The month of July has seen Liverpool Ladies enjoy their most successful spell of the 2014 season so far.
Returning to winning ways following a disappointing league defeat to Arsenal Ladies at the end of June; the reds embarked on a run of 4 straights wins, scoring 14 goals. In the final game of the month, an away league tie at Manchester City, Liverpool fell to a 1-0 defeat meaning the six league games remaining are all going to be huge if Matt Beard’s side are to retain any hope of securing the league title for the second year running.
Durham WFC 1 – 7 Liverpool Ladies, 6th July
Liverpool began July with a rampant win away at WSL2’s Durham WFC. Having won one, drawn one and lost one of their Continental Cup group games so far, Liverpool had slim hopes of progressing to the semi-finals of the competition if they were to win their final two games.
New signing Nina Frausing made her first start for the club, as Libby Stout returned in goal after missing the last game through injury.
Just 1-0 up at half-time, through a Natasha Dowie strike, the reds fired 6 past the Durham defence and ex-Everton keeper Danielle Hill during the second-half. Captain Gemma Bonner doubled the lead from a corner, before Dowie scored her 2nd of the game to make it 3.
Katie Zelem made a promising return from injury against Arsenal Ladies on her competitive début and the young midfielder continued to impress here scoring twice in quick succession. Both goals coming after being set-up by the ever-impressive Lucy Bronze, back at right-back with Frausing partnering Bonner in the centre of defence.
Gemma Davison rounded off the scoring with a double of her own, before Libby Stout unfortunately conceded a penalty which Durham skipper Caroline Dixon sent past the Liverpool No.1 to add a late consolation goal.
Liverpool Ladies 3 – 2 Doncaster Belles, 12th July
For the final group game of the Continental Cup, Liverpool welcomed Doncaster Belles back to Select Stadium. The Belles are currently pushing for promotion back to WSL1 and currently sit in 2nd place in the newly created lower tier of the league.
Visibly confident after the previous weekends 7-1 victory, Liverpool raced into a 3-0 lead before half-time. Natasha Dowie with another brace either side of Amanda DaCosta‘s first goal this season. Dowie now has 29 goals in 36 appearances since her move from Everton 2 years ago.
Gemma Davison was in electric form during the first-half, Liverpool’s 2nd goal coming after a tricky Davison run and strike was saved and cleared only as far as the oncoming DaCosta.
The second-half saw Liverpool concede twice from set pieces, first as Sue Smith swung a great ball into the box for Beth England to head home and Jess Sigsworth added a 2nd 10 minutes from time. Becky Easton replaced Kate Longhurst as the reds switched to 3 at the back to comfortably see out the win.
Women’s Super League
Liverpool Ladies 1 – 0 Everton Ladies, 16th July
Liverpool claimed their first derby victory of the season at the third time of trying through Kate Longhurst‘s brilliantly taken strike.
Everton started this game again looking the brighter of the 2 sides, Nikita Parris is always a dangerous player to face and saw an early strike excellently saved by Libby Stout.
Liverpool began to pull themselves into the game, Corina Schroder attacking down the left and beating a number of Everton players to get a low ball to Natasha Dowie on the edge of the area. Dowie spotted the incoming Kate Longhurst and perfectly teed her up to place the ball into the back of the net.
Longhurst almost added a second after again being set-up by Dowie, this time however her strike went over the bar.
Bristol Academy Women 1 – 3 Liverpool Ladies, 19th July
A week after the derby win, Liverpool travelled to last years runners-up Bristol Academy to put in a performance which manager Matt Beard described as their best of the campaign so far.
Gemma Davison scored her first league goal for the reds; Fara Williams‘ corner was cleared only as far as Davison who was waiting on the edge of the 18-yard box, the forward fantastically volleying the ball past the Bristol keeper.
A long range effort from Amanda DaCosta then bounced back off the post to the lurking Katrin Omarsdottir, who scored her 3rd goal against Bristol in 3 games.
Gemma Bonner added Liverpool’s first, heading in from a corner shortly before Bristol were reduced to 10 with Jemma Rose receiving a second yellow card.
The Vixens did add a consolation goal through Welsh winger Natasha Harding, who fired an unstoppable strike past Libby Stout in the Liverpool goal.
Manchester City Women 1 – 0 Liverpool Ladies, 27th July
After a run of 4 straight wins confidence was flying high in the Liverpool camp, they set off for Manchester sitting 3rd in the table knowing a win here would extend the gap between the top 3 and the rest of the table.
Unfortunately for them, City were also aware of this and put a lot of pressure on the reds defence from the opening whistle. Comfortable to play the ball out from the back and patiently build their attack, City limited Liverpool’s opportunities throughout the 90 minutes.
The only goal of the game came after a set piece; Amanda DaCosta cleared the initial corner, however Joey Johnson picked up on the loose ball to shoot from outside the box. Johnson’s effort took a couple of nasty deflections to sail past the Liverpool defence and into the back of the net.
Liverpool pushed for an equaliser, their best chance coming after Gemma Davison worked her way into the 18-yard box. Davison was unable to find an opening to get a strike in, instead turning and passing back to Katrin Omarsdottir who’s shot went wide of the post.
Libby Stout put in an immense shift to keep the score to 1-0, pulling off a string of great saves when the defence in front of her was beaten.
Liverpool Ladies have had a number of England youth internationals in action this month, FA Youth Cup winning duo Kess Elmore and Maz Gillam helping the U16s to 3rd place in the Nordic Tournament. Gillam started each game as England played 4 games in 6 days, beating Holland and Iceland, losing to Sweden and then overcoming Norway on penalties to clinch the bronze medal.
Claudia Walker was the only Liverpool player chosen to represent England at the U19 European Championships in Norway. A young England side fell to 3 defeats during the group stage to exit the competition early, Walker captained the side for their opening game and scored England only game of the tournament in the 2-1 loss to Republic of Ireland.
On Sunday 3rd August, England seniors have a friendly against Sweden in Hartlepool. Gemma Bonner, Natasha Dowie, Lucy Bronze and Fara Williams have each received a call-up while Gemma Davison inexplicably misses out following a run of fine performances.
If Fara Williams plays any part against the Swedes, she will become the most capped England player of all-time. Overtaking Arsenal‘s Rachel Yankey who Williams currently ties on 129 international appearances.
Liverpool trio Martha Harris, Katie Zelem and Ellie Stewart will also be involved in international action in August. They have been selected as part of England U20s World Cup squad and play their first game on Wednesday 6th August against South Korea.
Due to the international break, Liverpool Ladies will play just the 2 league games in August. Both home games with the first against Chelsea Ladies on Saturday 9th August and the second against Notts County Ladies on Saturday 23rd August.
All Liverpool Ladies home games are played at Select Stadium, Widnes and tickets are priced £5 entry for adults and £2.50 concessions. Anfield season ticket holders are granted free entry to all Ladies home games.
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