Liverpool move clear at top of Continental Cup group

Natasha Dowie

Liverpool moved three points clear at the top of their Continental Cup group with a 1-0 win against Doncaster Belles.

England striker Natasha Dowie, signed by the Reds from rivals Everton in the Super League's close season, got the goal just after half-time.

Liverpool created the best chances from the early stages and Amanda da Costa was twice denied in the first half.

The American midfielder had a 19th-minute effort blocked on the line and 13 minutes later her goalbound 18-yard drive was brilliantly tipped on to the crossbar by keeper Nicola Hobbs.

Dowie put the home side ahead in the first minute of the second period, breaking into the penalty area to slide a low shot past Hobbs.

The Belles posed more of a threat in an even second half, but they were unable to break down Liverpool's solid defence.

The Reds can be caught at the top of the group on Sunday by Everton or Chelsea, who face each other to complete the four-team group's second round of matches.