Sunday 23 September 2012
A weakened Liverpool Ladies side travelled to Meadow park to face Super League leaders Arsenal Ladies, who are currently within touching distance of securing the league title.
Arsenal began the brighter side, but a Liverpool comeback looked like a possibility when a fantastic dipping volley from Katie Brussell almost inspired her side.
Lillie Billson started the game strongly, proving herself a handful for the Arsenal defence after her trickery opened up a shooting opportunity for Katie Brussell, but her shot was comfortably saved.
The first Arsenal goal came from a resultant corner after Sarah Quantrill denied the initial shot from Katie Chapman with a fine save. Rachel Yankey, who picked up her record breaking 120th England cap midweek, saw her in-swinging corner headed home by Chapman.
Liverpool’s recent spell of conceding multiple goals in quick succession blighted the side again, when Chapman clinched a second with a long range effort beating the Liverpool keeper.
The home side continued to press, but could only manage to hit the woodwork, with Yankey’s effort glancing Quantrill’s near post quickly followed by Jordan Nobbs’ effort rebounding of the bar.
The Reds then pushed for a goal of their own, but shots from Billson and Culvin came to no avail.
The second half began in a similar fashion to the first, with Arsenal having a goal disallowed for an infringement on Quantrill after a scuffle from a corner.
Katie Brussell’s goal in the second half was certainly one to remember, as her long-range volley soared over Emma Byrne in the Arsenal net, and inspired her side to push for what would have been an impressive comeback.
After being brought on for Emily Gielnik, Hannah Keryakoplis was gifted a chance to equalise after she pounced on a poor goal kick from Emma Byrne and found herself one on one, but keeper quickly recovered and squandered her effort.
Sarah Quantrill, who is making just her second appearance for the club, was called into action again when she tipped Danielle Carter’s spectacular effort over the bar. Katie Chapman was denied a hat-trick from the resulting corner when her headed effort was kept out by the woodwork.
Arsenal extended their lead the 88th minute, when Ellen White knocked home a cross from Kim Little after some admirable trickery in the box.
Sophie Jones was inches away from reducing the gap to one just a minute later, but her effort drifted agonisingly wide of the far Arsenal post.
Kelly Jones’ determination continued right to the end when she launched herself into the path of Carter’s thumping effort to block the shot and see the ball cleared.
But Ellen White put the tie past any doubt when she showed composure to pick her spot in Quantrill’s net right on full time following a late spell of Arsenal pressure.
The Reds manager Matt Beard said that there was many positives to take from the game, and was probably the best he’s seen the side play since taking charge.
However he believes his sides fitness may have let them down during the final stages:
“One of the biggest problems we’ve had since I’ve been here is the squads fitness levels. We had lots of players out injured and players with knocks who played today. When they got the third and fourth goals it was mainly because of the players tiredness.”
He added: “ But we should be proud of what we’ve put in today and proved we can compete with the top teams in the country.”
The ladies next-and final WSL game of this season- comes in the form of a home clash with Doncaster Rovers Belles on Sunday 7th October – KO 2pm.
Final Score: Arsenal Ladies 4 – 1 Liverpool Ladies.
Official Attendance - 464
By Mitch Francis