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Doncaster Rovers Belles 0 Liverpool 2 (Shepherd 12, Brusell 60)
An assured performance capped with two fantastic goals saw Liverpool move off the bottom of the FA WSL table with an away win against Doncaster Rovers Belles.
Lynda Shepherd and Katie Brusell both got their name on the scoresheet at the Keepmoat Stadium as the Reds produced their best 90 minutes of the season to leapfrog their hosts.
Liverpool began the basement battle with an attacking line up, with Vicky Jones and Brusell operating on the wings and Cheryl Foster supporting Hannah Keryakoplis up front.
It was the visitors who threatened first on just three minutes, when Michelle Evans' corner was only half cleared, and Foster hit a powerful rising drive which just cleared the Doncaster crossbar. In similar circumstances, Leandra Little then had the Belles' first sight of goal, but she dragged her shot wide after a corner found its way through to her on the back post.
With 12 minutes played, Liverpool went ahead in spectacular fashion, as Shepherd struck an unstoppable swerving shot from 25 yards, to which Mary Earps in the Doncaster goal couldn't get near.
Despite Liverpool looking the more likely to add to the scoring, they were almost pegged back midway through the half, when Aine O'Gorman was allowed far too much time to latch onto a through ball and hit a shot which cannoned back off the bar.
Liverpool continued to press though, and were unfortunate not to double their lead when great link-up play between Brusell and Foster led to Belles defender Lyndsey Cunningham prodding Foster's dangerous cross just wide of her own goal. At the other end, Millie Bright had a chance to draw the home side level on 41 minutes as Nicola Davies failed to deal with a cross, but Sam Chappell did just enough to put the Doncaster forward off, and she blazed over.
Davies' reflexes were tested on the stroke of half time when a lucky deflection almost gave Doncaster an equaliser, but a diving stop ensured that Liverpool headed into the break with a deserved lead.
Heavy rain greeted the players' arrival onto the pitch for the second half, but Liverpool again started on the front foot, and were desperately unlucky not to go two goals up inside the opening two minutes. Chloe Jones hit a long range effort every bit as sweetly as Shepherd's first half goal, but as her effort flew into the top corner, the referee brought play back for an earlier foul on a Liverpool player.
O'Gorman - by far the Belles' most dangerous player - then threatened again, but Nicky Twohig matched her stride for stride as she attempted to break free of the defence, and the Irish striker sliced her effort wide.
On the hour though, Liverpool were able to deliver the knockout blow when Brusell cut in from the right wing and curled an exquisite effort past the diving Earps to give the Reds clear daylight.
It was a lead they could easily have added to in the fifteen minutes that followed, with Foster and Kelly Jones both being denied well by Earps. Chloe Jones then went close with a looping header and the Doncaster defence managed to bundle a further effort off the line as Evans' set piece deliveries continued to cause panic in the home box.
Substitute Emily Gielnik could also have added a third in the closing minutes, but she fired straight at Earps after being played through by the influential Brusell.
After being a virtual spectator for much of the second half, Davies then produced a smart save to keep Doncaster out and ensure that along with the three points, the Reds also kept their first clean sheet of the season.
(Report by www.TheFA.com)
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