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Everton were unable to secure the first part of a potential club double as they slipped to a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Merseyside rivals Liverpool in the F A Youth Girls' Cup Final in the curtain raiser for the FA Women's Cup Final at Milton Keynes Dons FC.
A good match was settled early in the second half by a fine finish from Kess Elmore and the Reds' victory was deserved on the balance of chances created, although the Toffees were never out of the contest.
Liverpool started very well and soon had Everton keeper Kirstie Levell busy punching clear a dangerous ball then making a fine point blank block from Natasha Rothery in the sixth minute. Jess Davenport was then denied by a strong Levell block tackle when through on goal. Mayumi Gillam was next to threaten with a powerful cross shot which was headed clear.
Everton started to respond around the quarter hour mark. Sacha Rowe fired a shot across Rachel Darbyshire but just wide. The keeper was out bravely to block the next attack and received lengthy treatment for a knock. Faye Bryson was just over from 20 yards as Everton enjoyed their best period of the match and looked the more likely scorers.
Rothery shot inches wide for Liverpool from 15 yards, then Davenport beat the offside trap to curl a shot wide of Levell but beyond the right upright. Back came Everton and on 34 minutes Rowe had Darbyshire stretching to hold a lofted shot at the second attempt.
The closest to a goal in an end to end match came on 36 minutes. From over 30 yards out, Mollie Green lofted a powerful effort over the leaping Levell and away to safety off the far post. Everton's Ellie McDonough had the final effort of an entertaining half with a header just wide of goal.
As usual Everton rotated their keepers at the break and Sandy MacIver was soon busy as Liverpool again started the better. Elmore was looking lively for the Reds causing problems with her pace and direct running. Gillam had a fierce shot blocked by a diving MacIver but it was Elmore, latching on to a through ball from sub Lizzie Earle, who dispatched the ball wide of the keeper from 12 yards for the opener on 55 minutes.
Everton tried hard to respond and McDonough provided an uplifting moment with a delightful turn past two opponents and a shot just over the bar on 65 minutes. A late flourish saw three high free kicks lofted into a packed area but Liverpool protected keeper Darbyshire well so that an equaliser was never that close. The Reds were able to see out the final minutes and celebrate winning the Girls' Youth Cup against their local rivals.
Everton: Kirstie Levell (sub Sandy MacIver 40mins), Alice Thompson, Chelsea Jukes, Ellie McDonough, Faye Bryson, Laura Mitchell, Megan Finnigan (sub Charlotte Healey 60mins), Natalie Clark, Rosie Embley (sub Bailey Orndahl 56mins), Sasha Rowe, Zoe Tynan. Sub not used: Louisha Doran.
Liverpool: Rachel Darbyshire, Natasha Rothery, Summer Smith (sub Hayley Taylor 68mins), Olivia Fuller, Rachel Robinson, Jess Davenport, Mollie Green, Blue Pendlebury, Mayumi Gillam, Kess Elmore, Beth Evans (sub Lizzie Earle 46mins). Subs not used: Francesca Curteis, Emily Curteis, Jess Carberry, Charlie Johnson, Eleanor Threlkeld.
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
Photos by www.jamesprickett.co.uk:
(top) Laura Mitchell tries to hold off the attentions of Mayumi Gillam
(middle) Sasha Rowe is challenged by Olivia Fuller
(bottom) Liverpool celebrate their victory
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