Match Report: Liverpool Ladies 1 – 1 Lincoln Ladies (AET 2 – 4 on penalties)

 Liverpool Ladies heartbreakingly crashed out of the Continental Cup semi final tonight to Lincoln Ladies. Sarah Gregorius was handed her first start in a red shirt, replacing Jess Holbrook. Gregorius’ fellow new signing Kate Longhurst was cup tied as was Lincoln’s Lillie Billson, who of course had featured in our campaign in the first half of the season.

 Following a 3-0 league defeat at the weekend to Arsenal the reds were determined to bounce back with a win. Natasha Dowie put us a goal up within a minute of kick off, Lucy Bronze with a perfectly weighted pass which outwitted the Lincoln defence setting Dowie up to smash the ball past England number 1 Karen Bardsley. 
 Louise Fors had switched to the centre of midfield alongside Fara Williams, leaving Nicole Rolser and Sarah Gregorius to interchange on the wings. Rolser was attacking with intent in the first half, linking up well with Natasha Dowie on the left hand side only for that attack to be thwarted. Seconds later the same pair combined, this time with Rolser on the right, but Dowie just missed the cross.
 Gemma Bonner had a fantastic game at centre back, blocking Lincoln’s first shot on target before getting herself forward to cross to the lurking Amanda Da Costa in the box but Bardsley was first to the ball. 
 Lincoln really sat back and invited Liverpool to play, allowing our defence to play a very high line and to get forward to join the attack. Full backs Lucy Bronze and Corina Schroder linked up well for Schroder to shoot straight at the keeper. Whitney Engen also was able to hit a strike at the Lincoln goal from the edge of the box, only for her shot to be blocked.
 This was more like the Liverpool we had seen in the first half of the season, Louise Fors was next to have an attempt on goal with a fantastic dipping effort going narrowly over, the ever-lively Amanda Da Costa also forced a save from Bardsley. 
 Jess Clarke was one of Lincoln’s best player, Whitney Engen managed to limit her chances on goal. Clarke attempted a run into the Liverpool box, Engen shielded the ball from her for Rachel Laws to comfortably collect. 
 Captain Bonner had to leave the pitch for 5 minutes to have treatment for a head injury with Fara Williams stepping back into defence in her absence. This allowed Engen to go on a completely unchallenged run deep into the Lincoln half, her final pass was too far for Dowie. 
 Natasha had another chance seconds later following yet another Rolser run but this went just wide of the post. Liverpool somehow went in at half time leading by just a goal. 
 Back out for the second half Lincoln appeared to be looking to press more and get the ball forward, searching for the equaliser. Once they had this with new signing Courtney Sweetman scoring past Laws, Lincoln seemed content to sit back and wait for penalties. 
 Undettered Liverpool continued to play an attacking game, Amanda Da Costa with a run this time passing to Williams who couldn’t keep the ball down and put it into the stands. 
 Chances then at both ends with Sweetman forcing a good save from Laws at close range and Da Costa for us with a low drive that Bardsley dived to save. 
 Katrin Omarsdottir was brought on by Matt Beard, replacing Sarah Gregorius – Louise Fors moving onto the wing. 
 With 20 minutes to go of normal time, Liverpool peppered Bardsley goal – who was in inspired form producing a hat trick of saves. First she saved Dowie’s header, then a thundering Williams strike and Louise Fors’ goal bound effort following some silky skills on the edge of the box.
 With 5 minutes of normal time to play Halton nearly had cause to celebrate, Fors and Da Costa impressively passing the ball between them to set up Natasha Dowie for a strike that half the stadium thought was in but again Bardsley made the save. 
 The last play of normal time saw Liverpool throw everyone forward but Schroder for a free kick, Bonner was the player to get on the end of it but her shot sailed over the crossbar.
 Onto 30 minutes of extra time then, Liverpool picked up were they left off. A controversial offside decision was given against Natasha Dowie who had found space in the 18 yard box.
 Fara Williams was the catalyst of the majority of Liverpool’s attack in extra time with some fine balls into the box, first for Dowie who just couldn’t get her head to the ball then Shroder who was offside. 
 Player of the match Amanda Da Costa had another goal bound strike saved by Bardsley before Williams seen her long range effort go the wrong side of the post. At this point Lincoln had every player back – at one point every players bar Laws was in the Lincoln half. 
 With 1 minute to go both Williams and Dowie had strikes saved and we were onto the dreaded penalties.
 Louise Fors, Gemma Bonner, Fara Williams and Natasha Dowie all stepped up to take the Liverpool penalties, unsure of who the 5th penalty taker would have been as both Amanda Da Costa and Katrin Omarsdottir seemed to be in the mix. 
 Lincoln’s Casey Stoney scored first before Williams leveled the score. Remi Allen scored next for the Imps sending Rachel Laws the wrong way. Bardsley then saved Natasha Dowie’s penalty while Lincoln’s Walton missed hers. Bardsley saved again from Louise Fors before Jess Clarke scored making it 3-1 to the Imps. Liverpool Captain Gemma Bonner then stepped up, scoring her penalty for it to go 3-2 and keeping us in the shootout. Carla Cantrell then scored to make it 4-2 to Lincoln and to send us out of the competition.
 Liverpool Ladies should not be disheartened by this result, they put on a fantastic fight and it is heartbreaking to be knocked out in this fashion. Best of luck to Lincoln in the final.
 Liverpool team: Laws, Bronze, Bonner (C), Engen, Schroder, Williams, Fors, Gregorius (Omarsdottir), Rolser, Da Costa, Dowie
 POTM Amanda Da Costa, never stopped running for the full 120 minutes. Close second would be Fara Williams and a special shout out to Lincoln keeper Karen Bardsley for save after save after save!
 Thanks for reading and following the match updates this evening – the twitter gained over 50 followers tonight so welcome to anyone new reading this! 
 Next up for Liverpool we have a top of the table clash away at Bristol Academy. Won’t be at the game but it is on BT Sport so you can expect the usual match preview/ live tweeting/ match report. Thanks again!

Match Report: Liverpool Ladies 4 – 1 Birmingham City Ladies

 Another game, another team, another 4 goals scored, not a bad habit to be getting into. Liverpool made sure we go into the summer break at the top of the table with yet another emphatic 4 goal performance. Captain Gemma Bonner sat this game out through illness, Lucy Bronze partnering Whitney Engen in defence and Amanda Da Costa stepping into the role of team captain in her absence. Katrin, who missed the Everton game with a hamstring injury, started the game on the bench with Jess Holbrook in the starting 11 again. Rachael Laws our on loan goalkeeper also returning to the starting line up.

 Both teams had early chances to go ahead, Liverpool almost immediately getting a goal through a Fara Williams corner then straight up at the other end a Birmingham corner was cleared by Nicole Rolser. Lucy Bronze did well all game keeping Rachel Williams quiet, pressuring her into passing the ball wide instead of shooting at goal and the resulting Birmingham cross was comfortably collected by Laws. Jess Holbrook continued her good form from the derby win and provided a great ball to Natasha Dowie who fired a shot on target but this was saved by blues keeper Mary Earps. Dowie’s next strike at goal hit the post and rebounded to Rolser who confidently slotted the ball into the net to put Liverpool in front. Birmingham equalised shortly afterwards when Kerys Harrop made the most of us not clearing the ball from a corner. Corina Schroder fresh from opening her Liverpool goal scoring account against Everton almost doubled her tally but her effort was saved by Earps. Just before half time Lucy Bronze capped an impressive first half performance with a powerful headed goal to ensure the reds went in 2-1.

 With the teams back out for the second half, Liverpool perhaps spurred on by the news Bristol had beaten Lincoln meaning we had to win this game to stay at the top of the league. Rolser was pulled down just outside the Birmingham box but Fara Williams, playing probably her finest game in a red shirt yet, overhit her free kick. Dowie then almost went through on goal but her first touch let her down and the blues keeper collected the ball. Birmingham then had a free kick in a dangerous position which was taken well forcing a save from Laws. Somehow Birmingham then failed to score when a goal bound strike from Jo Potter bounced between both posts before being cleared, the travelling blues supporters thought it had gone in. Lucy Bronze continued her great performance by dispossessing Rachel Williams again and going on a run past a couple of Birmingham players into the other half. Jess Holbrook almost claimed her first Liverpool goal after a fantastic Fara Williams ball found Rolser on the right, Rolser passed it back to the waiting Holbrook who unluckily hit the post. Whitney Engen then raised a chuckle from the crowd with some choice language when she was nearly sent flying by the blues winger. Into the last ten minutes of the game, Birmingham noticeably tiring and being run ragged by our attack, Natasha Dowie took her goals tally for the season into double figures when she deflected an ambitious Fara Williams shot into the back of the net. Schroder then hit a great ball to Rolser who added insult to injury for Birmingham and scored our fourth goal of the game.

Liverpool team: Laws, Easton, Bronze, Engen, Schroder (Riccio), Williams, Holbrook, Rolser, Da Costa (C)(Katrin), Fors, Dowie (Billson). Unused subs: Gibbons, Chappell, Keryakoplis

POTM: Lucy Bronze

 So that’s it, the first half of the season gone already. We now break for the European Championships which kick off in Sweden on the 10th July, the final on the 28th  July. Hopefully there will be more than one Liverpool player in the England squad, Fara Williams our only player certain of a place. Gemma Bonner and Lucy Bronze I think have done enough to deserve a call up and hopefully their inclusion in the recent England training camp is an indicator Hope Powell has them in her plans. Another Liverpool player who has done more than enough to receive a call up is the league’s top goalscorer Natasha Dowie. I really hope England have been taking notice of her performances for us and give her a well deserved spot in the squad. Katrin Omarsdottir will likely receive a call up for the Iceland team and Louise Fors will hopefully have caught Pia Sundhage’s eye and get a call up for host nation Sweden.

 Our first week back after the break will be a busy one, we host Arsenal on Sunday 4th August before our Continental Cup semi final takes place 7th August against Lincoln in a game also to be played at Halton Stadium. Then the following weekend we travel to Bristol for a crucial top of the table clash.

 Thanks for reading these blogs this side of the season and for following @LFCLadiesFans on twiter. I’m away for a week now but when I come back  I will be posting a mid season review on here so keep an eye out for that. Also on twitter I will be providing updates on our players progress at the Euros.

Important dates over the next couple of weeks

On 9th June the FAWSL will break for just under 2 months for the Women’s European Championship Finals. Here are a few dates to mark in your diaries between now and then;

Wednesday 29th May : Liverpool host Lincoln in the FAWSL, 7:30pm KO and tickets will be available on the gate £5.

Friday 31st May to Sunday 2nd June : England national team training camp, 3 Liverpool Ladies have received call ups to camp – Fara Williams, Gemma Bonner & Lucy Bronze.

Saturday 1st June : Iceland play Scotland in a pre-Euros friendly, Liverpool player Katrin Omarsdottir is   included in the 23 woman squad.

Sunday 2nd June : USA travel to Canada for a ‘rematch’ of that Olympics semi final, with LFC defender Whitney Engen part of the squad and looking extremely unlikely to be back for our game against Everton. *edit 27/05/13 Whitney is already in  Canada ahead of this game and will miss the game against Lincoln Ladies also.

Tuesday 4th June : Derby day! Liverpool make the trip to Crosby to play Everton Ladies, Everton play their home games at Marine FC’s ground and tickets will be £5 on the gate on the night. 7:30pm KO.

Saturday 8th June : Our final game before the season breaks for the Euros is at home to Birmingham. This will kick off at 7:15pm and once again tickets are priced at £5.

Sunday 9th June : Final FAWSL games to be played today then the season will break until 7th/8th August when Lincoln Ladies will make another trip to Merseyside for our Continental Cup semi final.

If anyone knows of any others please let me know!

Liverpool Ladies 1 – 2 Arsenal Ladies, FA Cup Semi Final Match Report

 Liverpool exited the FA Cup this evening with a fighting performance against Arsenal Ladies. There are lots of positives to take from the defeat, the team is really starting to settle as a group and last season who would have thought we would push Arsenal all the way in an FA Cup Semi Final!
 Liverpool bossed the midfield from the off. Katrin and Rolser in particular were impressive, Katrin nearly opened the scoring with her header going slightly wide of the post. Natasha Dowie was also a stand out performer, holding up play brilliantly in and around the 18 yard box. A great header on the stroke of half time from Dowie gave the Ladies a morale boost and it was a shame there wasn’t longer left to play in the first half.
 Liverpool started brightly in the second half and were unlucky to be caught on the break for the second Arsenal goal. Rolser spotted Byrne off her line and tried an audacious chip from 20 yards out that unfortunately sailed over the crossbar. Also unlucky in the second half was Amanda DaCosta – full of energy and seemingly all over the pitch – who went through on goal only to be thwarted by the Arsenal defence. Dowie almost snatched a second equalizer for Liverpool in injury time following a great ball into the box from Whitney Engen however it wasn’t to be.
 There was a 2000 strong crowd on The Kop, bit of a strange crowd – a lot of kids meant Arsenal players were getting booed. Booing opposition players is something I don’t condone at football games, the energy is best spent getting behind your own team! An amusing fight also broke out after someone threw a bottle onto the pitch when Arsenal scored their first goal.
 Other than that it was great to see the ladies play at Anfield in front of a large crowd. Fantastic to see Anfield traditions upheld, George Sephton being the ever-present Voice of Anfield, the playing of You’ll  Never Walk Alone as the teams walked out and a favourite of mine – clapping the opposing keeper as they run towards the Kop goal. Arsenal are a well-oiled machine and I wish them the best of luck in next month’s final.
 Next up for the reds we have Doncaster Belles in the Continental Cup. The game is due to be played Saturday 4th May at Halton Stadium, Widnes and will kick off at 7:15pm. Ticket pricing is the same as this evenings game (£4 adults, £1 under 16’s) and tickets can be purchased on the day at the turnstiles.
 In other news today the FA has announced the 18 teams who will play in the restructured WSL next season. Liverpool have retained their WSL status and will play in the top tier of the competition. The two big changes for current WSL teams, Doncaster Belles will be in the second tier of the league having being replaced by Manchester City Ladies and Lincoln Ladies will be rebranded as Notts County. Highly disappointing for both sets of supporters and for women’s football.
From The FAWSL website;
The following clubs have been selected for FA WSL1:
Arsenal Ladies FC, Birmingham City Ladies FC, Bristol Academy Women’s FC, Chelsea Ladies FC, Everton Ladies FC, Notts County Ladies FC  (formerly known as Lincoln Ladies FC), Liverpool Ladies FC, Manchester City Ladies FC
The following clubs have been selected for FA WSL2:
Aston Villa Ladies FC, Doncaster Rovers Belles Ladies FC, Durham Women’s FC, London Bees Women’s FC (Barnet FC), Millwall Lionesses FC, Oxford United Women’s FC, Reading Women’s FC, Sunderland Women’s FC, Watford Ladies FC, Yeovil Town Ladies FC

Hi, welcome to my new blog!

 This blog is aimed at bringing you the latest from Liverpool Ladies. As a huge supporter of the ladies team I have set up a twitter, which you can follow here & I want to bring you the latest news from a fans point of view.

 In the coming weeks I hope to bring you player profiles, match previews & reports and more!

 All opinions are my own and I am not affiliated with Liverpool Ladies in any way.