Liverpool Ladies 3-1 SAFC Ladies
Sunderland Ladies’ winning run came to an end at the Select Security Stadium as Liverpool sealed three points in the FAWSL 1.
The Lasses produced a brave performance and refused to go down without a fight, as Dominique Bruinenberg levelled after the Reds opened the scoring through Jess Clarke.
The home side raced out of the blocks following the restart and snatched a two-goal advantage, though, with Clarke grabbing her second before Bethany England made it 3-1 five minutes later.
And that proved decisive, as the Reds controlled the remainder of the game to see out the win.
Sunderland were forced to dig deep in the opening stages as the Reds controlled possession, but the first chance fell to the Lasses as Casey Stoney, who ended a 24-year playing career following the game, blocked Lucy Stanifoth’s thumping effort.
With ten minutes played, Ali Johnson split the Lasses defence in two and Clarke raced through, but Rachael Laws was equal to it and was quick off her line to deny the striker.
Clarke continued to threaten and with 18 minutes on the clock she opened the scoring, as a composed finish nestled into the following an excellent cross from Alex Greenwood.
The Lasses dusted themselves down and, to their credit, forced the Reds onto the back foot, with Staniforth forcing Rebecca Flaherty into a fine save before Greenwood thwarted Bridget Galloway.
And with 32 minutes played, they deservedly levelled.
Staniforth provided the assist with a chipped through ball and Bruinenberg did the rest, with her angled strike flying into the bottom corner.
The sides continued to trade blows before the interval and Sunderland were desperately unlucky not to add a second on 42 minutes, as Flaherty clawed Galloway’s cross to safety just as it threatened to loop over the line.
At the other end, Clarke remained a threat and after flashing the ball across goal moments earlier, she headed the Reds ahead on 50 minutes after once again combining with Greenwood.
And five minutes later it was 3-1, as England slotted home after Laura Coombs and Caroline Weir opened up the Sunderland defence.
The Reds grew in confidence after their quick-fire double but the Lasses defended with grit and determination, as England and Clarke were both denied in the stages that followed
However, they were unable to carve out any further meaningful opportunities at the other end, with Liverpool claiming the points in Widnes.
Liverpool Ladies: Flaherty, Harris, Turner, Stoney (Longhurst 89), Greenwood, Ingle, Coombs, Weir, Clarke, Johnson, England (Babajide 87).
Subs not used: Ramsey, Rodgers, Hodson.
SAFC Ladies: Laws, Sharp, Stewart, Williams, Sjoman, Lipka, Pitman, Staniforth, Bruinenberg (Joice 84), Wyne (Lambert 84), Galloway.
Subs not used: Preuss, Brown, Ramshaw, Gibson, Young.