Sunday 27 February 2011
Hibernian Ladies provided good opposition for Liverpool Ladies as Robbie's team continues its preperation for the start of the WSL.
The Reds turned up at Skelmersdale to be greeted by rain showers and blustery winds, but the sun finally came out just before kick off to welcome the Hibs team from Edinburgh. Liverpool enjoyed the majority of possession in the first 15 minutes, creating some half chances in and around the box, with wingers Katie Brusell and Gemma Watson (with her shiny yellow boots) looking lively. Number 10 Suzanne Lapin shot narrowly wide of the post and then headed over from a corner as the Reds started to take control of the game.
Hibs were limited to breakaway chances during the first 20 minutes, with Suzanne again going close again with a header while Megan Sneddon and Lynda Shepherd bossed the midfield. Although Liverpool were given a let off when the Hibs striker shot wide when she seemed destined to score. Ruesha Littlejohn then worked her magic in the box by beating one and then being denied by a great save from the keeper.
Ruesha then had another shot that sailed wide of the post after great build up play from Liverpool’s midfield quartet. Robbie made 4 planned changes after 35 minutes, ensuring the game kept a high pace. But the first half ended in controversy as the Hibs management felt that they were denied a clear-cut penalty as their midfielder was felled inside the area. The referee waved play on and that was the last major incident of the first half.
HT SCORE 0-0
The second half started much like the first, strong tackles and good approach play but with neither team able to get that first goal. Robbie was forced to make a change early in the second half when Caroline Charlton picked up an injury. Both teams played good football with the ball on the deck but a combination of good defending and a slippery surface stopped any goal opportunities. But then the game sprung into life as the Reds were awarded a penalty on 20 minutes. A late tackle on Ruesha Littlejohn meant that Foz (Cheryl Foster) had the opportunity to put the Reds one up from 12 yards. She slotted the ball into the bottom corner and the deadlock had been broken.
Not even two minutes had passed before a mix up between Sam and goalkeeper Fable Widdop gifted the Hibs striker an open goal, 1-1. Nicola Twohig continued to impress at centre back, but was also aided by substitute Carmel Bennett who grew stronger as the game went on. Foz then put Liverpool two one up from a free kick on the edge of the box. A deflection wrong footed the Hibs keeper, but it was the least the Reds deserved after dominating possession and playing the more attractive football.
Though mirroring the first 2 goals, Hibs immediately responded by rattling the cross bar with a superb volley from 10 yards. The Reds survived and held on to their lead for more than 2 minutes and finished the 90 minutes leading 2-1.
An extra 30 minutes was to be played, as Robbie looked to try out all 16 squad members and look at different tactics. Captain Vicky Jones and Nicky Harding came back into the team, alongside Kelly Jones and Olivia Thackery who had both impressed since coming on during the second half. It was Vicky and Kelly who put the game beyond the Edinburgh greens, making it 3-1 after a brilliant counter attack. The Reds moved the ball quickly out of defence and Kelly played a one-two with Vicky before rounding one defender and shooting low into the bottom corner, 3-1 and the best play of the match.
The three new signings from Scotland came back on in what was an impressive home debut for all, and Megan, Suzanne and Ruesha controlled the play for the rest of the 30 minutes, playing a neat passing game and maintaining Liverpool’s high possession percentage.
Final Score: Liverpool Ladies 3 – 1 Hibernian Ladies