Man City Women’s forward Nikita Parris became the all time top WSL goalscorer at Prenton Park, as the Blues beat Liverpool 3-0. The win sees the team remain second in the WSL table, gaining three points to take the tally up to eighteen, Arsenal sitting top on twenty one after beating Birmingham 3-1; the Solihull outfit in third place.
City got off to a good start as captain Steph Houghton played a ball over the top, Claire Emslie connecting but unable to get a cross in as the ball went out for a goal kick.
The hosts were awarded a free kick a minute later and Laura Coombs sent the ball in, Jill Scott getting a head to it before Christie Murray picked up the loose ball with Esme Morgan dispossessing the Liverpool number 10. Morgan was on hand to take a throw in shortly afterwards, Nikita Parris picking up the throw and curling the ball into the box; Anke Preuss making a comfortable save.
Former Liverpool player Caroline Weir stepped up to take a free kick, after Paris was fouled by Sophie Bradley-Auckland on the edge of the box, the Scottish midfielder’s effort headed away by Satara Murray.
City built up play with Morgan switching the ball across to Houghton who in turn knocked it wide to former Liverpool captain Gemma Bonner; Tessa Wullaert making the overlapping run. Emslie was on the end of the pass from the Belgian, as Bradley-Auckland scrambled to avert danger giving away a corner with Weir stepping up once again; Liverpool’s captain heading away.
The Blues earned another corner in quick succession, this time the ball coming in from the opposite side as Caroline played it short to Wullaert, Tessa running to the touch line before sending in a cross which Jen Beattie met; her header forcing a save from Preuss.
Preuss would be on hand for the Merseyside team once again as Tessa’s cross forced a fingertip save from the goalkeeper.
The visitors were not worried about playing it around at the back and Esme did well to take the ball from Coombs, Morgan coping brilliantly under pressure from Yana Daniels as she passed back to Ellie Roebuck in the City goal. Keira Walsh picked up the ball from Morgan and played in Wullaert, the Belgian spotting the overlapping run of Parris and releasing the pass to her. The forwards first cross was blocked by Niamh Fahey but the Scouser pounced on the rebound with her second attempt stopped by Preuss.
Liverpool then applied some pressure as Esme lost the ball to Rinsola Babajide, the former Watford forward laying it off to Rhiannon Roberts, before she switched play wide to Leighanne Robe. Former Millwall captain Robe sent the ball into the area and Morgan used her height to clear away the danger.
Walsh’s chip into the area was cleared away by Satara Murray and Liverpool broke again, Laura Coombs having her shot blocked as well as the follow up from Babajide.
Scott brought down Niamh Charles and the hosts were awarded a free kick, Laura Coombs again stepping up to take the set piece, her effort being cleared with Liverpool losing possession as Caroline Weir held off a tackle from Robe. Weir’s quick thinking saw her pass the ball to Wullaert with Parris on the overlap, the City number 17 losing out but gaining a throw in.
Morgan sent the ball straight back to Nikita as she and Tessa strung some great one touch passes together, Parris looking for Claire but the ball found its way to the Liverpool keeper.
City played a string of one touch passing, Beattie sending the ball to her Scottish teammate Emslie before it found its way out wide to Morgan on the right. The youngster played the ball back into Emslie but the forward lost possession to Yana Daniels as Keira Walsh was deemed to have tripped Christie Murray.
Walsh then played in part a City chance when she sent the ball wide to Gemma Bonner, the defender playing in Scott, who held off Laura Coombs well, spotting the run of Tessa. The Belgian sending the ball into the area for Claire, her and Nikita playing some neat passing before the pass was cut back to Scott, Jill sending an effort over the bar.
Liverpool became a little more defensive with Walsh having a shot blocked by Rhiannon Roberts twice in the space of a few minutes before they went on the attack with Niamh Charles taking a shot that was a comfortable save for Roebuck.
Roberts and Fahey teamed up to dispossess Nikita, injuring the forward in the process and awarding City a free kick.
Caroline whipped the ball in, Sophie Bradley-Auckland clearing for a corner, which Weir took, Walsh getting a touch before Fahey cleared any danger. Satara Murray made doubly sure but her shot was picked up by Wullaert whose effort just skimmed the top of Preuss’s goal.
Jen Beattie started off proceedings, building from the back and sending the ball wide to Esme, the youngster coolly playing in Parris, the forward sending it back into Walsh.
The midfielder found Tessa on the left and her shot missed Preuss, falling to the far side of the goal to meet the run of Weir; Preuss making an excellent save to deny City the lead. The result was a corner which the Scottish player took, Anke Preuss coming out to get a fist on the shot, the ball ending up at Wullaert. Her shot was headed away by Roberts, Steph Hougton playing back out wide to Tessa whose cross was blocked by Roberts again.
The visitors kept pressing and you could feel that a big goal was coming for the Blues but however hard the team tried they couldn’t get past Preuss and her defence.
Another Weir free kick was cleared by Bradley-Auckland before Liverpool were awarded one in their half after Bonner committed a foul; Coombs set piece headed away by Houghton.
Two minutes of extra time at the end of the first half couldn’t change the score-line as Weir’s shot was blocked by Bradley-Auckland and Roberts before a handball from Yana Daniels saw Hougton step up to take the free kick; the effort ricocheting off the wall.
The second half couldn’t have got off to a better start and lots of City pressure saw Claire Emslie have her shot blocked by the Reds captain. City kept building and the pressing paid off in the fiftieth minute when Esme made a brilliant tackle, the ball falling to Weir whose shot was deflected into the goal by Niamh Fahey.
A goal kick from Preuss was met by Jen Beattie, the ball falling to Rinsola Babajide whose shot was saved by her England teammate Roebuck.
Building from the back, City found themselves creating history for one player. Gemma Bonner played back into Keira Walsh from the wing, the midfielder playing through Jill Scott as Preuss came out of her goal.
Nikita Parris picked up Scott’s pass and sent a low shot that seemed to be going across the goal but ended up in the net and making her the joint top scorer in the WSL.
Tessa Wullaert made a great run to pick up the ball, Satara Murray’s tackle earning her a booking from referee Thomas Parsons and a free kick for the Blues, causing chants of “Super Steph Houghton” from the MCWFC OSC calling for their captain to take the set piece.
Houghton did indeed step up and the shot looked to be heading into the top left corner, but Preuss flew through the air to make a brilliant save.
City’s captain had the chance to double the lead from a free kick five minutes later and Blues fans watched on as Steph’s effort agonisingly hit the post.
Georgia Stanway, who had come on for Claire Emslie earlier in the match, was played in by Caroline Weir, the forward making a run into the box only to be brought down by Niamh Fahey. The referee awarded the visitors a penalty and Parris stepped up to create more history, burying the penalty to become the top all time goalscorer in the WSL; overtaking Eni Aluko.
The game was then brought to a distressing end as Rinsola Babajide made a harsh tackle on Keira Walsh, leaving the midfielder down in pain.
It was clear to everyone that she was severely injured and the stadium went quiet as fans watched on, unsure of the whether the City player had broken her leg or twisted her knee. City’s team doctor and paramedics surrounded the midfielder, Abbie McManus running on to help her teammate as Steph Houghton comforted Walsh.
Keira left the pitch on a stretcher and fans left the stadium downhearted at seeing a player injured, despite City claiming a 3-0 win.
It has been announced that Keira did not suffer from a broken leg but has suffered a minor injury to her knee, withdrawing from the Lionesses squad and Mel Lawley being called up in her place. Club football breaks now for internationals with England playing Austria in Vienna on Thursday and Sweden in Rotherham on Sunday.
Scotland play the USA on Tuesday in Paisley.
Man City Women will return to action on November 25th to play Yeovil away at Dorchester, before three games at home against Arsenal and Birmingham in the WSL as well as Sheffield United in the Continental Cup.
The squad will finish 2018 with their last Conti Cup group game away to Aston Villa on December 13th.
Liverpool FC Women
Anke Preuss, Leighanne Robe, Rhiannon Roberts, Niamh Fahey, Sophie Bradley-Auckland ©, Laura Coombs, Christie Murray (Amy Rodgers 80’), Yana Daniels (Courtney Sweetman-Kirk 60’), Niamh Charles (Kirsty Linnett 27’), Rinsola Babajide and Satara Murray
Subs (not used): Fran Kitching and Leandra Little
Bookings: Murray 68’
Goals: Fahey 50’ (OG)
Man City Women
Ellie Roebuck, Gemma Bonner, Jen Beattie, Steph Houghton ©, Jill Scott, Esme Morgan, Nikita Parris, Caroline Weir, Claire Emilie, Keira Walsh and Tessa Wullaert
Subs (not used): Fran Stenson, Mel Lawley, Nadia Nadim, Jess Park and Abbie McManus
Bookings: Bonner 40’
Goals: Parris 59’ and 84’
MCWFC OSC POTM: Keira Walsh. Myself and Natasha Jackson of the MCWFC OSC helped pick the four players up for the poll at the game but decided to unanimously award it to Keira after she suffered that nasty injury at the end of the match.
Referee: Thomas Parsons