Monday, 2 May 2016

Notts County 3 v Liverpool 2 - FA Women's Super League

Monday 2nd May 2016
FA Women's Super League
at Meadow Lane, Nottingham
Notts County (2) 3
Ellen White 13, 59
Jess Clarke 34
Liverpool (0) 2
Katie Zelem 85 pen, 87
Admission £6. Programme £2. Attendance 1407
Ladies Academy poster opposite NCFC entrance with NFFC in background
Notts County
Telford; Buet, Bradley-Auckland (Krantz 46), F Whelan, Turner; Clarke, Bassett, James, Crichton; White, Yankey (Luik 74). Subs not used: Walsh, A Whelan, Hassall, O'Neill.
Chamberlain; Harding, Bonner, van den Berg, Pacheco (Greenwood 64); Coombs, Ingle; Zelem; van de Sanden, Weir (Longhurst 74), White (Lundh 64). Subs not used: Gibbons, Hodson, Murray.
Surprisingly this was County's first win in their opening four games. 
I say surprisingly, because with players of the calibre of Jess Clarke and Rachel Yankey (currently on loan from Arsenal), terrorising opposition defences down both flanks, while providing a consistent service of quality openings for England striker Ellen White, they're not going to finish many games without having scored like they did at Manchester City in March.
Prior to kick off their was a minutes applause held, by way of a tribute to the Liverpool fans who have fought for justice since April 1989, for the supporters who died as a consequence of the Hillsborough disaster.
At half time, with the 'Lady Pies', as they call themselves, looking good for all three points and sitting on a very comfortable 2-0 lead and seemingly in control of the game, nobody could have predicted the kind of second half that actually unfolded, when Liverpool had a delayed real go at salvaging a point... and they very nearly did too, as Notts were made to hang on for dear life towards the end of the game. 
Liverpool started well enough, with Rosie White going close twice, with Carly Telford needing to sprint out of her area to clear the ball when the visitors number 13 chased after a long pass that had caught the Magpies defence flat footed, while at the other end Sophie Ingle was on hand to hook Clarke's cross away from in front of Siobhan Chamberlain's goal, after the tricky winger had swapped flanks momentarily and got in behind the Reds defence.
The home side took the lead on 13 minutes through Ellen White, when Rachel Yankey put the ball on a plate for her with a great delivery from out on the left hand side of the field.
With the bit between their teeth, Notts upped the ante and Leanne Chrichton shot over, after Liverpool had made hard work of clearing a through ball from Clarke and at the third attempt, could only hook it as far away as Chrichton.
Yankey played a short pass down the left flank to Fern Whelan, who dragged two defenders out of position before knocking a return ball back to Yankee, who dropped a teasing cross towards the back stick, where Clarke couldn't quite get a clean contact and she scuffed her shot off target.
But Clarke atoned for her miss in the 34th minute, when she won the ball from Mandy van den Berg on the right hand side of the area, skipped past her and curled a great left footed shot into the opposite top corner of the goal.
Liverpool's captain Gemma Bonner realised that this game was slipping away and as County took their places in anticipation of the restart, she summoned her entire team to the middle of pitch, where they held a group huddle and refocusing session.
The crowd were whipping up an atmosphere, but remind me not to sit in front of the guy with a drum when I'm here with Birmingham City Ladies next week... and both sets of fans sang the "Justice for the 96" song in unison.
Sophie Bradley- Auckland collided with the left hand post as she arrived a split second after Chamberlain had caught another cross into the six yard box from Yankey, but thankfully she was able to play on... and in first half stoppage time she was back in defence, blocking Emma Lundh's shot from Shanice van de Sanden's left wing cross.
HT: Notts County 2 v Liverpool 0
Liverpool were thrown a lifeline when Amy Turner fouled van de Sanden inside the Pies area, but Caroline Weir thumped the resulting spot kick well over, while Notts increased their lead from their very next attack, when Ellen White raced through a gap in the visitors back four and clipped home an angled shot.
So, 3-0 up at home after a hour, the opposition have just missed a penalty and despite the rain, it was turning out to be a very pleasant afternoon for County's Ladies... or so you'd have thought.
But the Liver Birds (I'm damn sure that they don't actually call themselves that), weren't prepared to chuck the towel in and though they were probably only playing for pride now, they had plenty of it as they set about finding some kind of consolation.
Amy Turner tripped Emma Lundh as she moved in on the Lady Pies goal and in doing so conceded another penalty, which Katie Zelem dispatched without any fuss, before claiming a second goal just two minutes later, to set up a nervy finish for Notts.
This certainly hadn't been on the cards only a short while ago.
But try as they might, Liverpool couldn't force a third goal as County held on to take all three points, from an highly entertaining game. Nobody could say that they hadn't had their money's worth this afternoon.
FT: Notts County Ladies 3 v Liverpool Ladies 2