Last gasp winner keeps Purps top of the pile
A dramatic late winner from debutant Matty Williams claimed all 3 points for City of Liverpool at the Delta Taxi's Stadium, in a game F.C Oswestry Town largely had the better of. Williams came off the bench to smash home a blistering shot from 25 yards out to win the game in the 89th minute to send the COL's 2 points clear of our rivals at the top of the league.
Simon Burton's side was mostly unchanged from the team that beat Silsden 2-0 away on Saturday. Tony Dunne was unavailable, so Allen Weston returned to the starting line up in his place in the only change. New boy Matty Williams made the bench alongside assistant manager Tom Spearitt, Todd Blayney, the returning Billy Webb and Declan Gregson. Also noticeable in the warm up was the participation of Leon Williams. Leon broke his wrist minutes after coming on in the 8-0 win over Atherton LR a month ago. Whilst he didn't make the squad, he took part heavily in the warm up. Everyone would agree that it's good to see Leon out there again.
An uneventful first half was played out very cagily by both sides. City of Liverpool were gaining a bit of joy down our left, mostly through the pressure and running of Daley Woods. However the final ball into the box from Woods was rarely good enough and usually led to nothing. Oswestry tried to exploit Joe Comozzi through the trickery of Shaun Melusi. Again, in the first half at least, Melusi was given no change from exchanges with Comozzi who was well backed up by Weso. As the sides went in at half time, both needed to improve their performances from a first half where they cancelled each other out.
As the second half kicked off, it was the visitors who took the onus. Oswestry continued with their attempts to play on the partnership of Comozzi and an increasingly tiring Weso - and it was starting to bear fruit. Melusi was regularly getting on the ball and causing the defence problems. On 61 minutes, he dribbled across the 18 yard line taking advantage of a defence terrified to bring him down in such a dangerous position. He slid a lovely ball into Richie Litchfield, who took one touch but could not fire past Bartosz Kowalczyk who had spread himself superbly. 3 minutes later, it was right back Elliot Hughes who broke forward for the away side. He squared the ball across the box but Jack Harris didn't make good contact, and failed to put Oswestry ahead. They were now playing some magnificent football, being incisive on the counter and were becoming ever more difficult to break down.
However, not long after that breakaway, the COL's made their first of 3 substitutions that changed the game. Billy Webb replaced Tom Peterson, to give us some legs up front. He was now giving Oswestry left back, Matt Jones, something to think about with effective running off the ball and constant pressing. Todd Blayney then came on for Anthony Daniels, and was swiftly followed onto the pitch by debutant Matty Williams who replace skipper Chris Dykes. Williams and Blayney instantly gained a foothold in the midfield as the Purps realised that this game was there for the taking. Michael Smith, who had been excellent all night, made testing runs at the defence and put them under relentless pressure.
City of Liverpool were now getting set pieces in dangerous positions. Whilst Smith's deliveries were predominantly very good, movement off the ball was letting us down as it had done for most of the night. But, as the game looked like it was going towards our first ever goalless draw, a new hero emerged for the men in purple.
City of Liverpool gained a free on the left hand side which Smith took. When the whole away defence expected Smith to try and hit the gargantuan duo of Dalton and Woods, he slid it inside to Todd Blayney. He in turn played a short ball to midfield partner Williams, whom the defence had failed to close down quickly enough. From roughly 25 yards out, Williams unleashed a piledriver that curled into the Oswestry keepers top left hand corner that, even if there were 2 goalkeepers diving that way, was unstoppable. Williams ran to the now delirious Partisans to celebrate, and was followed by his equally overjoyed and stunned team-mates. A dream debut owing to a simply marvellous goal in exceptional circumstances.
Those on the pitch in white and green had now visibly dropped their heads. Although they swarmed forward straight from kick off, it was clearly a token effort and they knew the game was up. The referees whistle was academic for them, but, for those in purple, it was a time where relief was apparent. They knew they had snatched one here with a bolt from the blue (or, in this instance, purple).
This win now sees City of Liverpool still sitting 2 points clear atop the Hallmark Security Division One, with 31 points from 14 games. Charnock Richard move up to second, with 29 points from 14 games, after their 3-1 win away at AFC Blackpool. Whitchurch Alport drop into the play-off places, now lying in 3rd place with 28 points from 14 games, as they were beaten 5-2 by Widnes. Litherland REMYCA sit 4th and could go above Whitchurch on Wednesday, if they beat Cheadle Town.
The Purps may have not played like champions here, but winning when you don't necessarily deserve to - victories like this one - is what champions are made of. Speaking of what things are made of, what's that old saying about goals like that and dreams...?