October 28, 2019 by Stephen L Wright
Blues’ Women came into this fourth League game on the back of a 5-1 victory at Leicester in the Continental Cup. Where that win was a ‘should get’, doing the same against Liverpool was not as certain. At the start of the game Liverpool and Blues were the bottom two in the League, so it was all to play for.
Close to a thousand Blues fans came out on a glorious autumn afternoon and were given a treat from the off. This blog’s title came into my head about half-way through the first half because that’s what the players were doing. They harried and parried and stormed into the opposition as if their very careers depended on it and we loved it, of course.
Liverpool forward, Rinsola Babajide is a constant threat in any game but Adrienne Jordan kept her well contained, and you could see that Babajide didn’t like it. All three defenders, Becks Holloway and Kerrys Harrop being the other two, played a blistering game at the back but also drove forward to be part of the power plays in the last third.
And on the subject of the last third, that’s where Blues’ game has been breaking down so far. Not yesterday. On the right, Sarah Mayling’s run upon run into that third to get the ball into the middle were solid flanking moves and her POTM was justly deserved. On the other side, Lucy Staniforth did the same. The Pocket Rocket that is Bri Visalli linked it all together whilst also putting in some fine work of her own.
Lucy Whipp got a chance to start and didn’t disappoint with some battling and runs of her own. Chloe Arthur and Abbi Grant in midfield made their presence felt in winning tackles and keeping the ball moving forward. The latter added some great carries to the byline, several of which ended in crosses into the box. Veteran Rachel Williams, now back to top form, also got in the mix in midfield and around the six-yard box.
The only period of ‘wobble’ came in the third quarter when a regrouped Liverpool came out fighting and pinned down Blues at the back.
Step up Hannah Hampton. For one of the youngest in the Squad she has one of the coolest heads. I’ve watched her since she came into the First Team and her confidence has developed exponentially. She’d been called on once or twice in the first half, but the sustained period of activity from Liverpool saw that cool head brought into play as Liverpool double subs Courtney Sweetman-Kirk and former Blue Kirsty Linnett ended up with the ball in front of the goal. But ‘Double H’ was on it and made two superb reaction saves. The last she had to do to keep another clean sheet.
So, to the goals that did happen. One in each half. The first came from a perfectly weighted free kick from Lucy Stan that found the head of a jumping Kerys Harrop. The second began with a recycling move by Harrop, that led to parried save from the Liverpool ‘keeper with Stan’s boot driving the ball back and high into the net.
It was a comprehensive win and boosted Blues back to 9th place. They still have a game in hand, with the postponed Reading fixture to be rearranged. Brighton is next on 17th. That’s another ‘should get a win’. We wait….