Liverpool Women 1 - 1 West Ham Women
Liverpool Women: Charles 77’
West Ham Women: Leon 5’
Playing West Ham is always a little bit exciting, maybe a little bit depressing. Reuniting with Matt Beard and wondering what could’ve been following those back to back league titles. Liverpool’s decline can be traced directly back to Matt Beard leaving and I’m not saying he’s to blame, but it was definitely the catalyst for... I guess the club not caring anymore. Who can say??
Typical of Liverpool Women, things start off strong. Ashley Hodson picks up a ball from Niamh Charles and charging down the left channel, cutting inside only to see her shot go wide. Charles would even have the best chance to collecting a gorgeous corner from Jade Bailey, but can’t get a good enough touch on it and the ball is dealt with pretty easily.
Also typical of Liverpool Women, the first goal is conceded early, as West Ham break from a corner and a deflection goes past Fran Kitching and into the net. West Ham lead in the first five minutes through Adriana Leon.
From there it’s an uphill battle that both I and the team are well acquainted with at this point. West Ham’s defense organized quickly to maintain their lead, and it takes fifteen minutes for Liverpool to make some threatening attacks, with Melissa Lawley finding Kirsty Linnett in the box but unable to make anything of the shots. Lawley continued to cement herself as one of the more capable players on the side, working herself into spaces and doing her best to find players in advantageous spots from the right side. With an ability to make pinpoint passes to strikers, it’s a shame that our strikers seem unable to finish this season.
The first half would end without any major changes, with the visitors leading.
The second half would start with a little bit more vigor from the home side, as Charles had a chance early on after collecting a pass from Jade Bailey. Unfortunately West Ham’s keeper Courtney Brosnan was also in the right place at the right time to collect it. Kitching herself made a superb stop of a shot from Kenza Dali and to keep the visitors from doubling their lead.
Things get really exciting around the 65th minute, when the Reds actually win a penalty after Rhiannon Roberts is pulled down in the box. Things look like they’re about to go Liverpool’s way as Melissa Lawley, who scored the only goal in the league up until this point from the spot, steps up to take it. Unfortunately for Liverpool, her shot is saved and goes wide of the post, keeping things at 1-0. The near miss gives a little bit more confidence to the Red Women, though, as they restart the game in earnest.
Vicky Jepson brings on Rinsola Babajide, who probably should’ve started, at the 67th minute and the addition shifts the game into the Reds’ way. Increasing the pressure on West Ham proves to pay off, when Niamh Charles just toes in a cross from Melissa Lawley to score the Reds’ first goal from play (!!!) this season and find that all important equalizer. There’s even a chance when it looks like Melissa Lawley makes up for the missed penalty, getting the ball into the back of the net but the goal is disallowed for a handball in the lead up play.
The game is awarded five minutes of stoppage time at the end, that sees both sides go all in looking for a winner. West Ham’s Jacynta Galabadaarachchi sent an effort just wide, when Liverpool won a free kick and finding Courtney Sweetman-Kirk, but her effort was gathered easily by Brosnan and that was the end of that.
Liverpool finally got another point, and a goal from play! While they remain in the relegation zone, their performances seem to finally be paying off, even if little by little.