Webb sets Purps on fire in cup comeback
A superb solo effort from Billy Webb fired City of Liverpool into the next round of the Reusch Cup at the expense of Cheadle Town. Joseph Shaw had headed the away side into an early lead against a new look COL's team. Debutant Joel Burns equalised for COLFC in the 79th minute and Webb capped off his battling display with the winner 5 minutes later.
The Purps were all change going into this one. Chris Lester was rested with some important games on the horizon and Danny Dalton was ruled out with hamstring trouble. So a debut was given to Joel Burns at left back and Barry Moore at centre half. Joe Camozzi and Josh Dures completed the back four. Nathan Ferguson was also given a full debut in central midfield alongside skipper Chris Dykes and Mike Roberts. Billy Webb returned from injury to start up front flanked by another full debutant, in the shape of Josh Sumner, and Matty Williams. Tom Peterson, Weso, Mike Smith, Andy Fowler and Kev McEllin could all only make the bench.
City of Liverpool didn't start well and it was clear this was a team full of new faces who still hadn't bedded in yet. Cheadle however had flew out of the blocks and took an early lead. Luke Hincks won a corner off Joel Burns. Hincks took the resulting corner and delivered to the near post. Joseph Shaw, who was a late call up to the side due to injury, stole in front of his marker and nodded into an open goal - Longy had anticipated a deep corner and got it completely wrong.
From there, the away side continued to control the game. The COL's midfield was not getting a look in and were being dominated by the opposition captain, Matthew German. COLFC tried to use the hard-working Billy Webb to hold up the ball and bring others into play. But with nobody prepared to run beyond Webb, he cut an isolated figure up top. On 22 minutes, a Cheadle corner was cleared as far Liam Tongue, who took one touch and let rip from 30 yards. The ball dipped in front of Longy, who could only parry out to his right for Camozzi to clear. Not long after, Hincks took another corner and this time found the head of Tongue who could only flick wide. This seemed to be the last straw for City of Liverpool who finally woke up.
Firstly Joe Camozzi took control of the ball down the right and attacked the opposing full back who backed off. Camozzi deliver an excellent ball and Josh Sumner headed wide from 8 yards out. A couple of minutes later, a corner from the COL's right was headed wide by Josh Dures. The home team were now coming into the game and showing the fight they had lacked beforehand. However, they didn't manage to equalise before half time and trailed at the break. Simon Burton could not have been happy with his side and must have delivered a deserved rollicking at half time. If he did, then it worked a treat.
The Purps came out after the interval with vigour and energy. Tom Peterson replaced Josh Sumner for the second half due to an injury to the former Liverpool winger. Petersons energy was immediately forcing mistakes from the away side and causing them problems. However his game only lasted 18 minutes. Matty Williams got down the COL's right and squared to Nathan Ferguson. The ball hit Ferguson on the knee and was trickling wide as Peterson slid in. He didn't manage to convert but did get such a whack on his knee that he couldn't continue and was taken off on a stretcher to be replaced by Andy Fowler. A couple of minutes previously, Mike Smith had also replaced Mike Roberts who was on a booking. Simon had played all his cards and was now all in for the win.
The COL's were having plenty of the ball, and getting into dangerous positions, but weren't doing much with it. The introduction of Smith in midfield was bearing fruit. He was making dangerous runs with the ball and bringing others into the game the way no player had done before his 55th minute arrival. Andy Fowler was also making dangerous runs across the Cheadle defence which they were struggling to track. The game looked like it was going to end in a shock victory for the away team. That was until the 79th minute.
City of Liverpool broke and Matty Williams took possession coming in from the right. He played it to the opposite edge of the box for Andy Fowler, who had made another of those runs across the opposition backline. Fowler was faced up by the right back, Todd, who did well to block Fowlers shot. However the ball rebounded back to the bearded striker who managed to poke it through to Joel Burns. Burns had taken a gamble and overlapped, and his gamble paid off. He took one touch before rolling it under the keeper from a tight angle to equalise. The game was now there for the taking and the COL's smelled blood. They pressed forward relentlessly and, just as the game looked destined for extra time, a match winner emerged.
The ball was fired into Billy Webb who had run non-stop all afternoon, chasing lost causes and holding it up only to receive no support. On this occasion he took one touch to turn his marker brilliantly. He ran at the Cheadle centre halves, knocked the ball past one like he wasn't there and then past the other in similar fashion. He was now bearing down on goal and was in need of composure and technique. As the keeper rushed out, Webb slid it underneath him calmly and ran off to celebrate with the Partisans. Six minutes left of a second half dominated by the men in purple and a Cheadle comeback seemed unlikely. But instead of comfortably seeing the game out, the COL's retreated to their own 18 yard line and were very nearly punished.
Late into stoppage time, Cheadle got a corner on their right that they played short. Todd delivered into the box and it was flicked into the back of the net by German. He wheeled away in celebration - only to be greeted by the linesman flagging for offside. The away sides inquest ensued but the officials wouldn't be swayed. Not long after, the referee blew his whistle to the delight of all those of a purple persuasion.
With so many changes, it would be easy to make excuses for this COLFC side if they had lost; the pitch was bobbly, we missed key players, we welcomed so many new faces. But, for the first half at least, the fact of the matter is that we were outfought and deservedly trailed. But second half, the Purps were a different side and it was a complete U-turn on their first half display. They were determined and battled for each other, and, in the end, rightly won this game. They are now through to the next round of the Reusch Cup and, who knows, we could still be lifting silverware next Spring.
Attendance - 297