Matt Beard named a very first team squad for the cup match, likely in an effort to get his squad sharp ahead of an important fixture against Manchester City next weekend. Sophie Roman Haug was the only notable absentee, and a surprise one at that after not being listed on the injury list ahead of the match. Gemma Bonner returned from a concussion to step into the starting lineup while Niamh Fahey and Jasmine Matthews also bolstered the defense from the bench in a return from injury.
Despite the strong lineup, Liverpool struggled to get into the flow of the match in the early going. Some sloppy play in Liverpool’s own half gifted Bristol City opportunities. The Reds were able to get their defensive shape after turnovers and largely limited the home side to half chances.
Melissa Lawley began to see more of the ball as the first half wore on, but the tricky winger was not able to connect with anyone with her crosses. The absence of Sophie Roman-Haug in the middle was certainly missed.
Mia Enderby was replaced by Natasha Flint to start the second half as Matt Beard looked to provide more of a presence in the box.
Liverpool were dealt a tough blow in the 60th minute when midfield stalwart Ceri Holland was sent off for her second bookable offense after going in late on Carrie Jones. Holland was also carded in the first half for a shirt tug to break up a counter.
Despite being down a player, manager Matt Beard decided to make an offensive change. Midfielder Missy Bo Kearns was brought on in place of defender Grace Fisk in the 66th minute. The move proved to pay dividends for the Reds almost 20 minutes later.
Liverpool earned a corner kick, which Kearns stepped up to take. Her delivery was a good one, and the ball dropped to the feet of Gemma Bonner to smash in for the go ahead goal in the 85th minute.
The Reds put forth a good defensive effort under immense pressure as Bristol City pushed for an equalizer. Bonner and defensive substitute Jasmine Matthews came up with some key blocks to deny shots on target late in the match and see the Reds on to a victory!
With the win, Liverpool will advance to the 5th round of the FA Women’s Cup. Matt Beard and co will learn their next opponent when the draw occurs on Monday.