Match reportLFC Women score six in Blackburn rout
A stunning six-minute hat-trick by Leanne Kiernan lit up a superb 6-0 victory for Liverpool FC Women at Blackburn Rovers Ladies.
The Irish striker took her tally for the season to 10 with a second-half treble as Matt Beard’s side stretched their lead at the top of the FA Women’s Championship to five points on Sunday.
Captain Niamh Fahey grabbed a headed opener while Rachel Furness arrived from the bench for a brace to deliver manager Beard the perfect birthday present.
Liverpool dominated the first half but found Blackburn goalkeeper Alexandra Brooks in fine form between the posts.
The first chance arrived within the opening minute as the home side lost the ball in midfield and the Reds released Kiernan with a through ball, but Brooks was out quickly to clear.
Within minutes the visitors were almost ahead, a fine cross from the right by Yana Daniels eventually falling to Missy Bo Kearns, whose shot was clawed away by the ’keeper.
Charlotte Wardlaw was finding lots of space on the right and a cross from the young wing-back almost led to the spectacular with Kiernan leaping for an audacious overhead kick that just lacked the power to beat Brooks.
We had still played only 11 minutes when Brooks was in action again, denying Kearns when she met a Daniels cross with a clever volley.
Blackburn had a couple of efforts from distance without troubling Rachael Laws but it was Liverpool making most of the running.
There was a sign of things to come on 18 minutes when an excellent corner from Kearns caused chaos in the home defence, Fahey eventually heading on goal and Brooks saving on the line.
It proved just a temporary reprieve for Rovers, however, with the same combination striking eight minutes later.
Kearns sent in another wonderful delivery from the right and Fahey rose at the back post to head home her second of the season.
On the stroke of the break Melissa Lawley produced perhaps the finest moment of the half by firing a superb strike in from 30 yards, beating Brooks but rattling back off the crossbar.
The second half belonged to Kiernan, who had the crowd at Bamber Bridge purring with a tremendous hat-trick.
She started on 52 minutes with a stunning effort made all by herself.
The striker pinched the ball from a defender, turned back on goal and sent a sumptuous right-footed curler beyond Brooks and into the top corner.
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A couple of minutes later and the game was effectively over as Kiernan grabbed her second, finishing off a cross from the right at the back post with the minimum of fuss for 3-0.
And just before the hour mark she completed her treble, picked out in the box and turning well to fire home.
That was her last kick as Beard began to ring the changes with Katie Stengel coming on for her debut. She almost had an immediate impact, Brooks sprawling across her goal to turn away a powerful low drive.
Vice-captain Furness also emerged from the bench and scored with her first touch to make it 5-0.
A good ball found Taylor Hinds at the back post and she squared to Furness to side-foot home.
The Reds had numerous chances to stretch the lead, Stengel going close once again, and a sixth finally arrived in injury time with Furness grabbing her second.
The Northern Ireland international fired home after a good pass from fellow substitute Ashley Hodson to round off a big win for the Reds.
Liverpool FC Women: Laws, Wardlaw (Roberts, 45), Hinds, Fahey, Matthews, Robe (Campbell, 45), Kearns, Holland (Furness, 67), Lawley (Hodson, 74), Daniels, Kiernan (Stengel, 60).
Unused substitutes: Clarke, Humphrey, Bailey, Moore.