Liverpool Ladies reached the semi-finals of the SSE Women’s FA Cup on Sunday afternoon after beating Notts County Ladies 2-0 in Widnes.
Caroline Weir had put Liverpool ahead three minutes into the tie and Natasha Harding added a second midway through the first half.
Reds manager Scott Rogers made just one change to the side that beat Everton last weekend; England international Casey Stoney making her debut in for Katie Zelem, slotting in at centre back alongside Gemma Bonner and allowing Sophie Ingle to move into midfield.
Weir’s opener came after Kate Longhurst had been brought down outside the box. With Liverpool still in possession, the referee allowed advantage to be played and Weir capitalised to send a low drive squirming underneath Notts goalkeeper Carly Telford.
The Scottish international almost had another just minutes later, Alex Greenwood made an excellent run down the left flank to cut the ball in towards Weir. Weir flicked the ball over Laura Bassett but ran into another Notts shirt and the visitors were able to clear their lines.
Liverpool were defensively sound throughout the 90 minutes with Ashley Hodson a stand out performer filling in at right back. Hodson rose highest to head away Angharad James’ swinging free kick and made a crucial interception to prevent a cross finding its way into the box.
Siobhan Chamberlain then saved well from international team mate Rachel Williams, stretching to tip her effort around the post, and Stoney cleared Dani Buet’s resulting corner off the line.
Notts would be left to rue these opportunities as Liverpool countered quickly, Weir turning provider to play Harding through. Harding carried the ball forward a few yards before curling a superb strike into the back of the net.
Reds skipper Gemma Bonner then cleared yet another Notts effort off the line following a period of sustained pressure in and around the Liverpool box.
Sophie Ingle also headed the ball calmly into the arms of Chamberlain under pressures from Williams and Stoney intercepted a pass intended for the forward from Kirsty Linnett.
Soaking up the pressure from the visitors, Liverpool then went on to have a hat trick of chances before the half was up.
The most notable chance an impressive run and cut back from Shanice van de Sanden, the Dutch winger picking out the run of Longhurst who fired inches over the crossbar. Bonner was also denied by Telford from a corner and Ali Johnson shot over after also being teed up by van de Sanden.
In the second half van de Sanden was unable to convert a cross in from Weir, the ball deflected out for a corner. Notts initially cleared the set piece however Liverpool found a way back in and Harding was stopped by a great save from Telford.
The Reds defence continued to impress during the second half. Linnett attempting to skip through the back line only to be challenged by Ingle, Aileen Whelan stopped in her tracks by Bonner and a marvellous block by Hodson denying Linnett at close range.
As the game drew to a close Harding and van de Sanden both seen chances go the wrong side of the post while Johnson sent an effort over the crossbar in injury time.
The visitors tried but ultimately couldn’t find a way through Liverpool’s back line, Bonner seeing off Williams with ease in the final minutes and Chamberlain out to collect a threatening cross.
LIVERPOOL LADIES: Chamberlain, Hodson, Bonner ©, Stoney, Greenwood, Ingle, Longhurst, Weir (Zelem), Johnson, van de Sanden, Harding
UNUSED SUBSTITUTES: Gibbons, Taylor, Cole



Hello followers of @LFCladiesfans! Today, 24th March, marks the fourth anniversary of the beginning of this blog. It has been an eventful, crazy and fun-filled four years and I wanted to mark the occasion by counting down the top five personal highlights I have had since embarking on this adventure four years ago.

Notable highlights that just about missed out on the top five: 

The relentless pursuit of Natasha Harding on Twitter; being convinced several times over that the Welsh wonder had signed for the Reds before being handed a Wales shirt by the woman herself as an apology for, “I’m always winding you up saying I’m signing for Liverpool”. By this point convinced that Tash would never sign for Liverpool, just nine months later reading a press release from the club confirming that the winger had signed for the Reds from Manchester City. I always knew it… honest.

Recognition for the blog from the players, I’m not one to toot my own horn – this a pun I’m hoping many regulars at the Select Stadium recognise – but in the four years since beginning my blog I’ve been lucky enough to receive signed boots from Whitney Engen, Kate Longhurst and Natasha Dowie and worn shirts from Fara Williams and Lucy Staniforth. Each a surprise and each a more than appreciated gesture. Further to this, despite not being shortlisted for the awards, a number of players – and of course followers of the blog – tweeted in support of @LFCladiesfans at the 2016 Football Blog Awards and for that I was more than grateful.

Writing for The Anfield Wrap and appearing on their podcasts alongside Scott Rogers, Vick Jepson and Danielle Gibbons and also featuring in a live show with Kate Longhurst and Libby Stout.

Now for the Top 5…
Starting the blog!

 This may seem like an obvious point, however four years ago today Liverpool Ladies took on Everton in the Continental Cup. Four years ago today I got home from work, watched the derby on an online stream and then had no one to talk to about the game afterwards. Four years ago I decided to start a Twitter account/ blog to make sure I had someone to talk to about the games afterwards – I’ve certainly found that and more!

My article published in LFC magazine ahead of the 2016 season

 For all the social media accounts that supported and promoted Liverpool Football Club none had the specific angle of promoting Liverpool Ladies and so I created my own.

 Admittedly @LFCladiesfans was then founded under a limited knowledge. I’d watched the Red women on a number of occasions previously but never with a serious understanding of the players involved, the league or indeed the history of the women’s game.

 The Twitter account grew to 100+ followers within the first week and this was when I realised more people than just me wanted to know more about this team, it was a quick learning curve for me and still the women’s game, leagues and teams are something I am constantly wanting to learn from and about.

 Across social media platforms since 2013 @LFCladiesfans has grown to an audience of over 8,000 followers (EIGHT THOUSAND!) and has been featured by LFC magazine and matchday programme, The Anfield Wrap, SheKicks magazine, This Is Anfield, Anfield Index, WWF Show, Daily Star newspaper, Premier Inn hotels and Empire of the Kop.

Youth League Titles

In four years of LFCladiesfans, the blog has reported on four title winning sides – one league title per year!

LFC Ladies Development Squad 2014/15

The Development Squad managed by Matty Campbell and Vick Jepson in 2014/15 started the season strongly before losing a couple of key players in the middle of the campaign and suffering a dip in form – the 12-game unbeaten run disrupted by a run of three defeats and a draw.

The team were then supplemented by players from the U17s, joined by a couple of new additions from Manchester United and embarked on another unbeaten run of five games to claim the league title. The victory made all the more sweeter as the the title was clinched during a 4-1 win over Merseyside rivals Everton Ladies.

Later that year another youth side at the club began a successful league campaign; The U17s, coached by Andy Newland and Charlotte Healy, lifted their first title beating Manchester United and Blackburn Rovers to the honour for the first time.

The young Reds, assisted by Niamh Charles and a number of other soon to be familiar faces, raced into a lead at the top of the table and enjoyed memorable wins over Everton (4-3 and 2-0), United (2-1) and Blackburn (4-1).

During the Spring Series first team boss Scott Rogers has spoke of how he wants to use the game to integrate the youth into the first team, there is certainly a lot of talent at the club and, as the current U16s close in on another league title, the future for Liverpool Ladies is bright.

Following the Reds in Europe
After winning the league in 2013 Liverpool Ladies qualified for the Champions League for the first time in their history.
The following year the Reds drew Swedish outfit Linkoping and defeated the strong side 2-1 in Widnes in the first leg.
A week and three flights later (Manchester to Oslo to Copenhagen to Linkoping) myself and five other fans braved the trip to freezing Sweden. A memorable couple of days followed – though we won’t mention the result of the football – been given free ice cream, enjoying a few drinks with friends met via Liverpool Ladies and the experience of supporting Liverpool on a European away.
In 2015 Liverpool then drew Italian champions Brescia CF however the injury-hit Reds once more suffered knock-out in the Round of 32. The warmer climate of the Northern Italian town was appreciated, particularly in stark contrast to Linkoping the preview October and another trip following Liverpool proved to be another great experience. 

World Travels: From Boston to Fylde

As well as Sweden and Italy, the blog has taken me further afield. In 2015 and as part of my University degree I secured a summer work placement with Boston Breakers in the NWSL, I was devastated when this fell through due to paperwork. However with a Uni module still to complete and a bit of money saved up I decided to go out on my own to Canada and cover the Women’s World Cup through my blog.

Basing myself in Montreal and watching as Liverpool’s Fara Williams was crowned Player of the Match in England’s 2-1 win over Colombia, I also caught, arguably, the game of the tournament as Germany knocked France out in the quarter finals and the semi final between eventual winners USA and Germany.

Meeting up with a couple of friends over there, we travelled down the coast to Toronto and Niagara Falls and also stayed in Ottawa as England beat Norway 2-1 with a cracker of a goal from Lucy Bronze.

While in Canada I met up with Damian who follows my blog and after travelling down to New York also met up with Chrissie who follows LFCladiesfans from there!

With Yasmine & Liv at Fylde Ladies FC

Since Canada I’ve started a section on the blog called X-Reds where I follow ex-Liverpool players to their new clubs and report on the game, this has so far taken me to Boston to see Matt Beard, Louise Schillgard, Libby Stout and Natasha Dowie, Chicago to support Amanda DaCosta, Sunderland to watch Lucy Staniforth and – my favourite – Fylde to see Yasmine Swarbrick and Livi Wild turn out for the Coasters.

With plans to attend the Euros in the Netherlands this summer, this part of the blog will continue to grow and feature even more X-Reds!

Watching Liverpool Ladies lift the league title… twice!

How could number one be anything but watching Liverpool Ladies lift that first league title in 2013.

Laws; Bronze, Bonner (C), Engen, Schroder; Omarsdottir, Williams, Rolser, DaCosta, Fors; Dowie

What an 11!

Watching the Reds lift that first league title, taking the crown from holders Arsenal and including an excellent win over the Gunners at the Emirates (4-nil!) and a Natasha Dowie hat-trick over Everton!

League title number two of course deserves an honourable mention here, the manner in which the trophy was lifted taking at least 10 years off my life expectancy – there are images of me sitting on the floor of the Select Stadium during the final 10 minutes of the win over Bristol floating about.

A special thank you goes out to everyone that has followed LFCladiesfans, whether from the start or just last week. I love every minute of following and supporting Liverpool Ladies and to have been able to maintain this blog for four years now is a testament to those who follow and read it!



Liverpool Ladies progressed to the quarter-finals of the FA Cup on Sunday afternoon, defeating Everton Ladies 2-1 after extra time.
Tash Harding put Liverpool ahead after just eight minutes with Simone Magill levelling for the visitors in the second half, Shanice Van de Sanden then headed home the winning goal in extra time to send the Reds through to the next round.

Harding and Van de Sanden were joined in attack by debutant Ali Johnson, the young forward stepping up from the Development Squad to make her first start.
Caroline Weir, Katie Zelem and Kate Longhurst made up the midfield three with Alex Greenwood, Sophie Ingle, Gemma Bonner and Ashley Hodson in defence – Siobhan Chamberlain in goal.
Harding’s opener was Liverpool’s first chance at goal and came just a minute after Everton’s Claudia Walker had headed a set piece over the crossbar at the other end, Weir had drifted out to the left wing and curled a low cross towards Harding at the near post who clipped the ball past Kirstie Levell.
Liverpool were passing the ball well with short sharp passes, Johnson and Weir linking on the left as Weir almost found Harding again and a sweeping move across the pitch involving Zelem, Weir and Van de Sanden ending in a corner for the Reds – one that seen Bonner’s header land in the arms of Levell.
On the 30-minute mark it was Johnson who came closest to doubling the Reds advantage, skipping past an Everton player and curling a left-footed effort towards the top corner, forcing Levell to stretch and push the ball around the post.
Everton were also pushing for an equaliser, captain Michelle Hinnigan firing over the crossbar after a driving run in midfield and a Danielle Turner cross ricocheting off Hodson to earn the Blues a corner that was claimed by Chamberlain.
Shortly before being substituted for Mollie Green, Harding went for her second of the game from 25-yards; a fierce hit that took a deflection from centre-back Gabby George, enabling it to be gathered by Levell.
There continued to be chances at each end of the pitch, Weir’s corner headed on by Bonner to Longhurst only for her header to be cleared off the line and Chamberlain denying former Reds forward Walker at point blank range.
Chamberlain was also forced into action again to save from Blues no.10 Magill after Danielle Turner’s cross reached the Northern Irish international, however the Reds stopper couldn’t keep Magill out all afternoon and the forward levelled the score with 20 minutes to play.
Liverpool pressed for a winner as the final whistle loomed, Johnson’s shot saved by Levell, Greenwood heading Weir’s corner inches wide and Zelem’s ferocious strike from 40-yards bouncing back off the post and across the face of goal.
Johnson shone in the second half, at one point battling her way through two Blues on the left wing to nudge the ball forward to Van de Sanden; the no.11 whipping a low pass towards Zelem arriving at the edge of the box but the midfielder unable to control.
Another player who stood out across the 90 minutes was Longhurst in the holding midfield role, arguably the perfect player in a game like this. Longhurst’s grit and determination to hold the fort ahead of the back line was impressive, intercepting passes and challenging for the ball; the midfielder also picked up the first yellow card of the afternoon for bringing down Everton substitute Emily Hollinshead.
With neither side able to find a winner within the 90 minutes, extra time followed with each side continuing to test the other.
Bonner’s last minute sliding tackle doing enough to prevent Walker taking a shot while Longhurst dropped back deep in defence to intercept a pass from Magill.
Liverpool found the breakthrough in the 108th minute as Johnson’s inch-perfect cross met van de Sanden, the Dutch winger heading past Levell and to send the Reds back in front.
The Blues responded yet a resilient Liverpool batted everything away – scrambling away a corner with Hodson out to clear any remaining danger, Greenwood and Johnson combining to get the ball away on another attack and Bonner twice blocking shots from Walker.
LIVERPOOL LADIES:Chamberlain, Hodson, Bonner ©, Ingle, Greenwood, Longhurst, Zelem, Weir, Johnson, van de Sanden, Harding (Green)
UNUSED SUBS:Gibbons, Taylor, Rodgers, Fletcher


video via Kopzone on Instagram (originally aired on LFCTV)

X-REDS: Fantasy Fylde

Previously on X-Reds: 

I’m a Breaker!
Derby Day in Freezing Fylde

In this edition of X-Reds I’m taking you back to, a slightly warmer, Fylde. If you’re not aware of the ambitions of Fylde you can read the introduction to the previous piece linked above, to summarise however: Fylde F.C are a team with big aspirations.

The men’s side have targeted 2022 for promotion to the football league, while the women, who previously played under the Preston name, also target the Women’s Super League.

An impressive stadium will soon be accompanied with facilities that will provide the women’s team with a training base – they currently train at Accrington Stanley.

Fylde Ladies F.C. vs Nottingham Forest Ladies

Since the previous blog at the start of October, ex-Liverpool coach Luke Swindlehurst has left the club to be replaced by former Manchester City Development manager Conrad Prendergast.

The new boss was appointed head coach at the start of the year and has overseen a defeat to top-of-the-league Blackburn Rovers and a draw away at Huddersfield. Here he took charge of his first home game and was rewarded with a 1-0 victory over Nottingham Forest at Mill Farm.

In Conrad’s programme notes he commends his new side’s battling desire and work ethic, praising the team’s defensive efforts despite the results and explaining how they now need to bring together the qualities of posing an attacking threat while remaining defensively sound.

Former Red Olivia Wild made her Fylde debut – making a welcome return from a four month injury lay off – as the Coasters produced exactly what the new manager had asked for. Wild grew into the game; her strength and ability to drive the ball forward particularly evident during the second half of the game and on several occasions drawing applause from the crowd.

Olivia Wild (L) and Yasmine Swarbrick (R) in action for Fylde Ladies F.C.

One play late in the game saw Wild win the ball from a Forest goal kick, head it down to the feet of Chloe Adams and make the run down the right wing to receive the ball back from Adams – the final cross well held onto by the Forest goalkeeper.

Wild had also played her part in the opening goal in the first half, winning a throw-in on the far side that led to a cross allowing Laura Walker to send the ball into the back of the net following a scramble at the edge of the 6-yard box.

At the other end of the pitch another former Red was leading the attack, Yasmine Swarbrick an imposing presence up front, pressuring and chasing every ball, holding play up brilliantly as the lone striker while also helping out at the back – in the first half heading clear a Forest corner and then racing out, receiving the ball back and almost finding her team mate with an excellent through ball only for the ‘keeper to be quick off her line to gather.

Swarbrick was twice denied by the woodwork as well, rising to power a superb header against the post after a set piece and then rattling the crossbar with another headed effort just minutes later.

The forward continued to be instrumental in attack, providing goal scorer Walker with an opportunity to score another with a deft backheel and also racing onto a great ball forward from Olivia Wilkes – crashing into the onrushing ‘keeper in a 50-50 collision.

A mention should also go to Coasters captain Charlotte Farrell, who incidentally hadn’t played since the aforementioned derby against Blackburn in October due to injury, making a return at centre back and marking it with a series of crunching tackles as if she’d never been away.

At my last trip to Fylde I noted the admirable commitment of the players and staff in the Women’s Premier League and that dedication continues to impress, hopefully the Women’s Super League reverting to a winter schedule and aligning itself with the WPL will benefit the league and provide more opportunities.

Fylde Ladies are making great strides in the women’s game and a continuation of this can only benefit all involved.

Go and support Yasmine, Liv and Fylde at their remaining WPL fixtures of the 2016/17 season: Fixture list.