuller

The captain of the U17s side that lifted The FA Youth Cup last June, Olivia Fuller has made the most appearances out of the group that made the step up to the development side in 2014/15 featuring in 20 games. A versatile defender who is comfortable playing across the back 4, having been playing at right-back, right-wing-back, left-back and centre-back over the last 9 months and has visibly improved over the course of the year with an excellent display in the replay of the league cup semi-final – setting up both Liverpool goals.

29. Shannon Beckwith ©

Named captain at the beginning of the season following the departure of Sophia Riccio, Shannon Beckwith played an important part in the defence that conceded only 2 goals in 10 games in 2014; seguing comfortably from a back 3 to forming a good partnership with Emilie Revitt in 2015. Consistently reliable at the back, Shannon scored once at the other end of the pitch this season, heading home from a corner to equalise during the replay of the league cup semi-final. Only a hamstring injury prevented her from appearing during the closing stages of the campaign, her final appearance coming in the 6-1 victory over Aston Villa.

8*. Hayley Taylor

Hayley Taylor made 2 appearances this season for the development side, at the same time enjoying a great season for the U17s as she scored 11 goals from centre midfield. Both appearances came in the second half of the year and we could see her feature more in 2015/16.

38. Vicky Rumsey

The only player to have played some part in every single game, with 22 overall appearances. Vicky produced a Player of the Match display in the 6-1 victory before Christmas away at Aston Villa and her performances have continued to impress. Protecting the Liverpool back line, good at pressuring the opposition, closing them down and dispossessing – a particular highlight of the year coming against Everton last week, higher up the pitch, Vicky closed down the Blues defender at the edge of the 18-yard box after making a charging run, winning the free kick from which Hannah Dale would score to secure the league title. Also appeared for the first team during pre-season.

20. Katie Zelem

Katie Zelem made only 6 appearances this year for the development side, as she continues to press for a first team spot. In those 6 appearances the midfielder has been as influential as ever, scoring 4 goals.

30. Hannah Dale – PLAYER OF THE SEASON

Hannah Dale received the majority of votes and has deservedly been named @LFCladiesfans Development Player of the Season 2014/15. Hannah featured 14 times over the course of the season, scoring 8 goals – many free kicks, including a superb effort in the league-clinching 4-1 win over Everton Ladies. Her set pieces really are to be admired, corners, free kicks, penalties are all areas the no.30 specialises in.

A wrist injury prevented her from appearing in several games before the mid-season break, but the box-to-box midfielder soon returned and has again been given chances in the first team following her introduction during their title winning campaign in 2014.

Hannah would miss what would be the final game of the season, the 5-0 win at Durham, after receiving a first-time call-up to England’s U23 squad along with Lucy Staniforth and Martha Harris. It’s fantastic to see the recognition from England and the call-up reflects the hard work put in by the player who has rose through the age groups at Liverpool’s academy.

34. Kess Elmore

The FA Youth Cup winning hero has scored 3 goals in 10 games, featuring mainly during the second half of the season but also with a brilliant performance in the 4-2 friendly win away over Blackburn Rovers first team. Kess’ role in the team will grow next year, this season she continued playing with the U17s along with the development team and also continues to be consistently included in the England U17 squad. 

21. Mollie Green

Finishing the year joint-top goal scorer along with Ashley Hodson, Mollie Green has enjoyed an excellent first full season with the development squad after first making the step up towards the end of the 2013/14 season. A confident player, not afraid to shoot from seemingly anywhere on the pitch – including an audacious strike in the first half against Durham last weekend from the half way line. First team manager Matt Beard has been vocal in his praise of the attacking midfielder, who trains with the senior side twice a week and we could well see a debut in the second half of their season.

2*. Summer Smith

The last of the U17s to make the step up this season, Summer played 90 minutes in the final game of the season at Durham where she settled well in a midfield 3 alongside Vicky Rumsey and Mollie Green, making a number of interceptions in the midfield battle.

18. Bethany Donoghue

In 2013/14 Bethany Donoghue was voted by followers of this blog as joint Player of the Season alongside Megan Alexander after finishing top scorer for the Liverpool side that finished 3rd in the league. This year Bethany has scored 11 goals in 21 appearances, second only to joint top scorers Ashley Hodson and Mollie Green and is also second behind Vicky Rumsey in terms of appearances made. An excellent finisher who scored 6 goals in the final 3 games of the season and also came on as a substitute in the first team’s pre-season friendly against Aston Villa.

10*. Lizzie Earle

Joining the development squad towards the end of a successful year with the U17s, with 6 goals in 12 starts, Lizzie made a couple of appearances including a debut in the league cup semi-final against Birmingham City – scoring her penalty in the shootout.

22. Jess Davenport

The forward has featured 21 times over the course of the season, scoring 6 goals – including one brilliant goal from just inside the 18-yard box to complete the 5-0 victory away at Durham. Jess won The FA Youth Cup with Liverpool’s U17s last year before making the step up to the development side and helping them to the league title. Will be missed next season as she takes up a soccer scholarship in America. 

35. Kirsty Hanson

The second of the new recruits from Manchester United, Hanson made a couple of substitute appearances before scoring on her full debut in the final away game of the campaign against Durham; playing in the centre of a front 3, Kirsty scored after winning a corner and then volleying the resulting set piece over the line. Will no doubt become an important player for the team next season. 

36. Ashley Hodson

Ashley Hodson scored 17 goals in 9 games before a knee injury ruled her out for the remainder of the season, voted Player of the Season at the midway stage and making her debut for England U23s, Ashley’s pace and finishing technique are brilliant. On her return she should find herself involved with the first team during the second half of their season and could even push for a starting spot.

First teamers Lucy Staniforth, Martha Harris, Nicole Rolser, Ingrid Ryland and Katrin Omarsdottir have all also featured over the course of the season.

Departed players: mid-season Ellie Stewart, Megan Alexander and Claudia Walker left Liverpool to join Everton Ladies in search of more regular first team football while Charlie Johnson and Rachel Robinson have both left the club.

*players marked with an asterisk have stepped up this season from the U17s and are yet to be assigned a squad number.

Congratulations to every player who featured during the course of the season, it’s important to remember that every single player has played their part in the league win – 90 goals scored and 15 conceded in 22 games represents an excellent team effort and Liverpool are lucky to have such a talented youth side with bright futures ahead of them all.

Finally I’d like to finish this review by congratulating the coaching staff – Matty Campbell, Vicky Jepson, Jennifer Herst et al on a great season.

Thanks for following the blog over the development season, as ever the reports have proven to be some of the most popular on here.

Photos – John Wilcox / Michelle Watson

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