ROSIE WHITE charged through Manchester City’s defence to put Liverpool Ladies ahead in the fourth minute at the Academy Stadium, scoring the first goal City have conceded in eight league games.
The Reds produced an excellent first-half performance, with brilliant passing and movement. Scott Rogers’s side were also unlucky not to double their lead before the break as Caroline Weir struck the crossbar and even unluckier to then concede an equaliser in the second half as City kept their unbeaten record intact through Jane Ross’s leveller.
Rogers had named an unchanged side from the Reds’ last game before the mid-season break — the only change to the match-day squad seeing Martha Harris making an appearance amongst the substitutes following injury.
Before White struck the opener City had looked threatening in a move of their own, Satara Murray getting across to prevent Toni Duggan from shooting. Murray had kept Duggan quiet in the previous game and continued her impressive run of form with another strong display against the England forward.
Duggan would be left rueing this opportunity as almost immediately Liverpool opened the scoring at the opposite end. Shanice Van De Sanden instrumental and White the benefactor, beating two defenders to slide the ball past Karen Bardsley and into the back of the net.
Liverpool then dominated the remainder of the half, Van De Sanden fouled 40 yards out and Alex Greenwood — who netted for England during the international break — went for goal only to see Bardsley wise to her effort and across to stop the ball crossing the line.
Bardsley was also called into action when another smart move involving Kate Longhurst, Laura Coombs and Tash Harding resulted in a probing cross looking for White and Caroline Weir.
There was plenty of pressure from the Reds in and around the City penalty area, Harding and Weir unable to capitalise on Demi Stokes’s stray pass and Van De Sanden earning a corner from which Weir’s shot was deflected out for another.
When called upon Liverpool’s defence was resolutely sound, Gemma Bonner halting a quick counter by Stokes and her partner in central defence Sophie Ingle blocking Jennifer Beattie from nabbing an equaliser after the Scottish midfielder had connected with Duggan’s set piece yards from goal.
The majority of Liverpool’s chances were coming down the right and Murray found space there to press forward, cutting the ball in towards Weir only for her perfectly-weighted shot to strike the crossbar.
City manager Nick Cushing made one change at half time as Nikita Parris replaced Daphne Corboz however it was again the Reds who looked brighter, creating the first chance of the half when White drove the ball to Harding in the box and Harding was only denied a goal against her old club by a well-timed challenge from former Red Lucy Bronze.
City grew into the game, invigorated by the substitution but Liverpool continued to defend well; a Steph Houghton free kick crashing off the wall and the Reds clearing the resulting free kick with ease.
Siobhan Chamberlain then produced a quartet of saves to keep Liverpool in the game, first gathering a Parris effort struck from 20 yards, then denying Duggan and debutant Tessel Middag — perhaps the most impressive save of the three as the Reds No.1 could only have seen the strike late yet dived to keep the ball out.
Jill Scott was also on target with Chamberlain palming away her effort as the Reds came under immense pressure in the second half.
Man City eventually equalised after winning possession deep in the Liverpool half, the ball finding its way wide to Parris who curled a deceiving cross towards Jane Ross, who tapped home from just yards out with 25 minutes to play.
With the score level both teams chased a winner, Weir going on a mazy run unchallenged to try her luck from 30 yards, the shot narrowly over the bar, and Bonner heading a free kick just wide.
Into the final minutes, City sent Megan Campbell on for Abbie McManus. Campbell’s throw ins are an impressive part of her skill set and caused havoc in the Reds defence — each one landing inside or at the edge of the six-yard box.
Liverpool also had a last roll of the dice with Niamh Charles replacing Harding — the young winger finding the Reds’ last chance of the game only to be prevented from scoring the winner by Bardsley.
— Liverpool Ladies FC (@LFCLadies) June 27, 2016
LIVERPOOL LADIES: Chamberlain, Murray, Bonner (C), Ingle, Greenwood, Longhurst, Coombs (Zelem), Weir, Van De Sanden (Lundh), White, Harding (Charles).
PLAYER OF THE MATCH: Rosie White.