Match reportLFC Women win 3-1 at Leicester in final pre-season friendly
Liverpool FC Women completed their pre-season campaign with a comprehensive 3-1 victory over Leicester City Women at the Belvoir Drive training complex.
An early goal in each half from Ceri Holland and Natasha Flint respectively did the damage for the Reds before Missy Bo Kearns delivered a superb free-kick two minutes from time to complete the visitors’ scoring.
Leicester’s consolation came via Aileen Whelan with the final kick of the game, firing home a rebound after her initial penalty was well saved by Teagan Micah in Liverpool’s goal.
The Reds offered all the early threat and were almost ahead on three minutes, a cross from captain Taylor Hinds on the left headed narrowly over by striker Sophie Roman Haug.
It was a temporary reprieve for the home side and Matt Beard’s team were ahead on 12 minutes.
Marie Höbinger’s corner from the left was cleared only as far as Holland on the edge of the box and the Wales international curled a lovely effort beyond Janina Leitzig in the Leicester goal.
Six minutes later, the lead was close to being doubled.
Höbinger intercepted a pass as Leicester tried to play out and slipped in Haug, whose precise finish connected squarely with the post.
The pair were involved again a short time later when Haug’s clever flick allowed Höbinger to give Flint a good sight of goal but the striker dragged her left-footed shot wide of the post.
On the half-hour, a superb ball out from Rachael Laws in the Reds’ goal sent Hinds away again on the left and her cross was fired narrowly over by Höbinger.
It was almost 40 minutes before Laws was needed to make a proper save, turning away a decent strike from Leicester’s Jutta Rantala after an overlap on the left brought a dangerous ball into the box.
Liverpool finished the half on top with Holland once again offering the threat with a shot just over the bar from Höbinger’s cross.
It took just eight minutes of the second half for the visitors to double their lead and again the opportunity came from a set-piece.
Höbinger’s corner from the right was headed into the danger area by Haug and Flint was on hand to turn it home at the back post.
Austrian midfielder Höbinger was a huge influence on the game and tried her own luck five minutes later, her low shot gathered low by Leitzig.
Beard sent on Kearns and Yana Daniels from the bench as he looked to work his squad ahead of the Barclays Women’s Super League opener at Emirates Stadium in two weeks.
Micah was called into action with 15 minutes left, the Australian out quickly to block a powerful shot as the hosts looked to narrow the deficit.
Instead it was Liverpool who extended the lead with a stunning free-kick from Kearns, who found the top corner from more than 20 yards after Höbinger was brought down from behind.
A late penalty denied the Reds the clean sheet, with Whelan side-footing home after Micah had saved the original effort well.
LFC Women: Laws (Micah, 46), Koivisto (Parry, 46), Hinds, Clark, Fisk, Matthews (Bonner, 46), Höbinger, Nagano (Taylor, 75), Holland (Kearns, 65), Flint (Lundgaard, 75), Haug (Daniels, 65).
The Reds’ next match is their first fixture of the new WSL season against Arsenal Women at the Emirates on Sunday October 1 (2pm BST kick-off).