Liverpool beat Lewes to keep up pressure at top - Rooks rue 'scrappy' goals

Liverpool kept the pressure on Durham at the top of the FA Women’s Championship table thanks to two goals from Leanne Kiernan as they defeated Lewes 2-0 at Prenton Park, writes Ryan Lewis.

Freda Ayisi of Lewes battles for possession with Ceri Holland of Liverpool (Photo by Lewis Storey/Getty Images)
Freda Ayisi of Lewes battles for possession with Ceri Holland of Liverpool (Photo by Lewis Storey/Getty Images)

Kiernan’s first goal arrived in the 17th minute after Melissa Lawley hit a powerful strike at goal from the right wing that Shanell Salgado in the Lewes goal could only parry.

Kiernan then pounced on the rebound before calmly slotting home.

Sign up to our daily SussexWorld Today newsletter

Lewes came close to equalising in the 34th minute when Izzy Dalton hit a superb strike from 35 yards out that cannoned off the crossbar.

Five minutes before half-time though, Kiernan grabbed her second of the afternoon.

A great ball in from captain Niamh Fahey was only half cleared by the Lewes defence. Kiernan pounced on the loose ball on the edge of the area and hit a curling strike into the top corner, leaving Salgado no chance and giving Liverpool a 2-0 lead at half-time.

After the break, both teams squandered one-on-one chances.

First it was Liverpool’s Ceri Holland to miss. The midfielder was played through by Yana Daniels but her effort was well saved by Salgado.

On the 66th minute, Lewes hit the woodwork for the second time. Freda Ayisi was played through after a superb back heel from Heidi Logan, but the striker’s effort could only find the post.

Liverpool held on in the closing stages to secure a 2-0 home victory over Lewes for the second season in succession as Matt Beard’s team maintained their title push.

To follow the action and sign up for The FA Player’s live Barclays FA Women’s Super League coverage visit womenscompetitions.thefa.com

Liverpool goalscorer Leanne Kiernan said: “They were a well organised team but thankfully what we’d worked on in the training ground kind of came off today.

“I’ll take those stats (six goals in four) but I wouldn’t be getting these goals if the girls around me weren’t putting them on a plate. That first goal, Mel Lawley - what a ball in!

“It all starts from Lawsy in goal, she’s been outstanding. Those pings were unbelievable. It all starts with the clean sheets. These girls around me are brilliant.

“It was nice to get back from internationals and get on the score sheet again. A lot of friends and family came over from Ireland. It’s actually my dad’s birthday so it was nice to get a goal for him.”

“It all starts with Beardy [Liverpool boss Matt Beard]. He brought us together at the start of the season and he’s really moulding us together as a good group of people. He’s brought in good characters too and it’s working. We all get on really well outside of football too.”

Lewes interim manager Craig Gill said: “I thought we were very positive in the first 15 minutes. Taking the game to Liverpool, pressing them. Started very brightly as we’d planned.

“Then unfortunately we conceded a very sloppy and scrappy first goal. And then tried to work our way back into the game obviously. Unfortunately, we then conceded what I would consider a scrappy goal which put us on the back foot.

“The players were great, a real positive attitude. Showed lots of energy, lots of desires, and created lots of chances as a consequence. I think if one of those chances goes in then it’s a different game. Bringing a different outlook and a different approach from us.

“Shanell Salgado has done particularly well. Unfortunately, she struggled with the first goal but three or four of her saves were first class, really.

“I’d also like to mention Ellie Hack, also, who I thought was extremely solid and robust and resolute across our back four. I thought she had a great game as well.”

Liverpool (3-4-3): Rachael Laws; Leighanne Robe, Niamh Fahey (c), Jasmine Matthews; Rhiannon Roberts, Missy Bo Kearns, Ceri Holland, Taylor Hinds; Melissa Lawley, Leanne Kiernan, Yana Daniels

Substitutes: Rachel Furness for Kearns 72’, Jade Bailey for Daniels 76’, Georgia Walters for Kiernan 84', Ashley Hodson for Lawley 84’

Substitutes not used: Katie Startup, Carla Humphrey, Lucy Parry, Hannah Silcock, Meikayla Moore

Goals: Kiernan 17’, 40’

Lewes (4-4-2): Shanell Salgado; Rebecca McKenna, Rhian Cleverly (c), Ellie Hack, Sophie O’Rourke; Heidi Logan, Amelia Hazard, Izzy Dalton, Paula Howells; Freda Ayisi, Ini Umotong

Substitutes: Ellie Noble for Hazard 69’, Lucy Ashworth-Clifford for Logan 69’, Georgia Timms for McKenna 86’

Substitutes not used: Laura Hartley, Nicola Cousins, Charley Boswell, Zoe Cross

Bookings: Ayisi 58’

Referee: Elizabeth Simms