Match Report: Liverpool Ladies 2 – 0 Doncaster Belles

 Goals either side of half-time gave Liverpool Ladies a well deserved win over the leagues bottom placed side Doncaster Belles. Louise Fors’ second half strike was also a record breaker, being Liverpool’s 39th of the WSL season it meant that we overtook Arsenal for most goals scored by a team in a single season – with two games to go!

 Despite their low league position Doncaster came out fighting, Sue Smith urging her team mates forward. Smith made an early run down the right wing, coming up against Liverpool left-back Corina Schroder who put the ball out for a throw from which Liverpool quickly gained possession.
 Liverpool began passing the ball around and shifted into second gear with a number of attacking plays, first Lucy Bronze’s ball found Natasha Dowie but the attack was cut off by the Doncaster defence. Fara Williams and Louise Fors then combined well but the ball was intercepted before it could reach Bronze who had made a great run. Schroder then hit a cross into the box attempting to find Nicole Rolser which keeper Nicky Davies came out to catch.
 Liverpool’s brilliant German was involved in the first goal minutes later, getting herself into a one-on-one position in the box she unselfishly squared the ball to Natasha Dowie who tapped the ball in from six yards for her 16th goal of the season.
 The reds (playing in white) had a great game defensively, which was great to see as before this game we had kept just 1 clean sheet out of 6. Captain Gemma Bonner in particular shone making a number of interceptions, most notably in the first half when Sue Smith tried to find Leandra Little.
 Goalkeeper Rachael Laws had a storming game between the posts, commanding her box well during set plays and corners and coming out for the ball. At one point after coming out for a corner Laws was challenged in the 6 yard box, requiring treatment while Liverpool prepared for a substitution. No sub was needed however and Laws was fine to continue. 
 It was thanks to Laws that Liverpool went in ahead at half-time, the keeper producing a number of good saves to keep the Belles out.
 Nastasha Dowie was unlucky not to get a second early in the second half, strongly holding off the Doncaster defender she turned and shot at goal but it was well caught by Davies.
 Doncaster began to really push for a goal. Sigworth made a mazy run through our half, Whitney Engen couldn’t catch her but Schroder did and put the ball out for a corner which was punched away by Laws for another corner which she caught. Rachael Laws did well again moments later when Sue Smith hit a free kick into the box, the keeper came well off her line to claim.
 Liverpool then had numerous chances from a hat-trick of corners. Two deliveries from Fors; one skimming the top of Katrin’s head and the other cleared only as far as Bronze, who passed the ball to Rolser but her shot went wide. Then from a Fara Williams corner Gemma Bonner went close.
 Amanda Da Costa showed her incredible work rate during the 90 minutes, at one point in the second half battling well to get the ball into the 18 yard box only to be unluckily dispossessed. Da Costa had a strike on target saved also, the ball came to her in space at the edge of the box but with a looming defender she hit straight at the keeper.
 It looked as though it was going to be another nervy ending at the Halton Stadium, however Lucy Bronze forced her way into the box through the defence to pull the ball back to Louise Fors. Fors’ first strike was parried back to her and she made no mistake with the second chance, scoring Liverpool’s second goal and sealing the 3 points for the reds. 
 During the second half injury time, Matt Beard introduced a three substitions – Kate Longhurst, Sarah Gregorius and Jess Holbrook who replaced Natasha Dowie, Nicole Rolser and Amanda Da Costa. 5 added minutes entailed but passed without incident and Liverpool went 5 points clear at the top of the table, ahead of Arsenal’s game tomorrow night vs Lincoln.
Team: Laws, Schroder, Engen, Bonner (C), Bronze, Omarsdottir, Williams (Holbrook), Rolser (Gregorius), Fors, Da Costa, Dowie (Longhurst)
POTM: Lucy Bronze won the twitter vote and had another fine game on the right. Rachael Laws for me is a very close second.
 Thanks for following the match updates on @LFCLadiesFans
 Next up for Liverpool Ladies, it’s the big one, it’s Derby Day! Next Thursday 12th September @ Halton Stadium, Widnes 7:30pm KO. Also live on BT Sport for those who can’t make it.
In non-match related news, the latest edition of the official LFC magazine is out now. It features midfielder Amanda Da Costa’s diary and this month also features an interview with myself! Having bought this magazine religiously since I was 10 this is very exciting for me and I hope it comes across ok!

Match Preview: Liverpool Ladies v Doncaster Belles

 On Sunday afternoon Liverpool Ladies played their final away game of the 2013 season and now embark on a run-in that consists of three home ties, starting with the visit of Doncaster Belles tomorrow night.

 These two sides met just under two weeks ago at Doncaster’s Keepmoat Stadium. Gemma Bonner gave Liverpool an early lead before the Belles had a player sent off and went on to concede 8 more goals, Liverpool running out 9-0 winners on the day.

 Alongside Bonner’s goal, leading goalscorer Natasha Dowie grabbed a first half hat trick to take her goals tally to 15 in 18 games this season while Nicole Rolser, Louise Fors, Fara Williams and Kate Longhurst scoring the rest.

 German midfielder Nicole Rolser has been on fire over the second half of the season, scoring 7 goals in her last 4 games – including a hat trick against Birmingham at the weekend. Rolser also set up Dowie’s winning goal in our last home game against Chelsea.

 Against Birmingham, Liverpool sprinted into a 4 goal lead and during the first half played some of the finest football, passing and moving the ball across the field with ease. This led to the free kick that Louise Fors brilliantly smashed past the blues keeper.

 During the second half Liverpool took their foot off the pedal a little, Birmingham capitalised on this and pulled 2 goals back but Liverpool held on and finished strongly to bring home another 3 points.

 Following our 9-0 win, Doncaster Belles picked themselves up and won for the first time this season, beating Lincoln Ladies 1-0. Next up for the Belles was Arsenal Ladies. Arsenal’s in-form forward Danielle Carter gave the Gunners the lead and Sue Smith equalised shortly after half time , however Arsenal went on to win the game 3-1. The last two results show the Belles have pulled themselves together following two heavy defeats.

 Despite the landslide scoreline on 24th August the Belles are definitely not a side to be taken lightly, more than capable of matching any side on the day.

 This game will be the last time we welcome Doncaster Belles to our home stadium in the league for at least a year. As mentioned in the last Doncaster preview, the Belles will be playing their football in the newly formed second tier of the WSL. The Belles and their noisy fans will be sorely missed next season.

 The game kicks off at 7:45pm at Halton Stadium, Widnes. Anfield ST holders have free entry to all Ladies home games, alternatively adult tickets are £5, concessions £2.50 and can be purchased on the gate.

 Thanks for reading, I will be at the game and updating from @LFCLadiesFans

Match Preview: Doncaster Belles vs Liverpool Ladies

 Midweek Arsenal soundly beat  Doncaster Belles 6-0 at the Keepmoat Stadium, closing the gap on Liverpool Ladies in the league table to 2 points. The Gunners also have a game in hand and have leapfrogged our goal difference, now having +14 to our +10.

 This game then another must win for Liverpool, at this stage in the season with Arsenal hot on our heels we cannot afford to drop points. In our last 3 league games we have conceded 9 goals, scoring 8. The 3 goals we conceded versus Chelsea in our last league game could be considered as unlucky. Chelsea’s first came after a mix up between Corina Schroder and goalkeeper Sarah Quantrill, the second via a counter attack and the third being an own goal. 
 After fighting to peg Chelsea back to 2-2, it could have been demoralising for the team when the 3rd Chelsea goal when into the back of the net. However showing great character, as Matt Beard commented after the game, the reds snatched victory with less than 10 minutes remaining. Natasha Dowie was a constant threat during the 2nd half, scoring the equaliser with a brilliant diving header from a Nicole  Rolser cross. Minutes later the same two players combined in the 6 yard box with Dowie setting Rolser up for the winner.
 On Saturday night we have the opportunity to go 6 points clear of Bristol Academy and 5 points ahead of Arsenal, the Gunners next game is a London derby against  Chelsea next Thursday.
 Our opponents plight over the course of the season has been well-documented. Doncaster Belles were unfairly informed after the opening game that matter the course their season were to take, next season would see them playing their football in the new 2nd tier of Women’s Football. Their top tier place going to Manchester City. No matter how disheartening this must have been and still is for the Belles and their supporters they have valiantly stuck behind their team.
 Doncaster are yet to win a game this season, although they have come close. Away at Birmingham a couple of weeks ago the Belles had numerous chances to go ahead, Ashleigh Mills hit the post in the first half with Sue Smith also seeing a free kick saved but Birmingham scored with 7 minutes to go to take all 3 points.
 Midweek against Arsenal during the opening 30 minutes Doncaster appeared to be holding out against the Champions, before 3 goals came in as many minutes to break their resolve. As mentioned earlier Doncaster have great supporters behind them, who could be heard singing “We’re going to win 4-3!” It wasn’t to be unfortunately for them and Arsenal ran out 6-0 winners.
 Doncaster are determined in their search for a win before the end of the season, they have been boosted both by the return of Sue Smith from injury before the summer break and during the summer signed Liverpool forward Katie Brusell.
 The game will kick off at 6pm at  Doncaster Belles’ Keepmoat Stadium. This is the only game of our 5 remaining I will not be at, a combination of lack of trains back to Liverpool after the game and my yearly trip to Villa Park to watch the men’s side. @Girlsontheball will be there, alongside both clubs official twitters and the @bellesnoisyfans.

 Following this game, next Sunday 1st September sees our final away game of the season against Birmingham City. There is a few of us travelling by train for this one, it’s a 2pm kick off in Stratford-upon-Avon and if you have any interest in coming with to support the reds, please get in touch @LFCLadiesFans.

 Thanks for reading!

Match Report: Liverpool Ladies 1 – 0 Doncaster Belles

 Last night Liverpool Ladies fought to a hard earned victory over Doncaster Belles in the Continental  Cup. There was a decent crowd at Halton Stadium – 471 being the official gate number – to see the ladies in red secure 3 points.

 In the first half Liverpool dominated possession however failed to capitalise on this. Louise Fors had a great game on the left wing creating chances and was unlucky not to bag a goal herself. Also unlucky was Amanda DaCosta, her thundering strike from outside the box was narrowly tipped over by the keeper. Doncaster’s defence held up well from the onslaught of Liverpool’s pressure and Nicole Rolser’s tricky feet!
 Liverpool started the second half brightly and almost immediately went 1-0 up, Natasha Dowie scoring her fourth goal of the season and her 3rd goal in as many games. Doncaster enjoyed more of the possession in the second half and had a couple of offside decisions wrongly called. Despite Doncaster looking more likely to score in the second half, Whitney Engen and Gemma Bonner were solid at the back and there was no way through for the Belles.
 It was a great game at Halton with plenty of chances created, the scoreline could easily have been 3-0, 3-1. It was also brilliant to meet Girls on the Ball and to hear the fantastic support from the Doncaster supporters even if I did leave with bells ringing in my ears!
 The win propelled Liverpool to the top of our Continental Cup group however Everton beat Chelsea 2-1 today sending us back down to second place, albeit on the same points/ same goal difference. Our final group game is away at Chelsea in a couple of weeks time. A draw in this game would be enough to take us into the next round.

POTM: Louise Fors

Liverpool Ladies: Quantrill, Easton (Bronze 68), Engen, Bonner, Schroder (Riccio 80), Fors, Williams, Omarsdottir, Rolser, DaCosta (Fenlon-Billson 68), Dowie

Doncaster Belles: Mills, Little (Emery 66), Williams, Cunningham, Lipka, Thomson, Sigsworth, England (Foster 80), Chadwick, Bright

 Liverpool go on the road now, the next 4 games we are scheduled to play being away from home. The first of these will be played at the Emirates Stadium against Arsenal in the league. The next home game we have is against Lincoln Ladies on Wednesday 29th May, 7:30 KO