The Liverpool FC Women kicked off their second cup competition of the season, taking on the Lincoln City Imps in the fourth round of the FA Vitality Women’s Cup. Lincoln City sit in fourth place in the fourth division of the pyramid. Matt Beard took the opportunity to rotate his side as Liverpool finished out their busy January.
Charlotte Clarke got her home debut in net since signing in December, giving Rachael Laws a break. Charlotte Wardlaw came in for Razza Roberts at right wing back, and exciting young prospect Hannah Silcock joined Leighanne Robe and Meikayla Moore in the back three. Taylor Hinds, who has been sensational this season, captained the side for the first time from her left wing back position.
Ceri Holland returned from time out from covid to partner with Jaide Bailey in midfield. Leanne Kiernan and Katie Stengel were given another opportunity to start together up top, and were joined by Carla Humphrey to round out the front three.
Liverpool started the match out on the attack, with Katie Stengel laying the ball off to Carla Humprey at the top of the box, but Humphrey’s shot went just over the bar. A minute later, Taylor Hinds drove down the left wing with the ball and sent in a tantalizing cross, but the ball evaded everyone as it flashed across the face of goal.
Still just five minutes into the match, Liverpool generated another great chance. This time Taylor Hinds dropped the ball to Meikayla Moore on the left side of the pitch, and the Kiwi sent a wonderful diagonal ball to the back post, where Charlotte Wardlaw made an attacking run, but her header went just wide of the post.
The game settled down as Liverpool dominated the ball, but struggled to find the final pass as Lincoln City defended bravely deep in their own half. The Reds showed some nice interplay in tight spaces, playing some quick 1-2s, and also showed off their signature diagonal balls to the wing backs as they pushed up the pitch.
In the 20th minute, Taylor Hinds and a Lincoln City player clashed heads as they both challenged for a header. Thankfully both players were ok and able to continue. Hinds immediately got back into the thick of it, racing back to break up a potential counterattack.
Liverpool came close to opening the scoring again in the 25th minute. The Reds earned a corner kick, and Taylor Hinds sent in a driven inswinger to the far post. Leanne Kiernan met the ball with a strong header going back across goal, but the ball flashed wide of the far post.
Just a minute later, Liverpool had the ball cleared off the line from yet another corner. This time it was Carla Humprhey sending the ball in from the left side, and the inswinger hit off of a defender, and almost bounced in before being scrambled off the line.
Katie Stengel showed some great hold up play around the Lincoln City box on several occasions. She dropped a ball back to Leighanne Robe in the 28th minute, and the ball was sent to Carla Humphrey on the right wing. Humprhey cut inside and cut the ball back into the box for the run of Ceri Holland, but the Welshwoman’s shot flew just over the bar.
A minute later Leanner Kiernan met a header from close range in the center of the box, but the ball flicked off of the bar and then out for a goal kick.
Lincoln City made a rare foray forward, working the ball from the right flank to the left. Charlotte Clarke made a sharp save at the near post in her first action of the night.
Liverpool again somehow failed to put the ball in the net from close range. After some great high pressing from Leanne Kiernan, Liverpool moved the ball around the top of the box. Carla Humprhey sent a ball in towards the back post were Kiernan headed it back into the center of the box. Charlotte Wardlaw was there to meet the ball as she slid in, but popped the ball over the crossbar from just a few yards out.
Liverpool were denied twice at the goalmouth in the span of 30 seconds in the 37th minute, with Carla Humphrey serving the ball up both times. She sent in a corner that was met by the head of Leighanne Robe, but the ball caromed off of the crossbar. Liverpool retained possession of the ball, and worked it to Katie Stengel on the right side of the goal where the American showed some nice footwork to get the space off for a shot from close range, but it was again saved just off of the line.
Liverpool finally broke through in the 39th minute, and again it came off of a Carla Humphrey delivery. Leanne Kiernan won a free kick on the right flank, and Humphrey sent a brilliant ball to the far post. Leighanne Robe made a run and rose to meet the ball with a powerful header into the net! It was Robe’s first goal for Liverpool.
Leanne Kiernan almost doubled Liverpool’s lead a couple of minutes later. Katie Stengel again showed some nifty footwork on the right, and sent a good ball into the center of the box to meet the run of Leanne Kiernan. The Irishwoman flicked the header towards the far post, but it again just evaded the goal.
Liverpool did double their lead just before halftime, and it was the combination of Humprhey and Robe yet again! Liverpool earned a corner on the left, and Humphrey sent in yet another dangerous inswinger to the back post where it was met by Leighanne Robe with yet another thumping header.
As the clock ticked into extra time in the first half, Liverpool got a third goal. Charlotte Wardlaw got the ball just inside the Lincoln City half on the right side, and sent in a delightful diagonal ball to Katie Stengel at the top of the box. The American chested the ball down as she turned and blasted a volley past the keeper!
Liverpool got the second half started with a quick attack. Leanne Kiernan carried the ball down the right flank and sent in a dangerous cross. Carla Humprhey made the run, but the Lincoln City keeper claimed the ball just ahead of her.
Young Hannah Silcock read a counterattack well, beating a Lincoln City player to the ball. Silcock was tackled from behind awkwardly, and went down clutching her ankle, but was able to continue after a moment down on the turf.
Leighanne Robe almost completed her hat trick in the 54th minute off of yet another corner. This time Taylor Hinds sent in an outswinger, and Robe met the ball with a strong header that rebounded back off of the crossbar. Liverpool kept control of the ball and sent it back out to Taylor Hinds, who played a delicate cross to the head of Katie Stengel, but the American put her header just wide of the near post.
Liverpool got their fourth goal in the 55th minute thanks to some calamitous goalkeeping. Meikayla Moore got the ball on the right flank, and sent a high ball into the Lincoln City box. The ball bounced before anyone could reach it, and the Lincoln City keeper misjudged the ball as it bounced over her head and into the box. Moore didn’t celebrate the goal given the keeper error involved.
Liverpool put in an absolute assault on the Lincoln City goal in the 60th minute. Hannah Silcock put the ball off the post from a corner, followed up by the ball being sent back into Katie Stengel, who had her post come back off of the post as well. Liverpool continued to put pressure on goal during the sequence, and were awarded a penalty when Carla Humprey was taken down in the box. Leighanne Robe stepped up to take it completed her hat trick by smashing the ball down the middle!
Liverpool made their first changes after the penalty. Rachel Furness entering for Hannah Silcock, and Yana Daniels came on for Taylor Hinds.
Leanne Kiernan was denied yet again in the 65th minute. Rachel Furness sent in a corner kick from the left, and Kiernan took the ball down and hit it to the far post. A defender raced across the line and just managed to get a foot to it to keep it from crossing over the line and into the goal.
Missy Bo Kearns entered the fray for Leanne Kiernan in the 72nd minute. Hat trick hero Leighanne Robe went off to an ovation as Razza Roberts came on for her.
Liverpool got their sixth goal in the 77th minute after some fantastic ball movement. It all started on the right side of defense, with Liverpool playing quick passes inside and back out to move the ball down the flank with lightning speed, including a cheeky back heel from Rachel Furness. The ball came to Charlotte Wardlaw just inside the right side of the box, and she unleashed a rocket to beat the keeper.
Nimah Fahey came on to replace Ceri Holland in the 81st minute. Holland put in a great shift in her return to action after missing a couple of games due to covid.
Missy Bo Kearns showed off her close control, twisting and turning down the right and into the box. She squared a ball the went just behind one Liverpool attacker, and just ahead of another as it rolled clear. Just a minute later, she popped up outside the top of the box, controlling a bouncing ball and creating a bit of space to get a shot off, but her low driven effort was well saved by the Lincoln City keeper, pushing it just past the post.
Liverpool made a few more forays forward as they controlled the end of the game, and the referee blew for full time. The Reds will advance to the fifth round of the FA Vitality Women’s cup after their 6-0 win. Liverpool will return to league play next Sunday when they host Coventry United.