Liverpool entered the game with Lewes FC looking to get back up to second in the table in the FA Women’s Championship. With three weeks between their last game, a 2-1 loss to Leicester City, the Reds were able to get both Rinsola Babajide and Taylor Hinds back to health and into the starting line up. Amalie Thestrup was preferred up top to Jess Clarke.
Lewes FC, the hosts for the match, came in level with Liverpool on points after a 0-0 draw with Sheffield United their last match out. The host field, wonderfully named the Dripping Pan, looked to be a bit soggy in patches, and there was a considerable breeze blowing.
The game started as an end to end affair, with both teams looking to launch quick counter attacks. Both teams struggled to get much fluidity for the first 15 minutes or so, with some poor passing from both defenses leading to turnovers in dangerous areas, but no real danger was created.
Liverpool began to take hold of the game, moving the ball up the left flank with Taylor Hinds and Rinsola Babajide creating constant threats. Jade Bailey was a constant outlet for the ball in the middle of the pitch, and did a lot of dirty work to break up attacks coming the other way. Babajide created the opening goal in the 26th minute after receiving the ball on the left flank and fizzing a low cross into the six yard box. Amalie Thestrup made a sliding effort to reach the ball after a great late run. It’s unclear of Thestrup or the defender got the last touch on the ball, but the Danish attacker was credited with the goal.
While Liverpool managed to take control of the game, they still showed themselves to be vulnerable to counter attacks from deep. Georgia Timms and Katie Rood were able to break loose several times, but Liverpool’s defense was able to marshal them away from goal until the 44th minute. Rood received a through ball as she ran the channel between two Liverpool defenders. Taylor Hinds wasn’t able to recover enough to herd Rood away from goal, and the Lewes attacker hit a low shot from the right side of the penalty area that slid just under the onrushing Rachael Laws to tie the game up.
Liverpool continued to dominate the game after the break, with Melissa Lawley becoming more and more influential on the right side to go with the dynamism of Babajide on the left. The two combined in the 59th minute for a beautiful goal. Lawless used some nifty footwork and close control to dance inside with the ball from the right flank before lifting a delicate ball across the Babajide. Liverpool’s number 10 controlled the ball with a deft chest trap before rifling a volley past the keeper.
Liverpool amped up the pressure, looking to kill the game off. Amalie Thestrup won the ball high up the pitch and lifted the ball over the onrushing keeper, but the chip glance off of the far post.
It was Lewes, unfortunately, who managed to get the next goal. Liverpool again failed to deal with a counter attack, and had to tuck the ball behind. The resulting corner kick was whipped into a mass of bodies in the box, and Rachael Laws was not able to get a hand on the ball before it fell onto the head of Ellie Hack to nod into the net.
Lewes used their momentum after the goal to keep the pressure on. Georgia Timms saw an effort carom off the post before Jess Clarke entered the game for Liverpool. The Reds managed several long range efforts, but nothing that managed to make it on frame before the final whistle blew.
Over all, Liverpool controlled much of the game and will likely be frustrated not to leave with all three points. While the attack does a pretty good job of creating opportunities, there are still too many wayward passes from defenders hitting balls with their head down, leading to turnovers. And yet again, the offensive unit that seems to show the best cohesion (Babajide, Clarke, and Lawley with Furness in support) only got 10 minutes together.
As far as positives go, Rinsola Babajide, Taylor Hinds, Jade Bailey, and Melissa Lawley all played very well for Liverpool. Rachel Furness got more involved late in the game, but wasn’t able to work any of her usual magic to bag a winner.
With the draw, Liverpool slide up to third in the table on goal differential. They sit three points behind co-leaders Sheffield United and Durham. Liverpool will take on Sheffield United at Prenton Park next weekend after a midweek cup match against Manchester City.