It was the Reds who got the game underway and they were the ones starting on the front foot as the ball never left the Alsager Town half for the first five minutes of play but it took ten minutes before the home side registered their first shot in anger, though when it came, it was another Steve Jones special. Collecting the ball thirty yards out, he was allowed the time to set his sights before unleashing a screamer that came crashing back off the upright with keeper Matthew Coton nowhere near to making a save.
Having weathered the early pressure, the visitors should have taken the lead when George Barlow advanced into the area unchallenged down the right flank. His shot was well saved by Sean Lake and though the ball rebounded perfectly for Liam Prince, the midfielder placed his effort a yard wide from six yards out.
The deadlock was finally broken on twenty minutes when James Buckley broke through the combined challenges of James Marsden and Ryan Mitchell before squaring to Morgan, who bundled the ball home from a couple of yards, despite the best effort of Wayne Hughes to clear it off the line.
Thirty five minutes into the game, Alsager Town were reduced to ten men when Marsden received a straight red card after he scythed down Buckley and a couple of minutes later, the visitor’s suffered a further setback as Jones smashed home from six yards, following up on Morgan’s cheeky back heel that was cleared off the line.
Jones missed out on a quick second sixty seconds later as he placed his effort a yard or so wide when put through by Buckley. A quick counterattack saw Lawless fire in from twenty five yards and just before the break, the striker got his head onto the end of a Shaun Harris cross but could only guide his effort a yard the wrong side of the post.
It was the same combination that increased the Reds’ lead just before the hour when the left back’s low cross was collected by Lawless, and on the turn from six yards, the striker fired low into the corner past a motionless Coton.
With the points effectively theirs, the Reds eased off the pedal and the ten men of Alsager could count themelves unlucky not to have gotten onto the scoresheet. Sam Aspinall broke through the challenges of Michael Girvan and Jack Sinnott on the edge of the box but placed his effort onto the crossbar with only Lake to beat. The keeper then had to react smartly to an awkward bounce after Barlow’s half volley looked as though it would be a routine collect. Lake then showed his class with a magnificent double save to deny both Aspinall and Leigh Skellern as they both smashed in volleys from eight yards.
In the closing minutes, Anthony Brown twice came close to extending the Reds’ lead but on both occasions, Coton came quickly off his line to prevent the substitute from putting a final gloss to an accomplished performance.
AFC Liverpool 3-0 Alsager Town
AFC Liverpool: 1.Sean Lake 2.Michael Girvan 3.Shaun Harris 4.Jack Sinnott (12.Nevil Picton 75′) 5.Tomas Stewart 6.Steven Williams 7.Ronald Morgan (15.Anthony Brown 78′) 8.Liam Loughlin 9.Steven Jones 10.John Lawless (C) (14.Ryan Wignall 66′) 11.James Buckley
Unused Subs: 16.Ionut (Danny) Cuciorva 25.Dean Pye
Alsager Town: 1.Matthew Coton 2.James Marsden 3.Elliot Ledwards 4.George Barlow (12.James Lunn 84′) 5.Wayne Hughes 6.Ryan Mitchell (C) 7.Sam Aspinall 8.Liam Prince 9.Liam Skellern 10.Matthew Dodwell (15.Sean Turner 41′) 11.Andy Stockton (16.Aiden Matranca 74′)
Unused Sub: 14.Jed Davies
Photo courtesy of Dave Williams