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Liverpool 1 (Dowie 47) Doncaster Rovers Belles 0
Natasha Dowie's goal gave Liverpool a deserved 1-0 win over Doncaster Rovers Belles to put the Merseysiders on top of their Continental Cup group.
With the evening sun quickly fading it was the hosts who had started brightest. The tricky Nicole Rolser weaved her way into the area on seven minutes before drawing a good save from Nicola Hobbs at her near post.
Some patient passing by the Reds continued to see them advance and they were nearly rewarded after a corner reached Whitney Engen at the back post. However, the USA international couldn't direct her close range header in to the net.
Doncaster's vocal travelling support must have been worried as their side continued to absorb pressure. Hobbs was by far the busier of the two goalkeepers and she acrobatically tipped a fine Amanda Da Costa shot on to the crossbar. Hobbs was helpless three minutes before the interval as Dowie's lobbed effort drifted over her head but finished on top of the net.
It was all Liverpool with a goal seemingly a matter of when rather than if. That would have been Beard's message to his players during half time yet, within seconds of the restart they could have easily found themselves behind as only a fine Rebecca Easton challenge thwarted Millie Bright on the edge of the box.
That scare brought an instant response as Liverpool went straight up the other end and Dowie calmly slotted the ball beyond Hobbs for the opening goal.
The visitors immediately upped the tempo and they were shouting for a spot kick when the lively Bright tangled with goalkeeper Sarah Quantrill. Their period of pressure was only brief and it was the home team who looked more likely to find the evening's second goal.
Icelandic international Katrin Omarsdottir came closest to finding it with a powerful drive. In the end though, the solitary strike proved to be enough for Liverpool.
Liverpool: Sarah Quantrill, Becky Easton (sub Lucy Bronze 68mins), Whitney Engen, Gemma Bonner, Corina Schroder (sub Sophie Riccio 80mins), Louise Fors, Fara Williams, Katrin Omarsdottir, Nicole Rolser, Amanda Da Costa (sub Lillie Billson 68mins), Natasha Dowie. Subs not used: Danielle Gibbons, Jess Holbrook, Lizzie Ince, Hannah Keryakoplis.
Doncaster Rovers Belles: Nicola Hobbs, Ashleigh Mills, Leandra Little (sub Nicola Emery 66mins), Victoria Williams, Lyndsey Cunningham, Kasia Lipka, Emma Thomson, Jess Sigsworth, Beth England (sub Cheryl Foster 80mins), Naomi Chadwick, Millie Bright. Subs not used: Emma Higgins, Lucy Sowerby, Carla Tomkins, Jemma Purfield.
(Report by www.fawsl.com)
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