What a home showing for our Women’s on Sunday. Liverpool Women hosted MK Dons in their fifth round matchup of the SSE Women’s FA Cup and boy did they make a scene. The match had been rescheduled to Sunday following a frozen pitch earlier in the week and that proved beneficial to our Reds, by giving debutante Jemma Purfield and veteran Ashley Hodson more time to prepare to get on the pitch at Prenton Park.
New signing Jemma Purfield got her debut in Red starting at left back and was already asserting her influence and setting up Yana Daniels for a shot two minutes in. Daniels couldn’t find the target, but the chance set the tone for the rest of the match and the thrashing to come.
Despite Liverpool’s dominance, with even Laura Coombs going close at 18 minutes, it wasn’t until the half hour mark that the Reds got their breakthrough goal. It was Coombs who was able to take advantage of a set piece, sending a rocket of an effort from the right side that Dons keeper Emma Kirby deflected over her head and into the net.
Almost literally seconds later is when the second came. Courtney Sweetman-Kirk got her 10th of the season after capitalizing on a gorgeous weighted pass from Christie Murray to thread it into the goal after going clear. Reds were leading 2-0 at the half and that’s when the fun really began.
Honestly, in the words of Steve Hunter on the official site, “In the second half, Jepson’s side laid siege to the MK Dons goal.” (I just love that sentence so much).
MK Dons were helpless against the onslaught of goals from Liverpool as they truly hit an attacking stride. Leighanne Robe was denied when her chance was cleared off the line at the 60 minute mark, but Leandra Little was able to claim her first for Liverpool with a header off a corner to make it 3-0 shortly after. Jemma Purfield was making the most of her debut, sending in cross after cross to try and get our attackers in for more goals, when barely a minute after Little’s goal she got one of her own. Purfield sent a gorgeous effort high into the top corner from her left side and solidified a near perfect debut by adding to the scoreline.
The best moment, though, came at 67 minutes when Ashley Hodson came off the bench to replace Sweetman-Kirk, after an eight month absence with an ACL injury. An influential player through and through, she had been sorely missed and her impact was almost immediately felt. Hodson cut in on the right and at 79 minutes scored the Reds’ fifth goal of the day, and enjoying emotional celebrations with manager Vicky Jepson and physio Hina Chauhan.
The Reds continued their siege throughout the end of the game, truly never getting off the front foot with Rinsola Babajide, Robe, and Murray all going close to net that sixth and final goal. It would be five minutes before the end when Jemma Purfield came into the penalty area and sent a low cross towards the net, scoring a brace when the ball is deflected by a Dons defender.
Truly an afternoon to remember for the Reds as they go ahead to meet Millwall Lionesses in the next round.