LFC WomenMatt Beard column: Villa draw, United finale and Rylee Foster tribute
In his latest column, Liverpool FC Women manager Matt Beard looks forward to Saturday’s final outing of the season when Manchester United Women visit Prenton Park.
It was a shame we couldn’t hold out for the win against Aston Villa last Sunday but overall I felt there were a lot of positives we could take from the game.
I thought we played some fantastic football going forward, we created numerous chances and it was definitely an entertaining game for the neutral, that’s for sure.
I was disappointed with the manner of the goals we conceded because we have defended well over the past few weeks. That was a little frustrating, but overall I felt it was a good team performance with lots of positives to give us confidence going into the last game of the season.
Highlights: Aston Villa 3-3 LFC Women
Our young goalkeeper Faye Kirby has done very well since getting her opportunity and I know she was disappointed with the third goal she let in at Villa. But she made a fantastic recovery after that with that save at the near post.
A lot has been made of us not winning away from home this season but for me that’s not the be all and end all. I feel over the course of the season we have been unlucky in certain situations. We were very unfortunate in certain games like Everton with the disallowed goal and Brighton when we should have had a stoppage-time penalty.
It was great to see Katie Stengel getting back on the scoresheet. She scored two excellent goals, especially her second one, which was a great team goal and a great delivery from Shanice [van de Sanden]. We know Katie is a good finisher and if she is in the box then she will score goals, so I was pleased with that.
It was great to give some minutes to Niamh Fahey and Leanne Kiernan. I’m delighted for Leanne. She’s had so many obstacles in her way to get back fit because she was aiming to be back around February-March time. She has got a game and that will hopefully show the Republic of Ireland manager that she is fit again, the same with Niamh, so I’m delighted for both players.
We bring our season to a close in front of our home supporters when we face Manchester United at Prenton Park on Saturday afternoon (kick-off 2.30pm BST). We have been good at home, teams don’t like coming to our place and we are really looking forward to the game.
I know in terms of the WSL title race it’s an exciting day with Chelsea and Manchester United who both can win it, but our only focus is on wanting to finish with a win for our fans. They have been fantastic for us once again this season. The support they have given us up and down the country has been second to none, so we are looking forward to it.
Obviously, all the pressure is going to be on Manchester United so we can just look forward to the game, enjoy it - and we want to finish with three points.
It was an uncharacteristic day for us when we played against United back in January. There were a few things in the build-up that maybe led to it, but from our end this is more about putting the wrongs right from that day, keeping our performance levels high like they have been and finishing this season strongly.
This week we announced a fond farewell to our goalkeeper Rylee Foster, who will depart the club at the end of the season. Rylee is a fantastic bubbly character with an infectious enthusiasm and we will miss her.
After what Rylee has been through after her accident, to get herself back fit is a great testament to her. It has been great having her back in the camp as of late, in and around the players. The club has supported her right the way through this whole process of getting her back fit and healthy, and I’m delighted she has done that.
Obviously, it’s probably not the way she would have wanted to end her time at Liverpool but I’m really pleased she is healthy and we look forward to her hopefully carrying on her football journey. We wish Rylee all the best and she will always be a great part of our group with her spirit and that infectious smile.
As always, thank you for your continued support.
Matt Beard was speaking to Liverpoolfc.com's Steve Hunter