Dowie: We can fin­ish on a high

The Football League Paper - - WOMEN'S FOOTBALL WEEKLY - By Joshua Richards

THOUGH Liver­pool’s dom­i­na­tion of the Women’s Su­per League is over, in-form striker Natasha Dowie in­sists the sea­son can still be deemed a suc­cess if they win the Con­ti­nen­tal Tyres Cup.

Since the open­ing-day de­feat to newly-pro­moted Sun­der­land, the Reds have been play­ing catch-up in WSL 1 and can now fin­ish no higher than fifth.

Yet in the Con­ti­nen­tal Tyres Cup they have shone and no-one has done so brighter than star striker Dowie.

Five goals in five group stage games was fol­lowed up by all four in the week­end’s quar­ter-fi­nal de­feat of Bristol Academy.

Sil­ver­ware

But 27-year-old Dowie – niece of for­mer North­ern Ire­land in­ter­na­tional Iain – chose not to take home the match ball as a me­mento, in­stead sav­ing space in her flat for an even greater prize.

“Maybe if we get to the fi­nal and I score a hat-trick I’ll keep that one,” she said.

“It was an im­por­tant game to win, but I didn’t take the ball home, I don’t think about things like that. The only time I have done it was when I scored a hat­trick in the derby against Ever­ton. That meant a lot to me.

“I still feel like we have a lot to play for.We are in the semi-fi­nals of the Con­ti­nen­tal Tyres Cup and we have got the Cham­pi­ons League to come.

“If we can bring some sil­ver­ware home to Liver­pool then I think we have to look at this as a suc­cess­ful sea­son.

“We’ve had in­juries this year which have af­fected us. We haven’t had just one or two, we’ve had six, seven, eight ma­jor play­ers out at a time.

“No-one can say it hasn’t af­fected us, but that’s the sit­u­a­tion. We never feel sorry for our­selves though.

“The whole squad have done their best to step up, the younger play­ers have played well, so we want to fin­ish on a high.”

Twelve of Dowie’s 13 goals this sea­son have come in her last 12 games, yet she was over­looked for the Eng­land squad, set to take on Es­to­nia in to­mor­row’s Euro 2017 qual­i­fier.

She was not the only in-form ab­sen­tee, with WSL 1 top-scorer Beth Mead also omit­ted de­spite Mark Samp­son se­lect­ing seven for­wards.

But Abu Dhabi-born Dowie has not given up hope yet of adding to her 14 Eng­land caps.

Lucky

“I want to play for my coun­try so I was dis­ap­pointed not to be picked, but that’s Mark Samp­son’s de­ci­sion and I have to re­spect that,” added Dowie.

“I’m en­joy­ing my football and peo­ple can see my scor­ing record is good, I just need to keep play­ing well for Liver­pool and hope­fully I can get back in.

“But if I don’t then so be it, I have to re­spect that, I have a very lucky life play­ing football.

“In the sec­ond half of the sea­son I’ve been pleased with my per­for­mances. I’ve had more op­por­tu­ni­ties in the sec­ond half of the sea­son than the first and it’s good to be tak­ing them. It’s great to be scor­ing, but I want to be win­ning as well.

“We’ve had a good run in the cup, so hope­fully I can keep scor­ing in the league as well to en­sure we have the best fin­ish pos­si­ble.”

PIC­TURE: The FA

GOAL-DEN RUN: Natasha Dowie has 12 Liver­pool goals in her last 12 games

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