City of Liverpool were not at the races as they fell to a
2-1 home defeat at the hands of Litherland REMYCA. A Daley Woods penalty was too difficult for the Purps to hold onto, and goals from Michael Boyle and Colin McDonald were enough to send us out of
the F.A Vase 1st Qualifying Round. The match again played second fiddle to the fans though, as another attendance record was broken due to the 711 partisans who packed out the Delta Taxis Stadium on
a glorious Sunday afternoon.
City of Liverpool stayed with the 3-4-3 formation that served them so well in the 5-1 win against St Helens Town on Tuesday night and only made one change. Ant Daniels came into centre midfield to replace the injured Chris Dykes, with Chris Lester taking the captains armband in his absence. Michael Smith made it onto the bench for the first time since his injury. For as effective as Brad Williams was when he came on in midweek, it wasn’t enough to see him return to the starting line-up and he also only made the bench, along with mainstays Rob Abelwhite and Michael Chojnicki.
For all the possession based warm up drills REMYCA had utilised in their pre-match preparations, they started the game trying to hit long, diagonal passes and specifically tried to isolate Weso. Although Weso got underneath the ball in the early stages, he soon found his feet in the game and REMYCA had to find another way through. This proved unsuccessful and, after a scrappy first 15 minutes, City of Liverpool gained a foothold in the game. The COL’s started to gain possession and control of the ball.
And this paid off in the 25th minute. From a City of Liverpool corner, the ball was cleared at the near post and shot up into the air. As it dropped, Franny Barry was shoved in the back and the referee pointed to the spot. Daley Woods stepped up and smashed the ball high into the keepers top right hand corner. The COL’s ahead but still with a lot of work to do to improve.
The Purps were now creating chances though. 3 minutes after the goal, Tom Peterson had a header tipped onto the post. On 41 minutes Franny Barry nipped in front of his defender to put Woods clean through, but he dragged his shot wide and was unable to double his tally.
Even though their play didn’t warrant it, City of Liverpool managed to see out the half. Needless to say, Simon Burton was not happy with what he had seen and had been constantly barracking his players throughout the first half. You had to feel sorry for players going into that dressing room to face the boss and Tom Spearitt at half-time.
Whatever they had to say had not worked though. 2 minutes into the second half, some nice interplay from REMYCA in the COL’s half found the ball on the right hand corner of the box. A lovely cross was played over and found Michael Boyle 6 yards from goal. He duly dived and headed the ball past Longy infront of the Dodge Kop to pull REMYCA level.
With the COL’s midfield struggling to retain possession and have an effect on the game, and the team in desperate need of a change of shape, Brad Williams was sent into action on 57 minutes in place of Tony Dunne to give the team some much needed width. 3 minutes later though, purple hearts were in mouths again. Another fantastic bit of play from the Litherland right winger was followed by a deep cross to the back post. That man Boyle again met it and headed past a helpless Longy. Only the post saved City of Liverpool on this occasion (but not Longys head) and a follow up mis-hit cross had to be cleared off the line by Chris Lester.
City of Liverpool were not getting their midfield players in the game and seemed to be too desperate to get the ball up the pitch quickly, subsequently bypassing the midfield altogether. Deep lying playmaker Todd Blayney was brought off on 68 minutes for the returning Michael Smith, in the hope that Smith would drag the midfield 10 yards up the pitch. This momentarily proved effective, as Smith was making dangerous runs with the ball into the REMYCA box while Ant Daniels was sitting back in an anchoring role.
The game was becoming very even, despite the COL’s controlling the play up until they reached the Litherland penalty area. Brad Williams nipped in front of the Litherland right back to take the ball off his toe and looked through on goal. He tried to square the ball to Daley Woods, but it was just underhit. The REMYCA keeper executed a fantastic tackle to prevent Woods from doubling his tally, but hurt the talismanic striker in the process. Woods was taken off on 75 minutes and replaced by Billy Webb. The tie looked like it was going to a replay. That was until the 85th minute.
Litherland won a corner on their left. The corner was swung into the near post and Longy was beaten to the punch by the head of Colin McDonald. McDonald ran over to the overjoyed (but prior to this subdued) Litherland supporters, celebrating. City of Liverpool tried to fight back, but were easily controlled by Litherland and the COL’s didn’t have enough in the end to mount a comeback. Litherland REMYCA will now deservedly play Vauxhall Motors in the next round at home, while the COL’s Wembley dream is over for this season.
But again, this will be a day when the action on the pitch will play second fiddle in the history books as it is the Partisans who were the purple stars of this show. Fans were still filing in 20 minutes into the game, contributing to a massive 711 attendance and probably a larger decibel count. Buy yourselves a bevy partisans, you deserve it!