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AFC Liverpool Res v Atherton LR Res - Match Report

After two challenging away fixtures to open the season, it was good to get to play at home, at the Reserve team HQ, Formby FC. The Chairman and Staff at Formby FC should be commended for the work that has been done to improve the stadium, since the end of last season. The pitch, in particular, is looking in a first class condition and our players were relishing the opportunity to go out and play on it.
This weeks team sheet, showed three changes to the one that started at Colne. Dean Jones and Danny Lyons returned to the starting line up, Brodie Kearns stepped off the subs bench, for his first full start. Jon Daly and John Higham were included in the squad for the first time this season.
The game started as brightly, as both teams probed and pressed, trying to find an early advantage. However, it was AFC Liverpool who were quickest into their stride. In the first quarter of the half, we constructed several moves, which involved a series of intricate passes to release both Giwa and Opare to run free into our opponents area. On each occasion they were foiled by some fine saves from Pearson, the Atherton keeper.
On 23 mins we got the goal our early work deserved. An early ball by Judge, released Opare away down the right, his pace took him away from the Atherton left back, and a quality cross fell invitingly to Lanre Giwa, for him to lash into the net, before the keeper could reach it.
The goal increased our ever growing confidence and all the AFC players looked like they wanted to put on a show for the supporters who’d kindly come over to watch the match, in glorious sunshine. As the game went on we were finding more space out wide and Kearns in particular, was starting to cause the Atherton defence problems. Despite this though, the Atherton players had other ideas and to their credit they continued to press for an equalizer. Our defence held firm and it was a great interception by Murphy, that led to our 2nd goal on 43 min’s. Conor Murphy took the ball from the Atherton striker, Smith, and made a simple pass to Kev McEllin. His first pass into Giwa rebounded back, but McEllin’s awareness spotted a good forward run by his midfield partner Wes Farrington. He run into the box, drew the keeper and slipped the ball into the net, for his first goal for the Club
HT AFC Liverpool Res 2  Atherton LR Res 0
The 2nd half began, as we finished the 1st. The range of passing, movement and general build up play was excellent at times. Once again the Atherton keeper denied our players the chance to increase the lead, on several occasions.
On the hour mark though, our pressure told. Charlie Opare, made it 3-0 as he scored, right in front of goal, after a great run by Kearns. After this goal we saw the introduction of John Higham to the action, giving him his debut for the Club. On 66 mins, Brodie Kearns then made it 4-0, another determined run and shot, gave Kearns a thoroughly deserved goal. Charlie Opare quickly added a 5th goal, his second of the day, with an opportunist strike on 70 mins. At this point Orme and Daly came on to freshen up the team. Conditions were extremely hot and the effort  the players had put in, must have left them feeling drained.
On 73 mins, Atherton LR grabbed a consolation goal. The lively striker, Matt Smith, broke free and cooly converted, after a well timed run.
AFC Liverpool were not finished, or should that be Brodie Kearns wasn’t. On 90 mins, the young man scored the goal of the game. With the match drawing to a conclusion, he picked the ball up just inside his own half and started on a run which took him past 4 Atherton players, twisting and turning left and right, he surged into the box, went around the advancing keeper and passed the ball into the goal. Despite the best efforts of one of the defenders, he couldn’t prevent the ball crossing the line. For those of you old enough to remember, imagine the Maradona goal against England at the 1986 World Cup , the one after, the “Hand of God”, it was as special as that.  That goal was enough to give the Reserves, their biggest winning margin to date.
FT AFC Liverpool Res 6 (Giwa, Farrington, Opare 2, Kearns 2)  Atherton LR Res 1
After the game, John Moran AFC Liverpool Reserve Manager said ” Full credit to Chris and the Atherton Players, their morning started badly, but despite that, they’ve come over and give it a real go, trying to play the game in the right manner”. Moran went on ” I’d also like to thank John Leech, today’s Referee for the way he handled the game today. In my opinion, he’s one of the best around, a real Football Character, I wish their were a few more like him on the circuit”. The Reserve Manager went on to add ” I’ve been delighted with the start the players have made to the season, but its only 3 games in and even tougher tests will emerge. As long as this group continue to work hard in training and more importantly, work hard for one another on match days, they’ll get their rewards. Today, we’ve converted our chances, something we’d failed to do in the previous games.  I feel the main difference this year, from last, is that we have a strong squad of players with competition for places in all departments. Every player who gets a starting place, now has to perform, because good players are being left out!
Team, S Connolly, D Jones, J Smith, D Lyons (c), C Murphy, K McEllin (J Higham 65 mins), G Judge (J Daly 70mins), W Farrington, L Giwa,                  C Opare (I Orme 70 mins), B Kearns,
Sub unused S Mass (gk)
Opponents nominated, Man of the Match,  Brodie Kearns

(September 4, 2009)