Sunday 6 May 2012
Robbie Johnsons Liverpool side put in a spirited performance against reigning Womens Super League title holders Arsenal, but ultimately came up short as they lost 2-0.
Although the visitors picked up all three points that wasn’t half of the story, with both of their goals coming from the penalty spot.
Liverpool included new signing Emily Gielnik in the starting line-up, following the striker’s move to the club from Australian side Brisbane Roar last week.
It was the visitors who would be quickest out of the blocks as in just the second minute Kim Little forced a good save from Nicky Davies, after the midfielder broke forward into the box.
Arsenal continued to press forward into the Liverpool half at every opportunity and Davies was soon called into action once again. The lively Little’s cross wasn’t dealt with and as the ball fell to Jordan Nobbs on the edge of the box her strike was expertly turned away by the goalkeeper.
As the half wore on Liverpool came more into the game and on 20 minutes good play by the lone frontrunner Gielnik saw her force a corner, following a good turn and shot on the edge of the box.
Back came the visitors though and excellent work by Gemma Davison on the right-hand side saw her find Little on the edge of the box, who drove just over the bar from 18-yards out.
On 30 minutes Arsenal were forced into a change as Steph Houghton replaced the injured Danielle Carter. The England international was soon into the thick of the action as she hooked an effort just wide from the edge of the box.
Arsenal were now back on the front foot as Little forced her way to the by-line and her cross just evaded on the onrushing Houghton.
Liverpool almost worked an opening on 38 minutes as Hannah Keryakoplis nicked the ball off Nobbs and played in Gielnik, whose driven effort was saved low down by Sophie Harris in the Arsenal goal.
Arsenal would finally break the deadlock on 41 minutes when they were awarded a penalty after Little broke forward and was brought down by Samantha Chappell. The midfielder dusted herself down and just about slotted home into the corner of the net, despite the best efforts of Davies.
Half-time: Liverpool 0-1 Arsenal
Arsenal started the second half strongly as they went in search of what could well be a killer second goal, with Rachel Yankey soon forcing a corner which was just dealt with by Davies.
The visitors were eventually able to extend their lead on 58 minutes in rather fortunate circumstances, as they were awarded a second penalty. Little once again danced her way into the area and after her close-range shot struck the arms of Lynda Shepherd referee Barry Crop awarded another spot-kick. Little again took the penalty and despite Davies going the right-way she was beaten for a second time, as the ball found the corner of the net.
Liverpool made a double change on 64 minutes in order to try and gain something back from the match with Sophie Jones and Nicky Harding replacing the hard-working Katie Brusell and Keryakoplis
It was almost 3-0 on 71 minutes when Niamh Fahey saw her audacious left-footed effort strike the upright and go back across the goal and away to safety. Whether the left-back meant it, only she will know, but it would have been up there with one of the goals of the season if it had gone in.
New signing Gielnik almost pulled a goal back for the home side on 76 minutes as Kelly Jones’ cross wasn’t dealt with and the tall striker dragged her effort just wide from inside the box, as Liverpool continued to press for a way back into the game.
It should have been 3-0 to the visitors with just eight minutes remaining when a wonderful cross from Arsenal substitute Bianca Bragg picked out Houghton inside the box, but she blazed over when well placed.
In the end Little’s double strike from the penalty spot would be enough for Arsenal to claim all three points and make it three wins from three league games for Laura Harvey’s side.
Liverpool must now take this positive display with them into their next fixture, which sees them travelling to Chelsea in a week’s time on Sunday 13th May.
Full-time: Liverpool 0-2 Arsenal