Liverpool Ladies Development Squad began their 2017-18 league campaign away at Sunderland Ladies on Sunday afternoon.
After going a goal down in the first half the young Reds fought back with Cassia Pike impressively converting Lizzie Earle’s corner in the 62nd minute.
A string of fine saves from the Sunderland goalkeeper denied Liverpool the chance to take the lead however and the hosts struck the killer blow fifteen minutes from time to take all three points.
Before going a goal down Liverpool were defending well, Lucy Roberts a stand out and clearing a dangerous cross out for a corner that was headed over the crossbar. Then Roberts twice blocked efforts in from outside the area in quick succession – the second allowing the Reds to counter yet Pike was stopped at the opposite end.
In the initial stages of the game Liverpool’s chances were coming down the right through Simran Jhamat and Lauren Thomas.
Jhamat performing a fine turn on the halfway line to race forward, her cross was intercepted by the ‘keeper and Thomas swung in a ball that was attacked by Pike and Annabel Blanchard – eventually falling to Bo Kearns who saw her stinging drive blocked.
After Sunderland took the lead – a free kick eluding everyone in the box to sail into the top corner – the Reds had opportunities to level the score before half time.
Earle’s pressing earned her a shot on target that fizzed wide of the post, while good work from Jhamat out wide carved out a chance for Blanchard who was denied at close range by the ‘keeper.
Liverpool came out fighting in the second half; Earle winning possession early on and her cross intended for Blanchard headed clear by the centre half, then Naomi Heartly’s ball out of defence reached Pike whose cross skimmed the head of Jhamat.
The introduction of Levi Rathburn and Paige Cole injected some fresh legs into the side, Rathburn on the pitch a matter of minutes before unleashing her first shot of the game from distance – a good strike going inches wide.
Shortly after the hour mark Liverpool scored the equaliser they deserved as Pike arrived at the back post to volley home Earle’s delivery from a corner.
And only for a string of great saves from the Black Cats goalkeeper the Reds would have gone ahead; Rathburn’s shot parried, Cole’s tipped over the crossbar and Blanchard again denied after being slipped through by Rathburn.
With fifteen minutes to play the hosts regained their lead, this time staunchly defending it to hold onto the three points on the opening day of the season.
LIVERPOOL LADIES: Carberry, Thomas, Heartly, Roberts, Boydell (Cole), Parry (Willis), Kearns (Rathburn), Earle (C), Jhamat, Pike, Blanchard