Liverpool Women left it late to equalise in a frustrating tie against Tottenham Hotspur at Prenton Park, with neither side particularly impressing.
The opener was scored in an unconventional fashion by Celin Bizet Ildhusoy who scuffed her initial shot before the bounce beat Liverpool keeper Rachael Laws.
It was the substitutes that managed to rescue the game for Liverpool with both Melissa Lawley, on her 100th appearance for the Reds, and Marie Höbinger combining late on to level matters.
The draw changes nothing with regards league position with both sides sitting fifth and sixth in the Barclays Women’s Super League. However, a win for either side would have put them both within two points of the top four.
A largely underwhelming first half performance from the Reds saw Tottenham have a large portion of opportunities. The best of them coming on the stroke of half-time with Spurs’ forward Martha Thomas. She met a delicious, whipped cross from Amanda Nilden just six yards out but was unable to direct it towards the corner, resulting in a comfortable save for Laws.
Fuka Nagano was the standout player for Liverpool, looking extremely assured in possession and working tirelessly off the ball too. The midfielder managed to block a certain goal during the first half and gave the Reds a massive boost when pressing the Spurs back line. Despite her dictating general play throughout the first half her finishing, like many, was below par.
It took until midway through the second half for Liverpool to force a few corners before Grace Clinton chased down a good ball from Bizet into the right channel, but she eventually found her strike blocked on the edge of the box.
Then with 30 minutes to go, tricky winger Lawley entered the fray to make her 100thappearance in a Liverpool shirt. She was met by a rapture of applause from both sets of fans inside the stadium, a truly lovely moment.
Lawley understood her job and began to offer more of an attacking outlet down the right hand side after a rather disappointing performance from Shanice Van De Sanden.
Thomas’ impact on this Spurs side remained crucial, with her ability to get in behind defences being her main asset. And so it proved to be yet again, running off the shoulder of Grace Fisk before firing in a dangerous cross towards Bizet.
The Norwegian, who scored in the club’s two previous meetings, misjudged her effort but managed to bounce the ball over Laws to make it 1-0. It was the slither of luck that both teams could have found useful for the previous 71 minutes of the game.
Just five minutes later, Liverpool manager Matt Beard brought on Lucy Parry, paired with a timely return for fan favourite and Republic of Ireland forward Leanne Kiernan. Almost instantly, the ball was worked down the left where Kiernan was able to beat two defenders and draw a free-kick in a dangerous area.
The final attack with any substance resulted in an equaliser however, with Lawley chasing what looked to be a lost cause on the left wing. But the forward’s persistence paid off when she managed to retrieve the ball and cut it back towards Austrian striker Höbinger who set herself to unleash a delightful right footed strike into the bottom left corner.
The Reds should be pleased with a somewhat undeserved draw that allows them to maintain fifth place spot in the Barclays Women’s Super League.