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Bristol Academy 1 (Boho-Sayo 38) Liverpool 4 (Dowie pen 33,53,63,90)
Natasha Dowie scored all four goals as Liverpool strode into the semi finals of the Continental Tyres Cup with a 4-1 victory at Stoke Gifford.
After an evenly contested first half, Liverpool stepped up the pace in the second half and proved too strong for the home side whose hopes of a first appearance in the Final came to an end.
Both teams enjoyed possession early on without any chances being created, the only opportunity during the opening stages coming when a mistake from Martha Harris almost let in Jade Boho-Sayo but the visitors' defence did well to allay the situation.
Rosie White twice shot wide and Katie Zelem had an effort saved as Liverpool began to settle down the quicker of the two sides. Harris swung in a cross, to which Dowie got a touch, but Mary Earps was well positioned to block with her legs.
A few minutes later, Academy were to go much closer when a long range strike by Christie Murray crashed against the bar with Libby Stout beaten.
The deadlock was soon to be broken though as Liverpool were awarded a penalty when Kate Longhurst cut the ball back for White who was tripped by Hayley Ladd. Dowie stepped up to send Earps the wrong way from the spot and put her side into the lead.
The lead lasted just five minutes though and it was the prolific Boho-Sayo who was to get her side back on level terms, picking the ball up outside the area and drilling a low shot into the bottom corner, giving Stout no chance.
Academy were to go within inches of going front in the opening minutes of the second half as Caroline Weir exchanged passes with Boho-Sayo before driving a left foot shot which flew just past the post.
Despite a bright start to the half by the home side, it was Liverpool who were to go back in front. Ingrid Ryland had had an impressive game on the left and, following good work out wide by White, Ryland's cross caused confusion in the Academy defence, the ball breaking for Dowie and although her shot was not the cleanest, it was enough to loop over Earps and into the back of the net.
Stout made an excellent point blank save to deny Weir an equaliser after she had broken through but the momentum was now with the Reds with the pace of their strikers troubling the Academy defence at all times.
The third goal came as a loose pass was seized upon by White who slid a through ball for Dowie who held off the attentions of Ladd before coolly tucking her shot past Earps and celebrating her hat-trick goal.
This knocked the heart out of the Academy side and Liverpool began to look as though they would run away with the game. Longhurst crossed for White to produce a clever backheeled effort which was kept out by a brilliant diving save from Earps, who again needed to save shortly afterwards after Ashley Hodson had been put through on goal.
Katie Zelem had shown some neat touches throughout the game and the skilful midfielder was next to go close, unleashing a 20-yard shot which hit the bar.
A corner by Lucy Staniforth led to Liverpool going close again, the home defence were unable to clear and Dowie thumped a shot from close range which again came back off the bar.
Academy tried hard to find a way back into the game with Sophie Ingle shooting wide and Ladd sending a glancing header just wide from a corner, but Liverpool were to have the final say in injury time.
Line Smorsgard had been denied by an excellent saving tackle from Frankie Brown moments earlier but, after the ball had been given away cheaply again by the home side, Staniforth's ball over the top put Dowie clean through on goal and the striker once again demonstrated her confidence with a composed finish past Earps to complete a personal haul of four goals.
Bristol Academy: Mary Earps, Loren Dykes, Frankie Brown, Sophie Ingle, Marije Brummel, Caroline Weir, Angharad James, Hayley Ladd, Christie Murray (sub Sharla Passariello 75mins), Georgia Evans (sub Tatiana Pinto 70mins), Jade Boho-Sayo. Subs not used: Hannah Reid, Nadia Lawrence, Evdokia Popadinova.
Liverpool: Libby Stout, Martha Harris, Ingrid Ryland (sub Maz Pacheco 82mins), Lucy Staniforth, Gemma Bonner, Satara Murray, Kate Longhurst, Katrin Omarsdottir (sub Ashley Hodson 66mins), Natasha Dowie, Katie Zelem, Rosie White (sub Line Smorsgard 86mins). Subs not used: Rachel Darbyshire.
(top) Natasha Dowie scores her hat-trick goal
(middle) Mary Earps makes a brilliant save to deny Rosie White
(bottom) Frankie Brown slides in to tackle Line Smorsgard
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