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Champions and leaders share spoils
 Women's Football News 24 May 2014
 
Liverpool 1 (Williams pen 64) Birmingham City 1 (Carney pen 24)
Fara Williams netted a crucial penalty as Liverpool came from a goal down to draw 1-1 with league leaders Birmingham City at the Select Security Stadium in Widnes on Saturday evening. 
 
It was a case of two penalties as the away side took the lead before Liverpool deservedly drew level.
Going into the game Matt Beard's side knew only a victory would see the Reds leapfrog the Blues at the top of the Women's Super League. Liverpool had the chances to win the game in the second half but Champions League semi finalists Birmingham are a good team and defended superbly.
 
Beard's side started brightly and Gemma Davison went close with a rasping drive from 25 yards out that was well saved by Rebecca Spencer. Fara Williams then went close with a 25 yard free-kick that was well saved by Rebecca Spencer, but it was the away side that took the lead after 23 minutes via the penalty spot.
 
Goalkeeper Libby Stout was penalised as she challenged for the ball, and England star Karen Carney clinically despatched the resulting spot kick.
 
Birmingham then started to threaten more goals. Carney's fierce drive was on target but it took a superb block from Lucy Bronze to divert the ball wide for a corner. Then from the resulting flag kick, Remi Allen's header was well kept out by Stout before Corina Schroder cleared the loose ball off the line.
 
Beard's charges slowly began to find their feet as they chased an equaliser. A superb run from Bronze down the right saw her cross narrowly missed by Natasha Dowie in the centre. Davison then produced a magical run down the right when she beat three defenders but when she fired an inviting cross across the six yard box there was nobody there in a red shirt to convert.
 
Captain Gemma Bonner then struck a fantastic effort from 40 yards out that Blues stopper Spencer did extremely well to push the ball over the top for a corner. Just before the break, Liverpool had a golden chance but Dowie couldn't convert from close range after an assist from Davison.
 
Youngster Hannah Dale, who had a fine match, went close with a low drive from 25 yards out that flew just wide of the post before Liverpool levelled from the spot on 64 minutes. Davison found Dale with a lovely pass down the inside left channel before she was brought down by Aoife Mannion. Williams then stepped up to coolly convert into the corner of the net.
 
Liverpool continued to push forward in a bid to get the three points and they had two big chances to find the winner. On 79 minutes, a slip in the Birmingham defence let in Davison with a clear run on goal, but her effort was superbly saved by Spencer who diverted the ball past the post. However, despite the brilliant save no corner was given with a goal kick being awarded instead.
 
With three minutes to go Davison's pinpoint cross from the left found Dale who produced a brilliant first touch, but just when a goal seemed certain the shot went straight at the keeper.
 
Liverpool: Libby Stout, Becky Easton, Martha Harris (sub Kate Longhurst 62mins), Fara Williams, Gemma Bonner, Lucy Bronze, Gemma Davison, Hannah Dale (sub Ashley Hodson 88mins), Natasha Dowie, Amanda Da Costa, Corina Schroder.

Birmingham City: Rebecca Spencer, Chelsea Weston, Jess Carter, Jade Moore, Aoife Mannion, Kerys Harrop, Melissa Lawley, Remi Allen, Kirsty Linnett (sub Hannah Keryakoplis 78mins), Karen Carney, Jo Potter.

(Report by www.fawsl.com)


 
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