LFC Women claim 1-1 draw in Merseyside derby at Goodison Park

Match reportLFC Women claim 1-1 draw in Merseyside derby at Goodison Park

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By Sam Williams

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Katie Stengel’s equaliser earned Liverpool FC Women a 1-1 draw in Friday’s Merseyside derby with Everton Women at Goodison Park.

An entertaining Barclays Women’s Super League contest saw the Blues go ahead courtesy of Gabby George, but Stengel’s clinical finish ensured the Reds went in level at half-time.

Leighanne Robe and Jess Park each had goals disallowed in a second period during which both teams pursued the win but, despite Matt Beard’s side finishing the game on top, the spoils were shared.

After a cagey opening 10 minutes, Missy Bo Kearns and Yana Daniels had shots following a couple of trademark long throws from Megan Campbell that, as per usual, provided Liverpool with a dangerous attacking weapon.

Robe then did well to read Park’s intentions and block the Everton forward’s strike after she had dribbled towards goal from deep, but the hosts were soon in front through George.

The Blues’ captain appeared to be aiming a cross towards the back post but the flight of the ball deceived Rachael Laws and it drifted into the top corner.

A crucial combination of Laws’ fingertip and instinctive goalline defending from Gemma Bonner prevented Megan Finnigan’s powerful hit from doubling Everton’s advantage and, thereafter, the Reds enjoyed their best spell of the first half.

That period featured another Kearns effort and Emma Koivisto sending a precise attempt narrowly wide, and culminated in Stengel calmly stroking home a deserved equaliser five minutes before the break.

Stengel produced a superb first touch to bring Taylor Hinds’ speculative shot under her spell and dispatched a cool finish beyond home goalkeeper Courtney Brosnan.

Liverpool picked up where they left off in the early stages of the second half and thought they had turned the derby on its head when Robe rounded off a clever corner-kick routine, but the referee deemed Ceri Holland to have impeded Brosnan.

Nicoline Sorensen was a constant threat for Everton, however, and her inviting cross from the right was placed wide by Park’s diving header as the hosts responded.

The introduction of Shanice van de Sanden from the bench brought pacy, direct running to Beard’s team’s armoury and the Netherlands international picked out Stengel after a speedy surge into the penalty area, only for Finnigan to block the striker’s shot.

It was then Everton’s turn to feel the frustration of having a goal ruled out when Park was penalised for handball once she’d buried an attempt from range.

And there was very nearly stoppage-time drama at the other end.

First, Liverpool were denied as Brosnan bravely palmed away Miri Taylor’s header with Stengel ready to pounce, before the Everton ’keeper tipped Holland’s curler wide.

Liverpool FC Women: Laws, Robe (Roberts, 83), Bonner, Campbell (Matthews, 64), Koivisto (Taylor, 90+2), Hinds, Nagano, Kearns (Lundgaard, 84), Holland, Daniels (Van de Sanden, 64), Stengel.

Unused subs: Kirby, Cumings, Silcock, Humphrey.

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