Wednesday 6 December 2017


LIVERPOOL LADIES travelled to South Shields on Tuesday for their final game of the Continental Cup group stage against Sunderland Ladies.

Each side had already qualified for the quarter-finals of the Cup with this game due to decide who out of the two would take top spot in the group.

With both Niamh Charles and Ali Johnson away with England U20s, Reds boss Scott Rogers named a new face amongst the substitutes; Welsh youth international Cassia Pike who has made a blistering start to life for the club’s Development Squad after rising through the ranks at the RTC.

Aside from Pike there were just two changes to the Liverpool starting line-up that beat Aston Villa 5-1 before the international break, Siobhan Chamberlain returning in goal and Bethany England in for Charles.

Sunderland attacked from the kick off, giving Chamberlain an early touch of the ball as the Reds no.1 came swiftly off her line to collect a threatening cross.

Following this Liverpool took control, carving out numerous opportunities in the opening ten minutes alone with superb movement in the Black Cats half.

First Jess Clarke teed up Laura Coombs at the back post, Coombs making a great run into the box yet blazing her attempt over the crossbar.

Coombs was then almost in again, an eye-catching series of passes between Alex Greenwood, Ashley Hodson and England leading to the latter playing the ball into Coombs – this time the shot deflected out for a corner.

A third chance in as many minutes came as, forced back from a set piece, Greenwood found Sophie Ingle in space on the half way line. Taking her time to pick out her pass, Ingle sprayed the ball wide to Clarke who crossed into the area only for Rachael Laws to beat England to it.

This was to be the start of a busy evening for the former Liverpool goalkeeper, who helped the Reds to their first WSL1 title in 2013.

Against the run of play, and taking nothing away from Sunderland’s build up for their goal, the hosts took the lead. Another former Red and now-Sunderland captain Lucy Staniforth spinning a cross in for Bridget Galloway to head home her first goal for the club.

Last time here in the league just a few weeks earlier, the Reds found an instant response to going behind and went on to win 4-1.

In this cup tie however Laws was first to everything; England’s cross landing in the arms of the ‘keeper before either Clarke or Hodson could meet it, Clarke denied at point blank range following a set piece and both Hodson and England each seeing efforts saved before the break.

For the Black Cats, Galloway had two more chances to extend the lead before being substituted in the second half. Casey Stoney putting enough pressure on the striker to force her off-path and allowing Chamberlain to push her shot around the post and then almost being set up for a second by Staniforth only for the linesman to flag for offside.

As in the first half Chamberlain was again called into action early in the second, yet another former Liverpool player Ellie Stewart finding her centre-half partner Tori Williams with a free kick but the Reds ‘keeper intercepting.

A goal would continue to elude Liverpool, the introduction of Natasha Harding with half an hour to play merely leading to another set of saves from Laws.

Two minutes after entering the field a strike from Weir was deflected, landing at the feet of Harding whose shot was palmed away by Laws. Stoney, remaining high up the pitch following a corner, sent the ball back in only for Laws to again get in the way of Harding putting the Reds level.

This continued until the final whistle, Laws beating Harding to a bullet of a cross in from Greenwood and also reacting smartly to stop Weir’s neat flick crossing the line.

As Liverpool still looked to bag an equaliser, Pike was handed her first team debut by Rogers. The winger’s first involvement was to play a quick one-two with Coombs and then slide a pass in for Harding to chase, but once more – and you can probably guess this by now – Laws came off her line to scoop up the danger.

Despite a flurry of activity in the Sunderland box late on, Gemma Bonner the next player to have a header on target saved, the Reds couldn’t find a way past Laws.

The draw for the quarter-finals will take place on Thursday, 7th December.

LIVERPOOL LADIES: Chamberlain, Fletcher, Bonner ©, Stoney, Greenwood, Ingle, Coombs, Weir, Hodson (Pike), England (Harding), Clarke

UNUSED SUBS: Flaherty, Harris, Longhurst, Rodgers

PLAYER OF THE MATCH: Laura Coombs (/Rachael Laws)

An explanation

Hello followers of @LFCladiesfans,

I'm writing this blog post to firstly apologise for being somewhat absent over the last few weeks.

While travelling home from the last away trip to Sunderland I got a phone call telling me that my grandparents had been involved in a car accident and rushed to hospital.

Unfortunately my Grandad didn't recover and passed away in hospital on 11th November.

As you can imagine when I've not then been at football matches it's been a bit mad at home and whatnot, and so I took a step back from my blog and @LFCladiesfans social media accounts.

I never want to do half a job on my blog so that's why there's been no match reports or the like for the last few games, but now I'm back and we have two more games before the end of the year to look forward to.

Finally, if you'll indulge me I'd like to tell you about my Grandad. He was born James Patrick Carroll in Kiltimagh, Ireland and grew up on a farm with his Aunt, Uncle and younger brother.

When my Grandad turned 18 he moved to England, arriving in Liverpool in the 1950s where he met my Grandma.

They got engaged shortly before my Grandad took a job in New Zealand, there he was nicknamed Irish Jim and even trained with the All Blacks!

He sailed home from New Zealand across the Pacific Ocean, stopping at the Pitcairn Island and down the Panama canal.

Grandad wasn't done with travelling the world and a few years later took a job working in the Sudan! Here they nicknamed him the 'man with the pipe'.

When he eventually returned home to Liverpool and retired aged 61, he was approached by Ogdens Tobacco Company who asked him to join a team of tobacco testers - he always said this was his dream job!

My Grandad was always full of tales of his travels and of his childhood home in Ireland, he was also a Blue - would you believe it! He'd always tease me about the Reds if we weren't doing so well, but I learnt to give as good as I got.

The final time I visited my Grandad on the Friday night, he was asking me how Liverpool were getting on and I told him a lot better than Everton! He always had a big smile on his face, on that final night still laughing and joking about how I was a Red.

If I can live a life that's half as full as my Grandad's, I'll be happy.

Sunday 5 November 2017


A defensive display from WSL2 outfit Durham Women prevented Liverpool Ladies from returning to Merseyside with all three points on Sunday afternoon.

The Reds were held to a goalless draw by the Wildcats however won 5-4 on penalties to earn a bonus point in the Continental Cup.

Scott Rogers made two changes to the team that beat Sunderland last weekend, Ashley Hodson and Laura Coombs in for Jess Clarke and Bethany England.

Throughout the game Liverpool dominated in possession yet were turned back at every turn by a Durham side set up to defend.

In the opening ten minutes alone Hodson’s shot was parried by Durham goalkeeper Helen Alderson to Laura Coombs who fired over and Gemma Bonner directed a Alex Greenwood delivery wide of the post.

Greenwood’s form in 2017 has been mightily impressive and she continually looked to be the difference today, a constant showing on the left. 

The England international waltzed past a couple of Durham shirts to cut in and thread a through ball for Tash Harding to chase, Alderson just beating the forward to it.

With Liverpool looking more and more likely to break the deadlock, Coombs sprayed a pass wide to Charles that was sent in first time towards Hodson yet Alderson - who was about to have a very busy afternoon - was off her line to collect.

Alderson was being kept busy at the other end, while Siobhan Chamberlain was to initially have a quiet afternoon. The Reds shot stopper first called into action in the 11th minute to scoop up a loose ball that got away from Hepple, yet otherwise seeing little of the play.

Part of this was down to the superb Satara Murray at right back, when Durham ventured forward they appeared to head down the right flank. Murray showing her strength on a couple of occasions to show the attacker wide and win back the ball.

As the half drew on it was Bonner that went closest to breaking the deadlock, a glancing header on the stroke of half time going wide following a set piece.

Before that the Reds had had a slew of chances; Caroline Weir trying her luck from 40-yards, Alderson again beating Hodson to a Charles cross, Harding denied by the ‘keeper after good work by Greenwood and Sophie Ingle and a Harding strike deflected out for a corner after the forward was set up by Hodson.

Liverpool’s lack of luck in front of goal continued into the second half as Durham’s defence were happy to sit back and frustrate.

With just over half an hour to play Greenwood’s fizzing strike from a tight angle bounced off the crossbar.

As Liverpool looked to shake things up in order to get the goal their performance deserved England replaced Hodson and Jess Clarke took to the pitch in place of Murray.

Unfortunately for the Reds Clarke picked up an injury shortly after coming on and Liverpool sent on Ali Johnson.

Before the referee blew for full time Liverpool threw all they could into attack, Greenwood basically playing left forward and Bonner also high up the pitch - only Casey Stoney remained in the Reds half keeping Chamberlain company.

A Greenwood cross with 15 minutes to play was cut back by England yet shot wide of the target by Coombs. 

Bonner also looked to tee up Charles in the closing stages but the busy Alderson smothered the strike, leaving the game to finish goalless and requiring penalties to be taken to decide which side took home the bonus point.

A tense penalty shoot out followed with sixteen takers in total. Durham’s early lead cancelled out as Coombs, England, Harding and Stoney each netted from the spot while the previously uninvolved Chamberlain impressed with a trio of saves.

Poised at 4-4 after Durham also sent one over the crossbar, Weir stepped up to convert the decisive spot kick and ensure the Reds returned with two points.

LIVERPOOL LADIES: Chamberlain, Murray (Clarke (Johnson)), Bonner (C), Stoney, Greenwood, Ingle, Coombs, Weir, Hodson (England), Charles, Harding

Saturday 7 October 2017


Liverpool Ladies produced a fine defensive performance away at FA Women’s Super League leaders Chelsea Ladies on Saturday afternoon. Norwegian international Maren Mjelde’s first half strike the difference between the two sides as the Reds fell to a narrow 1-0 defeat.

Scott Rogers side had suffered a tough 3-0 defeat last week at home to Reading and were looking to make amends here, Kate Longhurst in to bolster the midfield and Jess Clarke leading the line up front.

Sophie Ingle sat in front of an unchanged back five of Satara Murray, Gemma Bonner, Casey Stoney, Alex Greenwood and Siobhan Chamberlain in goal; while Natasha Harding and Niamh Charles went on either side of Longhurst and Laura Coombs in midfield.

In contrast to last week’s performance Liverpool started the tie brightly, Ji So-Yun flashed the first chance of the tie wide of the mark for the hosts yet it was Longhurst who sparked the game into life. A trademark, biting challenge winning the ball back for the Reds and allowing Ingle to plough a pass up the field towards Clarke.

Clarke was marked by Millie Bright throughout yet almost slipped past her here, turning and looking to fire an effort at goal that was closed down at the edge of the box.

Reds captain Bonner was also a stand out during the 90 minutes, blocking shots and passes here, there and everywhere. In only the fourth minute of the game closing down Carney’s strike and then four minutes from time out again to twice deny the Blues.

Chelsea took the lead almost against the run of play, Liverpool had certainly enjoyed possession and Coombs’ set piece narrowly missing the head of Ingle – Bonner’s ball back in intercepted - and Harding narrowly flagged offside after Greenwood’s probing cross.

Norwegian international Mjelde produced an excellent finish from the edge of the area to open the scoring, although it came minutes after a dubious refereeing decision as the referee deemed that Clarke had brought down Gilly Flaherty.

The hosts had chances to double their lead yet were spurned at each turn by the fierce Liverpool defence; Charles nicking the ball out from under the feet of Flaherty and Ingle heading away the resulting corner, Bonner blocking Erin Cuthbert’s shot and Greenwood heading the rebound out and a crunching last-ditch tackle from Bonner preventing Carney from finding the net herself.

Before the first half drew to a close a fizzing free kick from Greenwood almost wormed its way in at the far post, an inch wide and Bonner arriving a second too late to tap the ball over the line.

Chances for either side were few and far between in the second half and Clarke had perhaps the most clear-cut opportunity for Liverpool; Ingle had come into possession just inside the Reds half and flashed it quickly up the pitch for Clarke to run in behind the defence, giving chase the no.9 went through on goal yet took a heavy first touch and then could only watch as Blues ‘keeper Becky Spencer gathered up the ball.

Both sides made substitutions with Rogers bringing on Ashley Hodson and Caroline Weir, looking to snatch an equaliser while Chelsea boss Emma Hayes looked to attacking trio Fran Kirby, Eni Aluko and Drew Spence.

Spence was twice frustrated by Murray who strongly held off the forward to shield the ball out for a Liverpool goal kick and then heading away Millie Bright’s cross before she could connect with it.

The Blues also had a series of corners, each expertly defended by Liverpool and Chamberlain produced a number of excellent saves – punching away a strike by Mjelde and denying the hosts a second in added time at the end of the game.

For those supporters disheartened by the showing against Reading, this was the Reds showing that that performance was merely a bad day at the office and that they can go shoulder-to-shoulder and match the best teams in this league.

Chelsea’s strength in depth was today matched by Liverpool’s heart and fight, a performance that all can be proud of and one that can kick start the season – which continues this coming Wednesday with a home Continental Cup tie against WSL2’s Sheffield United at Widnes.

LIVERPOOL LADIES: Chamberlain, Murray, Bonner ©, Stoney, Greenwood, Ingle, Longhurst, Coombs, Charles (Hodson), Harding, Clarke (Weir)