After last week’s frustrating draw against Charlton, Liverpool returned to winning ways as they comfortably defeated Durham 3-0 on Sunday and Prenton Park. Goals from Katie Stengel and Rachel Furness sealed the win and propelled The Reds 11 points clear at the top of the table.
Within the first five minutes, Liverpool had already won three corners, a sign of how strongly they started off. With the ball constantly being battled for in Durham’s half, Leanne Kiernan eventually scored in the 6th minute but the goal was ruled offside.
Just two minutes later, Furness officially, and legally opened the scoring through another corner that was flicked on by Yana Daniels. It fell perfectly for the Northern Irish international at the back post who then smashed it into the roof of the net.
Durham were given an opportunity to find an equaliser as they were awarded a free kick in a dangerous position. Sarah Robson met the delivery, but it was collected by a calm and cool Rachel Laws. After a couple more corners for Liverpool which were defended well, Durham began to look livelier in their attack. Mollie Lambert, Beth Hepple and Emily Roberts were essential in bringing the ball forward in creating chances, but the finish in the final third was still missing. At the other end, Naoisha McAloon produced a fine save to deny Kiernan a goal from close range.
Unfortunately for Durham, Liverpool struck again just before half-time. Megan Campbell delivered her classic long throw from the right and Stengel’s strong presence proved too much for the defenders as she rose and headed it home.
The visitors were much more dangerous in the second half as Rachel Laws was put to the test by Hepple’s long-range effort and her free kick just before the hour mark. Though the game became a lot more evenly contested, Liverpool sealed the deal in the 70th minute as Furness headed the ball into the net through what was yet another corner.
As the game went on, it was clear the intensity levels were high. Players flew into challenges and play had to be stopped a few times for treatment. After a couple of shots drifted wide or were saved by Laws, Durham had a huge chance at a consolation goal as Sarah Wilson’s through ball was met by Hepple, who had been playing her heart out in the second half. She couldn’t convert, as her chip over Laws saw the ball go narrowly over.
Durham fought hard until the end but league leaders, Liverpool proved to be too strong an opposition. Lee Sanders’s side sits third in the table but are level on points with Crystal Palace in fourth and are only four points clear of eighth place, Lewes. Both Liverpool and Durham have big clashes on the road next week. Durham travel to Watford in hopes of keeping their spot in third while The Reds need just one point away at Bristol City to be crowned champions and secure the long-awaited promotion back to the WSL.
Liverpool: Laws, Roberts (Silcock, 81), Fahey, Matthews, Campbell (Hinds, 63), Daniels (Wardlaw, 63), Holland (Kearns, 71), Furness, Lawley, Kiernan, Stengel (Humphrey, 81).
Unused subs: Clarke, Bailey, Hodson, Parry.
Durham: McAloon, Hill, Briggs, Lambert, Wilson, Robson (Greenwood 89), Hepple, Hardy, Christon (Brown 79), Roberts (Galloway 79), Holmes (Ejupi 53)
Unsed subs: Borthwick, Bradley, Salicki