Sunday 17 April 2011
The FA Cup match
Liverpool are out of the F.A Cup after a calamitous first half display saw them bow out at the semi-final stage to Bristol Academy, who will now play European football next year.
In front of a crowd of over 200 at Southport FC's Haig Avenue, Robbie Johnson's side never really got going, and Bristol's three unanswered first half goals saw them through to the final at Coventry's Ricoh Arena.
Fresh from their enthralling 3-3 draw against Everton on Thursday, the Reds started slowly and handed Bristol the advantage after just five minutes.
Liverpool lost possession in midfield and the creative Ann Marie Heatherson played a perfectly weighted ball into the path of strike partner Jess Fishlock, who finished smartly past Andrea Worrall.
Things got worse for Liverpool just ten minutes later as Bristol - who made a disastrous start to their own league campaign in midweek - doubled their lead when Heatherson and Fishlock combined to great effect again.
This time Fishlock turned provider as she chased down a hopeful long ball before crossing for Heatherson, who turned Sam Chappell and fired low into the bottom corner.
The shell shocked Reds were carrying no great threat, and almost found themselves 3-0 down inside 20 minutes when Bristol defender Jemma Rose struck the outside of the post from close range.
On the half hour though, Bristol did claim a third from the penalty spot. More Liverpool hesitancy saw Fishlock presented with a chance inside the box, and when Nicki Harding felled the striker with a desperate challenge, the referee immediately pointed to the spot.
After a lengthy delay for treatment for Fishlock, Helen Bleazard made no mistake from 12 yards.
Faced with a moutain to climb, Cheryl Foster nearly pulled one back for the home side before half time, but her terrific free kick was matched by a great save by Bristol's England goalkeeper Siobhan Chamberlain.
Half Time: Liverpool 0-3 Bristol Academy
Despite Liverpool's greater need, it was Bristol who began the second half better, and Heatherson could have twice doubled her own tally for the afternoon in the opening minutes, but she missed the target on both occassions.
In a far more even half, Liverpool did pose more of a threat to Chamberlain's goal, although efforts from Suzanne Lappin and Michelle Evans both failed to significantly trouble the visiting keeper.
Worrall on the other hand had to produce a fine save to prevent Liverpool from falling further behind, as she blocked Bleazard's shot with her legs.
Despite plenty of endeavour and an eye-catching display from substitute Gemma Watson, Liverpool failed to trouble the determined visitors further, and as frustrations grew, both Lappin and Nicky Twohig received yellow cards as the game drew to a disappointing close.
While Bristol march on the F.A Cup final and a European place, Liverpool are left to focus on the league, and will look to build on last week's promising start when they entertain Birmingham at Skelmersdale on Wednesday.
Full Time: Liverpool 0-3 Bristol Academy
By Carly Baldwin