Niamh Charles came off the bench and scored within three minutes as Liverpool FC Women looked to take control over Sheffield United, but ultimately lost 3-2.
Liverpool 2-3 Sheffield United
Continental Tyres Cup, Prenton Park
September 22, 2019
Goals: Hodson 31′, Charles 62′; Wilkinson 55′, Cusack 87′, Pennock 90+4′
Vicky Jepson made four changes to her side from the 1-0 loss at Tottenham last time out, as Jemma Purfield, Rhiannon Roberts, Rinsola Babajide and Ashley Hodson made their first starts of the season.
They came in the Continental Tyres Cup, as Liverpool hosted the Blades at Prenton Park, which began as an end-to-end contest and saw Babajide and Mel Lawley shine early on.
It was Lawley who helped tee up the opener through Hodson, latching onto a long pass and seeing her shot blocked only for the incoming forward to convert on the rebound.
Becky Flaherty was kept busy between the posts for the visitors, denying both Babajide and Lawley in the last five minutes of the half to keep the score at 1-0 heading into the break.
United fought back after the interval, and within 10 minutes had secured an equaliser, with Katie Wilkinson heading beyond Anke Preuss from a corner to restore parity.
Jepson introduced Charles soon after, and three minutes after coming on the 20-year-old childhood Red had put her side back in front.
It came via a brilliant cross from Purfield, allowing Charles to head home for 2-1.
A comfortable 20 minutes followed for the Reds, but it unravelled in the closing stages as United produced a frustrating comeback.
It began as Maddy Cusack struck a powerful shot past Preuss and in off the bar from range, and two minutes later Jade Bailey was dismissed for picking up her second booking of the game.
Then with a penalty shootout looming, Liverpool let it slip and conceded a demoralising third, with Jade Pennock the scorer for Sheffield—coming, crushingly, in the fourth minute of stoppage time.
A 3-2 loss is a disappointing start to Group A for Jepson’s side, whose next foray into the cup is at Coventry on October 20, following Women’s Super League clashes with Man United (Sept 28) and Bristol City (Oct 13).
Liverpool FC Women: Preuss; Jane, Bradley-Auckland, Purfield, Robe; Bailey, Roberts (Rodgers 85′), Lawley; Babajide, Clarke (Charles 59′), Hodson (Linnett 77′)
Subs not used: Kitching, Kearns, Sweetman-Kirk
Next Match: Man United (A) – Women’s Super League – Saturday, September 28, 12pm (BST)