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Liverpool FC Women 1, Bristol City 1: Reds Struggle To A Frustrating Draw

Bristol City made life difficult for the Reds, and even went ahead in the 50th minute. Liverpool equalized, but struggled to create and finish off chances.

Liverpool FC v Bristol City - Barclays Women´s Super League Photo by Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images

Liverpool 1 - 1 Bristol City

Liverpool: Roman Haug 57’
Bristol City: Thestrup 50’

Pre-Match

The Liverpool FC Women return from the December international break for a last few matches before the winter break. The Reds are looking to build on their big win over Brighton just before the break and continue to pile up points against teams below them in the table. Newly promoted Bristol City come into the match bottom of the table, but have shown they can be tough to play against. Several former LFC players are in the Bristol City squad, including Amy Rodgers and Amelie Thestrup. Rachel Furness has been good for Bristol City, but is not included in the squad today.

Matt Beard stays with the same team that won 4-0 against Brighton. Teagan Micah retains the starting gloves for the second match in a row, and Shanice van de Sanden gets another opportunity to start up top alongside Sophie Roman Haug. Young attacker Mia Enderby is out of the squad as she recovers from a minor concussion.

First Half

Liverpool have struggled to get hold of the ball in the opening five minutes, but have shown a threat on the counter. Two moves see the ball taken from defense to attack in short order with both Taylor Hinds and Shanice van de Sanden fashioning shooting chances from outside the box. Hinds’ effort is off target, and van de Sanden has her shot blocked.

Bristol City earn a free kick high up on Liverpool’s left wing. Liverpool deal with the set piece delivery and clear the ball forward with Shanice van de Sanden looking like she is away with pace. The clearance deflects off the referee, however, and she calls play back for a drop ball, killing the counter.

Liverpool get the ball forward and Marie Höbinger lifts an enticing diagonal ball to the back post. Sophie Roman Haug makes the run to get onto the end of it, but Olivia Clark bravely comes out to challenge for the ball to keep it out. There is a collision as the players both went for the ball and Clark stays down for treatment, but is thankfully able to continue.

Fuka Nagano plays a loose pass in the attacking third and Bristol City recover the ball and immediately start to counter. Taylor Hinds takes a professional foul to stop the counter near midfield and his shown a yellow card.

While Liverpool have certainly grown into the match and seen more of the possession, Bristol City have proven to be quite scrappy. They have forced the Reds into some awkward defending, including Gemma Bonner putting a very good delivery from Amy Rodgers behind while facing her own goal.

Taylor Hinds shows good strength and footwork to hold the ball on the left wing and draws a foul. Marie Höbinger sends the free kick in, and it is flicked on to the back post by Jenna Clark. The ball runs just past the post before Sophie Roman Haug can get on the end of it.

Liverpool get a spell of possession as the first half draws to a close and send several crosses into the box in quick succession, looking for the head of Sophie Roman Haug. Grace Fisk is finally able to connect, but Roman Haug’s header is from near the top of the box and doesn’t have enough power to trouble Olivia Clark in goal.

The first half peters out and the squads head in to warm up in the dressing rooms. Liverpool struggled to get their dynamic midfielders involved in the first half as Bristol City did well to clog up the center of the pitch to cut off passing lanes and win the majority of the second balls. The back five of Bristol City have also made it difficult for Shanice van de Sanden to get in behind in more dangerous areas.

Second Half

Just a minute into the second half and Gemma Bonner goes into the book. She was a half beat too late as she put her foot in to make a tackle a few yards outside of the Liverpool box. Bristol City put the free kick in and Teagan Micah is forced to punch it clear. Bristol City regains possession and forces a corner kick. This time the Reds deal with the set piece and clear the zone.

Bristol City continue to make life difficult for Liverpool and keep winning the ball back and getting the ball into the box. Liverpool struggle to clear the ball fully and Abi Harrison gets a shot away from the top of the box. The shot is scuffed but it ends up coming all the way through to Amelie Thestrup at the back post, and the former Liverpool player redirects the ball into the goal to give Bristol City the 1-0 lead in the 50th minute.

Matt Beard wastes no time making changes after going down a goal with Melissa Lawley brought on for Emma Koivisto. With the substitutions, Liverpool change to a 4-3-3 formation with Grace Fisk at right back.

GOAL LIVERPOOL! The change in formation sees the Reds playing much more positively. Just a few minutes after coming on, Melissa Lawley releases Taylor Hinds down the left wing, and the captain sends a fantastic cross into the box. Sophie Roman Haug flies in to head the ball past the keeper from close range to tie the match up 1-1!

Liverpool are piling on the pressure now. Taylor Hinds earns a corner kick in the 60th minute after another good attack from the Reds. Höbinger sends a good ball in, and it is met by Jenna Clark before deflecting off of a defender and the ball loops just over the ball for another corner. This time, Höbinger’s delivery somehow flies through the box untouched and runs out for a goal kick.

With Liverpool in the ascendency and chasing a match winner, Matt Beard brings in fresh legs. Leanne Kiernan and Missy Bo Kearns enter the fray for Shanice van de Sanden and Marie Höbinger. Room opened up for van de Sanden after the change to the 4-3-3 formation, so Kiernan should have room to exploit.

HUGE save by Teagan Micah. A hopeful ball into the box for Bristol City bounces past a Liverpool defender and ends up with Abi Harrison. The striker gets a strong shot away but Micah gets down well to parry the ball away at the near post.

Melissa Lawley has been a live wire on the ball since coming on. She drives forward with the ball in the 69th minute and carries it into the box. She looks to sneak a ball through on goal, but it is blocked by a defender. Lawley gets another touch to the ball and it this time deflects to Missy Bo Kearns, but she can’t really get anything on the ball.

There is a break in play with a little over 10 minutes left in regular match play after Leanne Kiernan takes a knock. She’s ok and able to continue after a couple of minutes.

Matt Beard makes two final changes as the Reds chase all three points. Lucy Parry comes in for Grace Fisk as a more attacking right back, and Ceri Holland is withdrawn for Sophie Lundgaard.

Right after the subs come on, Bristol City take the ball off of Liverpool and attack down the right with Amelie Thestrup. She plays a fantastic low cross in that just evades the Bristol City attackers in the box.

Lucy Parry steams forward from a deep position, somehow carrying the ball past several Bristol City players as she worded forward on the touch line. She eventually loses out and Bristol City start their own attack. Parry gets back, but is called for a foul as she breaks up the play.

There will be seven minutes of extra time. Both teams are pushing hard for a match winner, and the match has really opened up.

Liverpool with a good spell of possession on the left sees Missy Bo Kearns play a good reverse pass to Melissa Lawley. The Wing Wizard gets into the box and puts a dangerous cross in that is just turned behind for a corner.

The ball comes in from Missy Bo Kearns, and Liverpool keep possession. The ball eventually comes back to Kearns, and she hits a good shot that is just tipped over the crossbar for another corner. This time the delivery is low and touched out just ahead of the front post for ANOTHER corner. The Reds look to get a shot off, but the ball is scuffed out for a goal kick.

Liverpool can not find a way through in extra time and the match ends 1-1.

Final Thoughts

Bristol City made themselves very difficult to play against, but Liverpool also struggled to move the ball as they usually do with some uncharacteristically poor passing. A point at home against the bottom side coming into the match will certainly feel like points dropped for the Reds.

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