Match Report: Everton Ladies 1 – 4 Liverpool Ladies

 Last night Liverpool Ladies claimed their first FA Women’s Super League derby victory over rivals Everton and strengthened their hold at the top of the table in style. In front of a packed Marine ground – 1,124 being the official gate number – the ladies in red ran riot against the Everton defence.

 It was all change for Liverpool, both keepers were out injured meaning emergency loan signing Rachael Laws made her debut. Katrin Omarsdottir returned from international duty having picked up an injury leaving Jess Holbrook to fill her spot in the centre of midfield against her old team. Also back from international duty with the USA Whitney Engen retook her position at centre back with Lucy Bronze moving back across to right back.

 For the first ten minutes the two teams struggled to find their rhythm, both trying to get a hold on the game. Everton had a couple of early chances, first a Toni Duggan strike was blocked by Liverpool captain Gemma Bonner then Laws saved well from Nikita Parris. Once Liverpool settled it was the same as the Lincoln game, Liverpool holding the majority of the possession barely allowing Everton a sniff of the ball. The reds crept closer and closer to the Everton goal, both Nicole Rolser and Amanda Da Costa cutting through the Everton defence but being offside. Bronze then hit a great ball to Da Costa but her cross was sent narrowly wide by Corina Shroder. Liverpool now with all the pressure and growing in confidence, Engen up from a corner won the ball back and put it back into the box but Fara Williams placed her shot the wrong side of the post. Rolser then had a number of chances, her first sailed over the crossbar and in hindsight could have been passed to the waiting Natasha Dowie. Amy Kane blocked Rolser’s second goal bound effort however the Everton defence then failed to deal with the ball in the box and she slotted home her second goal of the season. Dowie and Schroder were working well together on the left, shortly before half time Dowie crossed the ball to the unmarked Da Costa but the ball ran just behind her.  Despite the relentless assault Liverpool somehow went in at half time up by just one goal.

 Everton came out with a renewed fighting spirit in the second half, showing some of the attacking movement they did last week against Doncaster Belles. Bronze and Bonner dealt confidently with the onslaught, Gemma Bonner hit the ball up field to Dowie who went close – the ball going out for a corner. Everton cleared quickly from the corner to hit us on the counter attack, Parris’ shot was saved by Laws but straight into the path of the oncoming Jill Scott who equalised for the blues. Everton’s joy was short lived, Louise Fors continuing her fine form with a goal from just inside the 18 yard box to put us back in front. A Fara Williams free kick then was saved by Lizzie Durack and sent out for another reds corner, this time Whitney Engen taking no chances and staying back to cover the defence. Yet another Fors strike from an almost identical position was punched away by Durack but only as far as Shroder, who had gotten herself into a fantastic position to score her first goal in a red shirt. Comfortably ahead and in control of the game Matt Beard made a double substitution bringing on Becky Easton and Lillie Billson to replace Williams and  Rolser, Bronze moving into midfield. Towards the end of the second half both teams had chances, Natasha Dowie’s chip was saved and up at the other end Laws kept out Everton substitute Simone McGill. With the 90 minutes drawing to a close Dowie put the final nail in the Everton coffin after Billson found her unmarked in the Everton half, she struck the ball past the unfortunate Durack for her 9th goal on the season. 4-1 Liverpool.

 It’s difficult to single out just one player for player of the game, not one of our ladies put in a bad shift. Our starting back four all did well halting the Everton attacks, Bronze made more than one crucial interception, Bonner with numerous clearances which also seemed to find a red shirt every time and Schroder not just for bagging a goal but for being the catalyst for many of Liverpool’s attacks down the left. If it were based purely on the first half then  I would have said Nicole Rolser but taking the full 90 minutes into consideration the POTM for me has to go to Whitney Engen. A rock at the heart of our defence, breaking up many of Everton’s attacks and keeping Toni Duggan quiet all evening limiting the number of chances she could take. This was made all the more impressive when you take into account that barely 48 hours she had put in another player of the match performance for the USWNT against Canada, playing the full 90 minutes in Toronto.

 Birmingham are the next side to face our in form reds. It will be the last game before the season breaks for the European Championships, the game kicks off 7:15pm this Saturday 8th June at Halton Stadium. The match preview for this game will be up on Friday evening. Thanks for reading!

LFC: Laws, Bronze, Engen, Bonner (C), Schroder, Holbrook, Williams (Easton 81), Fors, Rolser (Billson 81), Da Costa, Dowie. Unused subs: Chappell, Keryakoplis, Riccio

EFC: Durack, V.Jones, Greenwood, Johnson, Chaplen, Scott (C), Kane (Whipp 85), Hinnigan (K.Jones 64), Parris, Duggan, Boye-Hlorkah (Magill 78). Unused subs: Brown-Finnis, Nelson, Handley, Williams.

Match Preview: Derby Day! Everton Ladies v Liverpool Ladies

Tuesday 4th June 2013, 7:30pm KO
Marine FC, Crosby

 On Tuesday Liverpool Ladies will make the trip to Crosby to play Everton in the first league derby since Liverpool’s makeover. Liverpool have not had much luck in this fixture in the two previous WSL seasons; losing 3, drawing 1 and conceding 8 goals along the way. The good news is that 6 of those 8 goals were scored by players who have since joined the red revolution! (Natasha Dowie, Fara Williams and Lucy Bronze)

 Since our last game some reds have been away on international duty. Fara Williams, Lucy Bronze and Gemma Bonner have been at a 3 day England training camp and Katrin Omarsdottir played during Iceland’s 3-2 defeat against Scotland. Also suffering defeat was reds striker Hannah Keryakoplis who’s Wales U19 team were beaten 2-1 by the Hungarian NT. Whitney Engen was the last of the reds away, she produced a player of the match display as USA beat Canada 3-0. That game took place on Sunday evening so Engen is a doubt to play in the derby.

 If that is indeed the case there should be no changes to the starting line up that beat Lincoln 3-2 last Wednesday, with the more than capable Lucy Bronze filling in at centre back and Becky Easton retaining her place at right back. One player who I would like to see getting more game time is Lillie Billson. Billson nearly always comes on towards the end of a game and creates a few chances but at the moment it’s difficult to see who she would replace in the starting line up with our attacking players all in fine form. Natasha Dowie in particular is in unstoppable form at the moment, thriving under the service provided by Fors, Rolser and Da Costa. Dowie can hold up play brilliantly to bring the midfield into the attack and as a result Liverpool look dangerous on the counter attack. Louise Fors is another player producing consistently good displays, player of the match against Lincoln where she added to her goals tally for the season taking her to 4 in 10 games.

 Everton despite our winter raid are a well oiled machine and will prove tough to defeat on home soil. Their last two games here in the league have ended in draws and they will be desperate to get back to winning ways. Their last WSL outing resulted in a 2-2 draw with a spirited Doncaster Belles side. They were without main striker Toni Duggan who was serving a one match ban for picking up 5 yellow cards in 8 games. Duggan’s absence was felt by the blues and she will be back to play against us. Leading the Everton attack was a lively Nikita Parris but Everton struggled getting the ball forward in the first half instead deciding to pepper the Doncaster goal with a number of long range shots. Jill Scott went closest to scoring before Jody Handley saw her goal ruled out for offside. All the goals came in the second half, Parris opened the scoring netting a fantastic effort from outside the 18 yard box however Everton twice gave up the lead to give Doncaster a well earned point. Lizzie Durack gave another convincing performance in the Everton goal while Rachael Brown is out through injury.

 Both teams will be looking forward to this game and while Everton are a very good side I think now the quality in our reds side will be just enough to secure our first WSL victory over the blue half of the city. Last time we played Everton was right at the start of the season in a Continental Cup game when we were unlucky to come away with only a point. Since that game our team has grown a lot stronger having spent a lot more playing time together and we are beginning to dominate games against proven WSL sides (see Arsenal and Chelsea results for evidence of this!). Hope to see you there!