Wednesday 27 July 2011
Liverpools lack of potency in front of goal again proved costly as they were edged out by a Natasha Dowie goal in the Merseyside derby.
Robbie Johnson’s side have now failed to score in six of their nine WSL fixtures, and, in truth, Everton may feel they could have won this contest by a bigger margin.
Liverpool started well but were unable to put Rachel Brown under any kind of pressure before the home side began to dominate.
First Vicky Jones, then Danielle Gibbons denied Everton an opener around the 20 minute mark, as Jones slid in to block a Dowie effort, before Liverpool’s young goalkeeper turned a Toni Duggan strike around her near post.
On the half hour, Everton’s dominance did tell, but Liverpool will have felt that Dowie’s goal was preventable. Good work by Duggan down the left led to a harmless looking cross, but Dowie beat both Vicky Jones and Gibbons to the ball to turn it into the net.
Duggan almost doubled the lead when she headed Becky Easton’s cross narrowly over, before Liverpool finally registered a shot on target at the other end.
A strong run by Ruesha Littlejohn ended with the ball breaking to Kelly Jones, but the energetic midfielder couldn’t get a true enough connection on her shot to trouble Brown.
Duggan then wasted another headed chance, this time directing her effort straight at Gibbons.
Despite the dominance of the hosts, the Reds should have gone into the break level. A 43rd minute Michelle Evans corner was met by Nicola Twohig, but, from around six yards, she could only head over the bar.
Half Time: Everton 1-0 Liverpool
The combination of Dowie and Duggan again proved dangerous in the second half, as the home side tried to put the game to bed with a second.
That killer goal nearly arrived on the hour as Dowie latched onto a Jody Handley through ball before firing narrowly wide of Gibbons' far post.
Minutes later, Vicky Jones and Sam Chappell both produced last ditch clearances to keep Everton out – Jones blocking Rachel Unitt’s shot and Chappell heading Duggan’s cross clear from underneath her own bar.
Littlejohn’s tireless forward work nearly produced a Liverpool chance on 67 minutes, but her shot was tame after she broke from the halfway line.
Duggan then skewed a shot wide of the near post before Everton substitute Gwennan Harries was inches wide with a spectacular half volley.
The introduction of Nicki Harding added more impetus to the Reds’ attacks, but Everton nearly doubled their lead with a freak goal on 75 minutes.
Gibbons’ clearance was blocked by Dowie, but as the ball trickled goalwards it appeared to lose pace and Gibbons retrieved it comfortably a foot in front of her line.
Substitute Cheryl Foster almost salvaged a point at the death, but Brown was able to smother her shot.
The defeat – in front of over 1000 people at Crosby – leaves Liverpool rooted to the bottom of the WSL table ahead of Sunday’s clash with Bristol Academy.
Full Time: Everton 1-0 Liverpool