Match Report: Liverpool Ladies 4 – 3 Chelsea Ladies

 Before the break Liverpool Ladies seemed to make a habit out of 4-0, 4-1 scorelines. Having watched two narrow 4-3 wins in the last week I have to say I hope we don’t make a habit out of this one – my nerves can’t take it!

 In the match day programme Matt Beard talks about how expectations for this season have shifted from targeting a top 4 finish to a European place, after tonight’s result we are definitely are in with a great chance of placing in the top 2.

 Onto the game then, similar to the one against Arsenal a couple of weeks earlier our London visitors were faster out of the blocks than us. Swedish international Sofia Jakobsson in particular causing a stir on the right wing and capitalising on a defensive mix up to put Chelsea ahead.
 Liverpool had a couple of chances to equalise, Amanda Da Costa’s goal bound shot was saved by blues keeper Telford and Nicole Rolser also seen a strike saved.
 Within 7 minutes of kick off Chelsea had doubled their lead, new signed Ogimi setting up Eni Aluko who scored past Sarah Quantrill.
 The second goal caused Liverpool to regroup and step up their game, Fara Williams in particular pressing up the pitch and driving the team forwards. Williams tried a couple of long range efforts, one just wide of the post and the other narrowly over the crossbar.
 Fara was then fouled and awarded a free kick in a similar position to where she scored against Chelsea in the Continental Cup. The ball swung in low at the near post, narrowly beating Telford to pull a goal back for Liverpool and the reds went in at half time trailing 2-1.
 Matt Beard switched keepers at half time, Rachel Laws replacing Sarah Quantrill in the Liverpool goal.
 Nicole Rolser was brought down in the penalty box, controversially nothing was given despite the German midfielder needing to leave the field for treatment. Shortly after returning to the pitch Rolser equalised. Louise Fors’ corner found Gemma Bonner, who’s headed looked to be clearer off the line but Rolser was there to tap the ball in.
 Gemma Bonner then went down in our box with a back injury, the Liverpool captain did attempt to run it off and returned to the field after receiving treatment. Minutes later Becky Easton replaced her, with Lucy Bronze moving across to centre back and Amanda Da Costa taking the arm band.
 Chelsea’s Ogimi was lively throughout, she went through on goal after Whitney Engen missed her header yet Lucy Bronze did brilliantly to get back and clear.
 Natasha Dowie then had a brilliant chance, also going through on goal but was denied by a great save from Telford.
 Sofia Jakobsson’s cross was then deflected into the back of the net to put Chelsea back in front, Becky Easton got the final touch but the ball was going in anyway.
 3-2 down yet still not giving up the fight, Natasha Dowie equalised for Liverpool with a brilliant header. Dowie has now scored 6 goal in 9 league games.
 Natasha then played a part in the next goal, setting Nicole Rolser up nicely for Liverpool to go in front for the first time during the game. Even Matt Beard and the bench were on the pitch celebrating the goal!
Nerves frayed in the stands and on the pitch, Ogimi feeling that  Easton was taking her time on a throw in and rather amusingly handing her the ball.
 6 minutes of added time due to the injury to Bonner thankfully seen no more goals and the reds secured another important three points.
 POTM Nicole Rolser
 Liverpool team: Quantrill (Laws), Bronze, Bonner (c)(Easton), Engen, Schroder, Omarsdottir, Williams, Rolser, Da Costa, Fors (Longhurst), Dowie

 Next up for Liverpool we are away at Doncaster Belles on Saturday 24th August. There will be a match preview up for this game but no match report, I will be at Villa Park instead. (sorry!)

 Will be covering the final 4 league games however starting with Birmingham away on Sunday 1st September, missing the Man Utd game for that one! Thanks for following @LFCLadiesFans again on twitter tonight and for reading these reports, all comments are really appreciated and I also want to say a massive thank you to everyone who wished me a happy birthday! Especially @Girlsontheball who gave me some pretty cool GOTB merch!

Match Preview: Liverpool Ladies vs Chelsea Ladies

 Liverpool Ladies go into this game on the back of a thrilling 4-3 victory away at Bristol Academy, Gemma Bonner with the crucial winner minutes from time to ensure our return to the top of the table. Sitting top for now, once again on goal difference, every game left is now important with Arsenal having closed the gap between us to 5 points and they have 2 games in hand.

 Like Liverpool, Chelsea have been in the process of rebuilding their team over the past two transfer windows. However unlike Liverpool, Chelsea have found it hard to click. After beating us 2-1 in May, Chelsea lost the remaining 5 games of the first half of the season. Returning after the break, having made an impressive signing with World Cup winner Yuki Ogimi, they won their first fixture back against Doncaster Belles but a week later fell to a 2-0 defeat to Lincoln Ladies. This has left them well off the pace in the league, they have played one more game than us yet sit 8 points behind.
 Chelsea’s points return is disappointing given the attacking talent they have at their disposal. Swedish international Sofia Jakobsson is the blues top scorer with 6 goals in 13 games, while England’s Eni Aluko is just behind with 5 goals. Welsh striker Helen Ward has been a mainstay in the Chelsea side since the inception of the Women’s Super League, last season she scored 9 goals while this season has found the back of the net just 3 times.
 In our last two fixtures against Chelsea we have won one and lost one. The loss being the 2-1 defeat in the league, with their 2nd goal coming after an unnoticed foul on Whitney Engen in the build up. The win came a week later in the Continental Cup – a convincing 4-0 victory with the leagues top scorer Natasha Dowie scoring twice.
 Following a disappointing start to the second half of the season after defeats to Arsenal and Lincoln, the momentum we had built up with 4 straight wins before the break was halted. During the Bristol game last Saturday we raced 3-1 ahead, goals from Louise Fors, Nicole Rolser and Katrin Omarsdottir, before the Vixens scored twice in 2 minutes to level the score. Searching for a winner, the chance fell to centre back Gemma Bonner who fired an incredible strike past the hapless Siobhan Chamberlain to secure 3 points.
 Despite Chelsea’s lack of wins this season they are not a side to be taken lightly and will be desperate to add to their points tally in the 5 games they have left.
 The game will be played at Liverpool’s Halton Stadium with a 7:15pm kick off. Tickets are £5 adults, £2.50 concessions and Anfield season ticket holder get in free. It is not televised but you can follow match updates through the official clubs twitters, alongside @LFCLadiesFans and @Girlsontheball will also be there.
 Also, this week I did an interview with the Official LFC magazine, very grateful for that opportunity – I answered questions on Women’s Football in general and of course the Liverpool Ladies. You will be able to read this after Amanda Da Costa’s diary in the next issue. I hope I did ok!

 Thanks for reading!