Widnes win war of attrition
City of Liverpool succumbed to a second defeat in a week against very well drilled Widnes side on a wet and windy pitch at the Delta Taxi's Stadium. Goals from Kev Towey and George Lomax were enough to see off the Purps. A late Tom Peterson goal proved only to be a consolation for City of Liverpool in a 2-1 defeat, whose fightback was all too late to get anything out of the game.
The COL's made a couple of changes from the weekends defeat at the hands of Prestwich Heys. Longy continued in goal, despite only recently losing the crutches from his ankle injury. Declan Gregson came in for Michael Smith and Daley Woods partnered Andy Fowler up front. Smith made the bench though, along with Tom Peterson, Michael Roberts, Ant Daniels and Leon Williams.
Both teams made a quick start to the game. The Purps looked often to isolate Daniel Hano down the Widnes right, but Andy Fowler was not proving effective as a winger. Although City of Liverpool had most of the ball, it was Widnes who were being incisive in possession. Midway through the first half, Widnes goal machine Kev Towey took control of the ball 30 yards from goal. He let rip and Longy saved well on what was a greasy and fast surface. Five minutes later Widnes threatened again when Chris Lomax put a lovely ball in from the Widnes left. Towey again was on hand to head towards goal at Longys near post, but the keeper pulled off an outstanding save. Just before half time, Lomax again put in a lovely ball, to the back post this time, from the Widnes right. Towey again got on the end of it, only to find the COL's keeper saving with his feet. Hearts remained in purple mouths, as the ball bounced off Joe Comozzi but the left back did well to prevent the own goal and clear his lines.
It never all went Widnes' way though. Towards the end of the half, Simon Burton decided to swap Fowler and Gregson around. This instantly paid dividends when Gregson took on Hano and hung a fantastic ball to the back post. Daley Woods was there to head towards goal, but the Widnes keeper pulled of a magnificent save to deny him his first goal in over a month.
As both sides went in at half-time, it will no doubt have been the visitors who would have been the happier. They were playing some very nice football on a very fast and wet pitch in terrible conditions. City of Liverpool were battling hard, but didn't seem to be getting the bounce of the ball and were finding it hard in the conditions.
As the 2 teams came out for the second half, the COL's looked to take the initiative. They looked to use the wind to their advantage and looked to use Daley Woods' height for flick ons, with the hope that Andy Fowler would find space to run into. This tactic only proved temporarily successful though, as Widnes made a breakthrough on 53 minutes. Chris Lomax took control of the ball 30 yards from the goal at the Dodge Kop end. He turned and played a fantastic ball in between Weso and Lester. Kev Towey was running beyond the full back, onside, and took one touch before sliding into the near post of Longys net from 8 yards. Lomax was causing problems and City of Liverpool hadn't heeded Toweys warnings from the first half.
Nine minutes later, the other Lomax brother, George, effectively sealed the points. Coming in from the right hand side, he played a lovely one-two with his brother and, from about 25 yards, curled a wonderful shot into the top left hand corner of Longys goal. The home side could've had 2 keepers in net and neither would've got near it. A finish of Premier League standards.
This prompted the COL's into action on the bench, as they made a triple substitution. Smith, Peterson and the debuting Michael Roberts came into the fray for the departing Gregson, Williams and Fowler. City of Liverpool were now throwing bodies forward in an attempt to get something from the game. Kev McEllin, who had been superb all game, was getting into more advanced positions and causing the opposition some issues. And it was from the number 4 that the COL's got a goal back.
Roberts, who had previously shown some nice touches and slick passing, played a well weighted ball out to McEllin on the City of Liverpool right. The previously well organised Widnes defence had failed to pick up McEllin and he played a tremendous ball into the 6 yard box. It was met on the 6 yard line by Tom Peterson, who only had to keep his header down to score. 2-1 with 2 minutes to go. City of Liverpool couldn't pull off another astounding late comeback - could they?
On this occasion, unfortunately not. The Purps continued to throw men forward but were met by a wall of yellow, and Widnes held out to claim all 3 points. Suffice to say, Widnes were exceptional and proved to be extremely well drilled by a very experienced manager at this level. City of Liverpool however have now only won two of their last 6 games and performances have dipped. If they are to win the league, then improvements are needed and fast.