Birmingham Women 2 - 0 Liverpool Women
Home Team: Player XX’, Player XX’, Player XX’
Things, despite everything, are feeling pretty okay for the Liverpool Women right now. They had their first victory of the season last weekend, the club just announced they’ll be playing the Merseyside Derby at Anfield in three weeks. Good things have come to the Women so traveling to Birmingham City on Sunday should be something to build on that momentum. Also facing another former Red in Lucy Staniforth should be prove to make an interesting match for the Red Women.
Things don’t get off to a great start as Liverpool give away a free kick within the first ten minutes. The aforementioned Lucy Staniforth, who left Liverpool in January 2016, sets it up and Birmingham’s captain Kerys Harrop sends it past Fran Kitching to give the home side the lead early on. From there it was a battle that Liverpool are well accustomed to by this point, as they now had to find a way back into the game, with it having barely started.
Rinsola Babajide was the main threat for the Blues as she usually is, taking control of her wing on the right, but Liverpool’s problems with finding forwards to connect with the winger’s passes persisted. Jess Clarke is the first one to have a shot at goal but isn’t able to get a decent effort in after collecting the ball in the penalty area. Babajide sends another fantastic effort to Clarke in the box around the 21st minute, but it’s too strong for Clarke to get a handle on.
Unable to keep a handle on the game, the Reds appeared sloppy and uncoordinated — another typical afternoon for them. Abbi Grant was able to try twice for the home side, from distance, as one shot was well handled by Kitching and the other going wide of the goal after a short corner. Liverpool also had a corner around the 33rd minute, and they try their hands at a short routine, with Melissa Lawley’s cross finding Rhiannon Roberts, but Roberts isn’t able to direct it well enough to score.
The last chance of the half comes through Abbi Grant once more, causing some chaos in the box but Fran Kitching is able to just tip her shot over the crossbar.
The break seemed to do Liverpool well as they came out ready to fire a bit more. Babajide gets going with the first real threat of the half with a shot from distance, but it goes well over the crossbar. The Reds even have a promising breakaway towards goal but the offside flag is shown to throw things off.
Liverpool seem to have gotten themselves a little more together defensively, as Fran Kitching comes to save the day once more from a low shot by Lucy Whipp and another attempt from Grant is dealt with easily by Leighanne Robe.
Liverpool make their first two changes, bringing on Kirsty Linnett and Courtney Sweetman-Kirk for Melissa Lawley and Jess Clarke, and they both hit the ground running. Linnett and Sweetman-Kirk both immediately test the Birmingham keeper Hannah Hampton, with firing a low shot and then Hampton clawing away Sweetman-Kirk’s effort. Say what you will about the team, Vicky Jepson knows how to use subs that will help the state of play, even if it doesn’t always end up in results.
The home side’s second goal comes at 82 minutes in, with the ball falling at the feet of Lucy Staniforth herself in the penalty box. Didn’t even take two seconds for the former Red to fire it past Fran Kitching and seal the win for Birmingham.
Another day of disappointment for our Red Women. It’s really hard to understand what’s going wrong and what could be fixed, but we’ll all have to keep showing up to show our support.