The Liverpool FC Women hosted Bristol City at Prenton Park, with both teams coming in with a win and a loss to start the season. It was a familiar foe for Matt Beard and several of his current Liverpool players. Beard was the interim manager for Bristol City in the WSL for the second half of last season. Players like Jasmine Matthews and and Yana Daniels followed Beard from the club to join Liverpool this season.
Unfortunately there was no way to watch the match other than in person. The LFCTV crew was deployed with the Men’s team as they traveled to Leeds, and apparently the Women’s side doesn’t rate having their own crew. Thankfully Caoimhe O’Neill from The Athletic was there to cover the match, and she provided real time updates via twitter.
At Prenton Park for Liverpool Women vs Bristol City.— Caoimhe O'Neill (@CaoimheSport) September 12, 2021
Kick-off is at 2pm. Updates to follow. pic.twitter.com/7G2clndB5U
Liverpool started the match with the same line up as they had against Watford the week before. Both Ceri Holland and Melissa Lawley were fit enough to play despite picking up knocks last week. Rachael Laws and Jade Bailey returned from injuries in the opening game to make the bench for the Reds.
The first half opened with neither team able to establish any dominance over the match. Both sides struggled to create clear cut chances until midway through the half.
First, Bristol City forced Rylee Foster into a save on a shot from Aimee Palmer. Shortly after, Liverpool earned a corner kick, which was taken by Bo Kearns. The delivery fell to Leanne Kiernan, but Liverpool’s number 9 sent her shot wide of the post.
Foster was called into action a couple of more times in the first half, saving a free kick from Palmer before holding a shot from Melissa Johnson.
Melissa Lawley continued her good run of form, making several runs down the left flank, making here way through the Bristol City team. She managed to get off a shot and a couple of crosses from those runs, but they were all cut out by the Bristol City defense.
Bo Kearns again almost set up Leanne Kiernen from a corner kick. Kiernan had a chance to tap it in from close range, but couldn’t convert.
Kiernan almost opened the scoring, getting through on goal, but Fran Bentley came flying out of her net to block the shot. Charlotte Wardlaw collected the rebound, but her shot was blocked by a defender.
Bo Kearns had one last opportunity at the end of the first half, but her shot didn’t dip quite enough and hit the top of the net.
Liverpool continued to create some chances in the second half, with the danger again coming from Leanne Kiernan. The Irishwoman was put through on goal by Charlotte Wardlaw, but Fran Bentley was able to get down to save the toe poke before it could squeeze under her.
Bristol City took aim at the Liverpool goal next. Rylee Foster make a near post save on a shot from Abi Harrison.
Liverpool used their set piece ability to create another chance. Kearns sent in another corner that fell to Ceri Holland, but the midfielder scuffed her shot.
Ahsley Hodson was brought into the fray in the 65th minute. It was Hodson’s 116th appearance for Liverpool breaking the previous record held by Gemma Bonner.
Hodson almost provided an immediate impact, running through on goal. Bristol City’s stellar keeper, Fran Bentley, was again equal to the task, keeping the ball out of the net.
In the 75th minute, Matt Beard brought on Rachel Furness and Yana Daniels to replace Ceri Holland and Melissa Lawley. It was Daniels’ first game action for Liverpool since returning to the club this summer.
Just a few minutes later, Liverpool were reduced to 10 players after captain Niamh Fahey was given her second yellow card of the game. Liverpool didn’t sit back in a shell and continued to push forward to find a game winner.
Bristol City looked to exploit the extra space on the field, and almost broke through just minutes from full time. Simran Jhamat received a square pass with a clean look at goal, but she wasn’t able to convert.
Liverpool won a free kick in the 89th minute hoping to earn a last gasp winner. Brooke Aspin was given a yellow card, either for infringing on the free kick (according to the LFC recap) or for handling the ball (according to Caoimhe O’Neill). Either way, she was also sent off, leaving both teams with 10 players.
Liverpool has one last chance as Yana Daniels carried the ball into the box. She went down under pressure, but the referee felt it was not enough for a penalty and blew the whistle for full time.
Liverpool now sit in eight place in the FA Women’s Championship on four points. They are, however, only three points behind Sunderland at the top of the table. Liverpool’s doesn’t play again until September 26th, when they will host Crystal Palace.