A WONDER STRIKE from 17-year old Georgia Stanway and Nikita Parris’s second-half header sent Manchester City Women into the next round of The FA Cup at the expense of Liverpool Ladies.
Scott Rogers named 7 debutants amongst his starting 11; Siobhan Chamberlain in goal, Mandy Van Den Berg joining Gemma Bonner in central defence with Alex Greenwood and Martha Harris on the left and right.
Sophie Ingle provided cover for the back line in defensive midfield alongside Laura Coombs, while Katie Zelem played behind Rosie White up front and Natasha Harding and Caroline Weir either side of her.
Both sides played cautiously in the opening 20 minutes. The game bursting into life when Chamberlain held on well to a fierce Toni Duggan strike and quickly redistributing the ball, straight up at the other end Liverpool had strong claims for a penalty waved away – White looked to have been bundled over by Abbie McManus.
Minutes later Chamberlain denied Duggan again, brilliantly stretching to tip her international team mate’s dipping shot over the crossbar. The new no.1 impressed throughout her debut, producing another block with her feet at close range and generally organising her defence well.
Liverpool began to threaten when Harris went on a rampaging run down the right wing and, under pressure from Duggan, sending a cross towards the incoming Harding however City keeper Karen Bardsley got there first.
It when then that City struck the first blow with Stanway unleashing a 30-yard hit to put the Reds behind, Stanway had not long replaced the injured Izzy Christiansen.
The goal was particularly cruel as until that point Liverpool had batted away everything City had thrown at them, and continued to do so for the remainder of the first half. Harris blocking shot after shot, Chamberlain saving from Swedish striker Kosovare Asllani and Greenwood heading away a dangerous cross that was on its way to Duggan from the Swede.
Rogers made one change at the break, Emma Lundh making her competitive debut replacing White up front.
The Reds came under pressure early in the second-half. A Duggan free-kick was headed away by Bonner as far as Bronze; Bonner then blocked the former Liverpool defender’s shot before clearing. City were quick to press forward again, Jill Scott closed down quickly at the edge of the area by Van Den Berg.
Liverpool then pressed forward, Greenwood’s cross met by Zelem yet not falling for Harding. The Welsh winger then chased a long ball forward, almost reaching it but for Bardsley being quick off her line to gather.
It would be another City substitute to find the back of the net for the visitors. Parris nodding the ball past Chamberlain from a set piece to make it 2-0. The former Everton striker has made a habit out of scoring against Liverpool.
Supporters in attendance, 743 the official crowd figure, were treated to one final debut as Shanice Van de Sanden came on for Weir and Kate Longhurst made her first appearance of the season replacing Coombs.
Liverpool almost pulled a goal back when Harris found Longhurst on the edge of the box, Longhurst headed on to Lundh whose shot went the wrong side of the post.
Lundh looked sharp during her 45 minutes, dropping deeper to link the midfield to the attack and spraying clever passes sideways. The no.9 was unlucky not to find herself on the scoresheet as a last-ditch header from Bronze sent her goalbound strike out for a corner and she almost found the back of the net from a Zelem lay off, shooting inches wide.
LIVERPOOL XI Chamberlain, Harris, Bonner (C), Van Den Berg, Greenwood, Ingle, Coombs (Longhurst), Harding, Weir (Van de Sanden), Zelem, White (Lundh)
PLAYER OF THE MATCH Sophie Ingle
Despite the result there are plenty of positives the Reds can take. Performing well defensively with Harris, as usual, a stand out along with the aforementioned Chamberlain, and Van Den Berg displayed great awareness. Ingle was also an imposing presence in the midfield, throwing herself into challenges while Zelem showed great promise further up the pitch.
Liverpool will be looking to bounce back from the defeat as they begin their 2016 league campaign on Wednesday night; kickoff is 7:30pm at Select Stadium, Widnes.