Women's Super League: Liverpool win title as Louise Fors ends the dream for Bristol

Reds run out 2-0 victors in league decider

Halton Stadium

When asked if he could ever imagine winning the league title, Steven Gerrard admitted that it was something he thought was now beyond him.

Yesterday, as his team kicked off at Sunderland, another Liverpool captain, Gemma Bonner, lifted the Women’s Super League trophy above her head.

Whenever silverware is handed out, the script remains largely the same. Queen’s We are the Champions with its questionable line about “...no time for losers...” blares out over the loudspeakers, the manager has sparking wine of varying degrees of quality poured over him and enough tinsel is blown around to dress several Christmas trees.

This was a very sweet moment for Liverpool Ladies. They had finished bottom in the last two seasons and now they could survey the game from the summit. It would be tempting to call it a fairytale except for the feeling that Jack would have been offered a very large cheque to create a plantation of beanstalks.

Matt Beard, the Liverpool manager, his suit naturally sodden with champagne, was slightly defensive about the money the club has spent this season. This was a winner-take-all climax to the season and Bristol Academy’s chairman, Simon Arnold, had pointed out the discrepancies in the two clubs’ budgets.

Nevertheless, this season Liverpool were unquestionably the best side in a women’s game that has been  dominated by Arsenal for a decade. They possessed three of the league’s top four leading scorers and won this decider comfortably.

Bristol do not possess an owner like John W Henry, who is prepared to back his interest in women’s football with hard cash. They are a subsidiary, not of the one of the most iconic names in world football, but are run out of Stroud and South Gloucestershire College.

Their manager, Mark Sampson, remarked before kick-off: “Whatever happens, they are champions in my eyes already.” To set up this showdown they had come back from a three-goal half-time deficit at Doncaster Rovers Belles and won 4-3 in the final seconds.

The Women’s Super League had produced the kind of finish the Premier League would have pawned their last bottle of Cristal to have set up. The destination of the title would come down to the last fixture – whoever won would be champions.

That Liverpool were at home and needed only to avoid defeat to take the championship conjured shades of 1989, of Michael Thomas, of Brian Moore’s remarkably restrained commentary and of Nick Hornby celebrating “the greatest game ever”.

The score in both games was 2-0. However, Bristol were not George Graham’s Arsenal. They may have been a mere one goal down at the interval but Liverpool proved themselves a vastly better and more resilient side than Doncaster Belles, who said goodbye to 22 years of top-flight football with a 3-0 home defeat to Birmingham. The FA had attracted considerable scorn by informing Doncaster after the first game of the season that, because of their lack of resources, they would be relegated whatever happened.

They might have saved themselves considerable trouble and abuse if they ruled the club who finished last – a position the Belles easily filled – would go down. Lincoln Ladies, who will be dissolved and reformed as Notts County, had a rather fonder farewell, winning 2-0 at Chelsea.

Hope Powell, who was sacked as England manager after a disastrous European Championship, watched from the stands at Widnes. Much as she would have appreciated the sleekness of Liverpool’s play, it would not have escaped her attention that much of it came from foreign boots. The most dangerous, as far as Bristol were concerned, belonged to Nicole Rolser, who came to Merseyside from the women’s Bundesliga in December, and Louise Fors, a graduate of leagues in Sweden, Spain and Australia.

Mostly, Siobhan Chamberlain proved equal to them on the artificial surface that still bore the rugby league markings for Widnes Vikings. An early shot from Rolser touched Chamberlain’s glove and trickled past a post that Fara Williams was to strike moments later. Then Rolser was brought down. Were a Premier League title to depend on a referee’s decision there would be protests, endless replays and repeated calls to radio phone-ins by those men (it is always men), who cannot reconcile the fact that losing plays a big part in sport.

Here, Richard Wigglesworth’s decision was accepted with the same degree of calm that accompanied Fors’s penalty. The surprise was that Liverpool scored only once more, although the strike from Katrin Omarsdottir was worthy of winning any championship, let alone a  single match.

They were still showing Liverpool’s game at Sunderland on the televisions around the Halton Stadium as the Ladies prepared to leave with their trophy but they scarcely merited a glance. When it came to glory, the men could not compete.

Liverpool Ladies: (4-4-2) Laws; Bronze, Bonner, Engen, Schroeder; Fors (Gregorius, 81), Williams, Omarsdottir, Da Costa; Rolser, Dowie.

Bristol Academy: (4-3-3) Chamberlain; McCatty, Rose, Matthews, Yorston; Windell, Heatherson, James; Harding, Del Rio, Sanchon.

 

Belles’ muted farewell to the top flight

Doncaster Belles final game in Women’s Super League, following their controversial expulsion from the top flight, ended in a disappointing 3-0 home defeat to Birmingham.

After 22 years in the top division, the Belles will play in the newly-formed FA WSL2 next season, with Premier League side Manchester City Ladies, who finished fourth in the Second Division, taking their place. Doncaster finished bottom of the table, four points adrift of Chelsea and Lincoln.

Life and Style
A nearly completed RoboThespian robot inside the Engineered Arts workshop is tested in Penryn, England. The Cornish company, operating from an industrial unit near Falmouth, is the world's only maker of commercially available life sized humanoid robots
techSuper-intelligent robots could decide destroying the human race is the kindest thing to do
News
The current recommendation from Britain's Chief Medical Officer, is that people refrain from drinking on at least two days a week
food + drinkTheory is that hangovers are caused by methanol poisoning
Life and Style
techConcept would see planes coated in layer of micro-sensors and able to sense wear and tear
News
Patrick Stewart in the classiest ice bucket to date
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
techCould new invention save millions in healthcare bills?
Sport
David Moyes gets soaked
sport Moyes becomes latest manager to take part in the ALS challenge
Voices
A meteor streaks across the sky during the Perseid Meteor Shower at a wind farm near Bogdanci, south of Skopje, Macedonia, in the early hours of 13 August
voicesHagel and Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise, says Robert Fisk
Life and Style
Horst P Horst mid-fashion shoot in New York, 1949
fashionFar-reaching retrospective to celebrate Horst P Horst's six decades of creativity
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Robert Fisk: All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Chuck Hagel and Martin Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise
Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

So claims an EU report which points to the Italian Mob’s alleged grip on everything from public works to property
Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Once the poor relation, the awards show now has the top stars and boasts the best drama
What happens to African migrants once they land in Italy during the summer?

What happens to migrants once they land in Italy?

Memphis Barker follows their trail through southern Europe
French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

The ugly causeway is being dismantled, an elegant connection erected in its place. So everyone’s happy, right?
Frank Mugisha: Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked

Frank Mugisha: 'Coming out was a gradual process '

Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked
Radio 1 to hire 'YouTube-famous' vloggers to broadcast online

Radio 1’s new top ten

The ‘vloggers’ signed up to find twentysomething audience
David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

A blistering attack on US influence on British television has lifted the savvy head of Channel 4 out of the shadows
Florence Knight's perfect picnic: Make the most of summer's last Bank Holiday weekend

Florence Knight's perfect picnic

Polpetto's head chef shares her favourite recipes from Iced Earl Grey tea to baked peaches, mascarpone & brown sugar meringues...
Horst P Horst: The fashion photography genius who inspired Madonna comes to the V&A

Horst P Horst comes to the V&A

The London's museum has delved into its archives to stage a far-reaching retrospective celebrating the photographer's six decades of creativity
Mark Hix recipes: Try our chef's summery soups for a real seasonal refresher

Mark Hix's summery soups

Soup isn’t just about comforting broths and steaming hot bowls...
Tim Sherwood column: 'It started as a three-horse race but turned into the Grand National'

Tim Sherwood column

I would have taken the Crystal Palace job if I’d been offered it soon after my interview... but the whole process dragged on so I had to pull out
Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard admits he is still below the level of Ronaldo and Messi but, after a breakthrough season, is ready to thrill Chelsea’s fans
Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

The Everton and US goalkeeper was such a star at the World Cup that the President phoned to congratulate him... not that he knows what the fuss is all about
Match of the Day at 50: Show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition

Tom Peck on Match of the Day at 50

The show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition