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Colne Reserves v AFC Liverpool Reserves

On Saturday, the Reserves took one of their longest away trips of the season, to the Holt House Stadium, home of Colne FC. We arrived at the tidy, compact ground, placed deep in the picturesque setting of the Pendle Hills, full of confidence after last weeks result and performance. As with so many of the grounds in this part of East Lancashire, away teams are met with and have to quickly adapt to the obligatory slope, that accompanies pitches in the area.
Injuries and other commitments, forced 3 changes to last weeks starting line up. Dean Connolly continued at Centre half, after coming on a 2nd half substitute last week. Matt Williams and James Smith were also brought into the starting XI.
As with last week, the game started at a fast and frenetic pace. With the sides opting for different style of play, this led to an entertaining, fully committed opening to the game. Our challenge became harder as the first period progressed, not only were we kicking up hill, but the “Pendle Hills” unleashed a wind and rain storm, which meant for most of the time we struggled to get out of our own half. On one occasion, one of our defender’s clearance blew back over his head, in to the box, only to be safely collected by our keeper. It was a credit to our defence that they tried to keep playing football in such difficult and trying conditions. Inevitably though, under such pressure, we conceded a goal on the half hour mark, a smart finish by the Colne striker, after a fine piece of skill by the Colne Man of the Match, Tugay.
Going a goal behind seemed to harden our players resolve still further. A deft turn and pass by Matt Williams on 35 mins, released Ian Orme and the speedy striker broke away towards goal. Just as he was about to shoot, he was bundled over just outside the box, by the recovering defender. In the Refs opinion, despite the fact he was in on goal, we were not denied a goal scoring opportunity. He only awarded us a free kick, just out side the box. Matt Williams duly stepped up and curled a glorious right foot shot, around the 4 man wall, into the top right hand corner. To the surprise of our players and spectators the “goal” was ruled out, because an indirect free kick had been given. Several spectators commented the “indirect” signal had been given, only after the ball had hit the net !
Half time  Colne Reserves 1 AFC Liverpool Reserves 0
The expression “ A game of two half’s” could have been devised for this game. Kicking with the wind at our back and down hill, we controlled the game for larger segments of the half. Despite this, we still had to guard against Colne’s effective, “Peter Crouch” style centre forward, who continued to press, as they tried to force the ball forward. 
As the half progressed, the work we’d done in pre-season started to have an impact on the game and only some strong defensive play by Colne denied us, what would have been a deserved equalizer.
On 70 minutes, Brad Gregson came on for his second appearance for the Club, this meant we opted for a 4-3-3 formation. The effect of the extra striker and extra space for our midfield three, immediately had the desired impact on the game. Even more crosses and shots were fired in at the Colne goal and their keeper produced a number of quality saves to once again deny us a goal.
However, on 80 minutes we got the goal our play had deserved and what a goal it was ! Matt Williams received a square from Kevin McEllin about 40 yards out from goal, he tricked two Colne players with a drop of his shoulder, took the ball another two steps forward and unleashed an unstoppable left foot shot from 25 yards out, a great strike.
Brodie Kearns, was introduced immediately after the goal, making his debut for AFC Liverpool Reserves and was quickly in the action. Corner after corner, crosses and shots were fired in at the Colne goal as we tried to find a winner, but Colne held firm and in the end we had to settle for a draw.
After the game, John Moran, AFC Liverpool’s Reserve team manager said ” I would like to thank the Officials from Colne for their complimentary comments on how our young players approach the game and the style in which they get the ball down, pass and play. I would also like to thank the Staff at Colne for the help and hospitality during our visit, we look forward to seeing them again, later in the season”
Colne FC Reserves 1 AFC Liverpool 1 (Matt Williams)
Team:- S Connolly, G Judge, J Smith, D Connolly, C Murphy, C Opare, M Williams (capt), K McEllin, W Farrington (B Gregson 70 mins), L Giwa, I Orme (B Kearns 82 mins)
Subs unused  C Hawes, S Mass (gk)
Opponents nominated, Man of the Match,  Conor Murphy

(August 18, 2009)