'Late goal could be a season-defining moment'

Matt Beard column'Late goal could be a season-defining moment'

Published 17th March 2022

In his latest column, Liverpool FC Women manager Matt Beard reflects on the dramatic late win against Charlton Athletic Women and previews Sunday's home game against the same side.

It was a big win for us last Sunday when Jasmine Matthews scored a brilliant late header and it maintains our seven-point lead at the top of the FA Women’s Championship.

We had two tough back-to-back games in London against London City Lionesses and Charlton Athletic Women. I changed our system against Charlton because we felt we were a little bit too open against London City.

Charlton do like to play but they can also be quite direct as well, so we just wanted to have that extra midfield player in there, but when we made changes in the second half with Melissa Lawley and Charlotte Wardlaw coming on the game opened up for us.

Mel has been brilliant. She didn’t start because I made a tactical change to our system but she had a massive influence on the game for us and made a big difference. She can be difficult to defend against one-v-one.

The way we finished the game, I always felt there was only going to be one winner. Taylor Hinds had a good chance, Yana Daniels had a good effort well saved, and then we scored from the corner. I felt we finished the stronger of the two sides.

Highlights: Charlton Athletic 0-1 Liverpool FC Women

The important thing for me from these last two away games was to make sure we didn’t lose them, and we have taken four points. We could have quite easily lost at London City but I didn’t feel that against Charlton.

Lawsy [Rachael Laws] made a great save from their set-play but she’s been doing that all season for us, but the important thing was we didn’t lose the game and I was delighted to get the win.

Charlton are a good team. On paper they probably have one of the best squads in the division but football isn’t won on paper and for us it’s about picking results up at this stage of the season. That goal from Jas could be season-defining, you never know.

Jas is so humble. People ask me about her all of the time because she has been brilliant for us all season. When I went into Bristol City and worked with her day in, day out, I thought ‘Wow, what a player!’ She’s got everything, she’s a wonderful person, an unbelievable player and I was pleased for her to get the goal.

We work hard on our set-plays, we’ve had a lot of success from them this season, and that was a big goal from us on Sunday.

We are back at Prenton Park on Sunday when we host Charlton Athletic again and we are looking forward to it back in front of our own supporters again.

There’s a different pressure on us at the moment because we are in the position every other team in the division wants to be in. We are 16 games unbeaten in this league now, which is very pleasing.

We’ve got five cup finals left to play now. These games will be edgy at times but I have every faith in these players.

Our fans have been absolutely brilliant, they are unbelievable, and they were singing their hearts out again at Charlton last Sunday.

On the injury front, Rianna Dean has been missing for a while with a foot problem and it has been really frustrating for her and for us.

She has had an injection and it’s now about building the tolerance back on her foot. She took a big step this week by returning to the grass and I’m hoping in the next couple of weeks she will be back in team training.

Rianna has been really unfortunate as she also had an issue with her calf and her heel but hopefully that is all sorted now because she has just been very unlucky because one injury has led to another, and that’s virtually the season.

Everyone is working incredibly hard with her, Rianna has been really supportive of the team and we are trying to integrate her back with the group.

Leighanne Robe is working hard and typical Robey, she is ahead of schedule and she is strong as an ox. She is working incredibly hard to get back as quick as she can.

Thanks so much for your support as always.

YNWA,

Matt

Matt Beard was speaking to Liverpoolfc.com’s Steve Hunter.

Kick-off at Prenton Park on Sunday is 2pm GMT, with tickets on sale at liverpoolfc.com/women-tickets. You can also watch the game live on LFCTV and LFCTV GO.

Published 17th March 2022