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Beard Report: “The Most Important Thing Was The Three Points”

The Liverpool FC Women’s manager was very happy with the effort from his team to keep the winning streak going and keep pressure on Durham

Liverpool Women v Aston Villa Women - FA Women’s Continental Tyres League Cup Photo by Lewis Storey/Getty Images

After a slow start to the season, the Liverpool FC Women’s team have gone on an absolute tear. On Sunday, the Reds rattled off their seventh straight victory, winning 2-0 over a very solid Lewes FC side. It was a very solid performance, especially on the attacking end of the pitch. With another three points in hand, Liverpool stayed abreast of Durham, who sit two points ahead of Liverpool at the top of the table.

“It was another good win for us, a clean sheet as well and we could have won it by a lot more,” said manager Matt Beard after the match.

“But you could see at the end we were starting to tire as we’ve had 12 players away on international duty and apart from two of them, the others played two lots of 90 minutes. So, the most important thing was the three points and keeping up the pressure on Durham.”

Liverpool saw both goals finished off by Leanne Kiernan. The Irishwoman has rounded into sizzling form, having scored six goals in her last four games. She also worked her socks off, chasing down every loose ball and starting the press high up the pitch.

“Leanne has a great personality,” said Beard of the goalscorer. “She works so hard for the team and has been working so hard on her finishing in training, and she’s getting the rewards for it. You look at her second goal and it was a calm and clever finish – I’ve actually seen her do that before for me. But I’m just glad she’s getting goals and she fully deserved them today.”

While Kiernan has been red hot in front of net, several other players had opportunities to ice the game but struggled with the final touch. Midfielders Bo Kearns and Ceri Holland probably had the best of the rest of the chances, though Yana Daniels and Georgia Walters also found themselves in spots to knock the ball home.

“When you are dominant like that and create that many chances, you need to take them,” said Beard.

“Missy Bo had a one-v-one situation and missed another good chance. Ceri Holland was clean through as well and their goalkeeper made an unbelievable save to deny Leanne a hat-trick. Lewes are a good side and 2-0 is always a vulnerable scoreline but we got the three points, which is the main thing.”

On the other end of the pitch, it was touch and go more than a few times as Lewes exhibited some fantastic ball movement of their own. Thanks to some good shot stopping by Rachael Laws, and some luck as both the crossbar and a post denied potential goals, Liverpool were able to preserve the clean sheet.

“I said to Lawsy after the game that she was world-class,” Beard revealed. “Her distribution was absolutely fantastic and, to be fair, it was touch and go whether she was going to play today. She trained for the first time on Saturday after hurting her hand on the Tuesday, but what a performance.”

It’s interesting to hear that Rachael Laws almost missed out. Rylee Foster is out for an undetermined amount of time due to injuries sustained from a car crash over the international break, so the only other keeper in the team is young loanee Katie Startup. With a midweek Continental Cup match against Sheffield United, Startup and several other reserve players are likely to see time as Beard focuses on winning the sole promotion spot in the league.

“We will rotate the players for this game,” Beard said of the cup match. “We have got a lot of games coming up in the next few weeks and we have to protect the players. We will need all of our squad, so we look forward to Wednesday and hopefully we can give a good account of ourselves.”

You can watch the highlights of the 2-0 victory over Lewes FC on the FA Player (free account required). The match against Sheffield United does not look like it will be televised, though there is a chance that it will be shown on Sheffield United TV.