The Liverpool FC Women traveled to the midlands to take on Coventry United at the Butts Park Arena (seriously) in the FA Women’s Championship. Liverpool started the game 6th place in the table after defeating Crystal Palace the previous weekend. Coventry United came into the game winless on the season sitting in the 11th spot in the table, but earned their first draw against London City in their last match.
Matt Beard named an unchanged side for the match, going with the 3-4-3 alignment that produced some nice attacking play down the wings last weekend. Leighanne Robe, playing in the middle of the three center backs, earned her 50th appearance for the Reds. Rianna Dean was still out with injury.
Both teams struggled to control the ball early in the match as it bounced around on the artificial turf. Melissa Lawley looked to be set up on the right side of the attacking three this week, with Ashley Hodson on the left. They were switched to start the match last week.
Jasmine Matthews made a run forward deep into the Coventry United half and was fouled 25 yards out. Taylor Hinds drove the free kick into the box, but no Liverpool player was able to get onto the end of it. Liverpool kept the ball in the attacking zone, but could only put the ball out for a goal kick from a cross.
Liverpool kept the pressure up, earning a corner kick in the 7th minute. Bo Kearns whipped the delivery into a very dangerous area, but Coventry United managed to scramble it out for another corner. Kearns again put the ball into a great spot, but Meikayla Moore’s shot was deflected out for yet another corner. Coventry United managed to clear the third corner all the way to Rachael Laws in the Liverpool net.
Close from Liverpool! The Reds break out from the back, with Taylor Hinds springing Ashley Hodson down the left flank. Hodson cut the ball back, then played it to the overlapping Ceri Holland. The Wesh international carried the ball to the left side of the box and sent a great low cross to Melissa Lawley, who’s first time shot flashed just wide of the near post.
Liverpool again came close to scoring from a corner. Kearns provided a deep delivery from the left hand side, sending the inswinger to the back post. Leanne Kiernan raced in to meet the ball, but the angle was too tight and her shot went into the side netting.
Liverpool were getting plenty of joy down the left flank. Melissa Lawley, now stationed on the left side, took a pass from Taylor Hinds and drove with the ball to the end line. Her cut back got into the center of the box, but Coventry United were able to scramble it away. The hosts then came back the other way and Mollie Green got off a long range shot that was comfortably held by Rachael Laws.
Liverpool again come close! Meikayla Moore played a sensational crossfield diagonal ball to Taylor Hinds on the left flank. Hinds quickly settled the ball and sent a cross to the far post, but a Coventry United defender got just enough of a head on the ball to turn it wide of the post.
Just moments later, Coventry United were reduced to 10 players. Leanned Kiernan got to the wrong side of Grace Riglar, who had little choice but to bring her down as she was through on goal. There was another defender trying to get back, but referee produced the red card for denial of a goal scoring opportunity, and Liverpool had a free kick from 25 yards out. Bo Kearns got the ball over the wall and back down, but the Coventry United keeper did well to get down to save the ball.
Liverpool continued to pile on the pressure with the player advantage as the half wound down, but couldn’t find a way through as Coventry United settled into a defensive shell. The half finished with both sides even.
Liverpool made two changes at the half. Naimh Fahey and Yana Daniels came on for Meikayla Moore and Ashley Hodson respectively. Liverpool got the second half underway, this time heading into the stiff wind. The Reds quickly moved the ball to Taylor Hinds in an advanced spot on the left wing, but the ball ran just over the endline before she could cut the ball back.
Liverpool again put the pressure on Coventry United. Melissa Lawley won a corner on the right, which Bo Kearns put into the mix. The ball bounced around before Jasmine Matthews hit a low shot that the keeper got down to save.
Leanne Kiernan again used her speed to cause trouble for the Coventry United back line. Her touch sent the ball just a hair too long as she charged into the box, and keeper Olivia Clark came out quickly to slide in and smother the ball before the Liverpool attacker could get a shot off.
Coventry United fashioned a chance on the other end as Liverpool failed to clear a ball in the box. The ball bounced around with several Coventry United players lurking, but the Reds finally managed to whack the ball clear of the area.
Liverpool made another sub at the 58 minute mark. Matt Beard sent on Rachel Furness for Ceri Holland in midfield.
Charlotte Wardlaw came close to opening her account for Liverpool in the 64th minute. The young right wing back ended up on the left side of the field to receive a ball from Jasmine Matthews. She turned and hit a hard shot that Olivia Clark parried around the near post for yet another Liverpool corner kick. Clark again came up big on the corner coming into a crowd of players to claim the ball.
Matt Beard again went to his bench to keep the legs fresh in midfield. This time it was Carla Humphrey coming on for Bo Kearns.
Liverpool broke through in the 68th minute through a brilliant diving header from Leanne Kiernan! Rachel Furness won the ball back at the edge of the Coventry United box, and immediately carried the ball past a defender down the left flank. She sent a driven cross into the box, which was met by the stooping Kiernan. who powered the ball past the helpless keeper! It was Kiernan’s first goal for Liverpool.
Liverpool almost doubled their lead just moments later. This time it was Kiernan providing to Furness. Kiernan held the ball on the left side of the box, then cut the ball back to an onrushing Furness, who’s low, driven shot was barely saved by Olivia Clark.
Leanne Kiernan scored again for Liverpool in the 73rd minute! Leanne Robe strode forward with the ball from defense through midfield and played a simple pass to the striker. Kiernan made a fabulous turn to lose her marker, kept the ball close to carry it past the keeper, then slotted the ball into the empty net!
Leanne Kiernan was given a standing ovation from the Liverpool fans in attendance as she was subbed off in the 78th minute after scoring her brace. Georgia Walters came on in her place.
Liverpool continued to apply the pressure to add to their two goal lead, but were unable to find any clear opportunities. The match finished with Liverpool earning their second consecutive win. The Reds moved up into the third spot in the table, tied with both Sheffield United (second) and London City (fourth). Liverpool will take on Sheffield United next weekend.