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Eccleshall 2 v 3 AFC Liverpool - Match Report

A minutes silence was held at the beginning of Saturday’s match in memory of AFC Liverpool fan Michelle Williams. Michelle, aged 28, was a keen supporter of the club, and the players and management would like to dedicate Saturday’s victory to her memory.

AFC Liverpool continued their impressive rise up the league with a valuable 3-2 win against Eccleshall at Pershall Park.

AFC Liverpool took an early lead in the 3rd minute through Mark Bloxam, after a cleverly worked free kick between Martin Williams and Ryan Wignall found the centre half in the middle of the six yard box, who had plenty of time to pick his spot with a firm header into the bottom corner.

Impressive possession and movement from Wignall and Todd Bamber on the left hand side led to a second for AFC Liverpool. The pair combined splendidly to tee up Matthew Williams who fired in a low dipping shot that was parried by Phil Bruce to a grateful Phil Stafford who provided a smart finish to score his first for the club and make it 2-0 to the visitors.

A quick reply materialised from Eccleshall as AFC Liverpool’s defence lost momentary concentration and allowed Sam Lovatt the freedom of the penalty area to slot a low shot underneath an advancing Paul Willis. The remainder of the half belonged to the visitors as the superb Ryan Wignall continued to have a massive influence on proceedings as he weaved around the pitch going close with an individual curling effort from 20 yards.

The second half began brightly for the reds with them passing the ball patiently against a stubborn and organised Eccleshall. The perseverance nearly paid off on the hour, as the industrious Todd Bamber provided an inviting cross for Dean Thurston who fired wide from close range. However, a sense of complacency fell across the AFC Liverpool side and Eccleshall began to take control of proceedings forcing Paul Willis to make a couple of excellent saves from close range from Scott Chaplin and Paul Ridley. Pressure finally told though, as Eccleshaw secured a deserved equaliser thanks to a fantastic individual effort for Dhalamini Dalisizwe, who took one touch then struck expertly from twenty five yards leaving Willis stranded and levelling the game up at 2-2.

The equalising goal brought a double substitution from manager Derek Goulding, replacing Dean Thurston and Matthew Williams with John Kennedy and David Ojapah. The changes brought freshness to the side and this paid dividends in the 78th minute as a flowing move brought the winning goal with Wignall yet again being the architect, dribbling from the half way line past a helpless Dale Roberts and rolling the ball into Bamber who provided a wonderfully controlled finish into the left hand corner to score his fourth goal in three games.

AFC Liverpool faced late pressure with both Scott Chaplin and Karl Williams both heading over but held on for a vital three points that moves them up to third in the Vodkat League table.

Manager Derek Goulding said:

“I thought it was a solid performance from the side, we played really well in the first half and should have really put the game to bed. But we let them back into it with some poor defending but in the end we ground out a fantastic win and a valuable three points.”

Match report Courtesy of Adam Sheil

(October 4, 2009)