St. Helens Town 0-9 (nine) AFC Liverpool

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AFC Liverpool stormed to a record-breaking nine goal victory completing outclassing St. Helens Town in every department.

The Reds could have been out of sight before half-time with several good chances missed. Ionut “Danny” Cuciorva immediately caused problems for St. Helens with several marauding runs down the left, and sending in pinpoint crosses to both Ryan Cox and James Robinson who both sent their headers over the bar.

A nasty clash of heads between Muktar Mahama and Town defender Edward Richardson led to a delay on nine minutes. When play resumed Mahama was immediately involved in setting up Cox, but the strike was deflected wide. Minutes later the same two players combined again, as Muktar whipped in a fantastic cross, but Cox directed his header just wide with the keeper beaten.

For the remainder of the half it was Reds forward James Robinson who caught the eye, being involved in virtually every AFC Liverpool attack. Showing superb workrate, he set up chances for Cox and Carl Peers, and had a shot over the bar from distance himself. On thirty-six minutes he prevented a lost cause ball from going into touch, cut back in-field, beating two men, before being scythed down in the area, with the referee inexplicably not giving the penalty kick.

A minute later, St. Helens attempted to claim a penalty of their own, waved away by the referee as Jack Sinnott made an excellent tackle, but it only reinforced how much the Reds needed to make their many chances start to count in the match. Fortunately in the forty-fourth minute, they finally got the lead they deserved. Under pressure, Robinson released the ball to Mahama down the right. The cross into the box caused a goalmouth scramble, with the ball finally coming to the feet of Carl Peers, who slotted the ball home into the bottom left corner.

The lead was doubled in stoppage time with a superb team goal. With AFC passing the ball around with ease, Robinson made a run into the area, but initially looked to have surrounded himself with St. Helens defenders. Mahama was available out wide, but with a sublime chip, Robinson anticipated the run of Cox, who was sneaking in behind into the six yard box, and the Reds top scorer allowed the ball to come down before blasting it across the keeper into the net.

AFC continued their confident passing game as play resumed and St. Helens simply had no answer. Robinson capped an excellent performance with the third goal. Having been initially dispossessed just inside the Saints half, he fought to win the ball back, and then broke free of his marker to run on goal unchallenged, smashing the ball beyond Saints keeper Rory Crowther on fifty minutes.

The floodgates opened and the Reds seemed unplayable at times. The home side did occasionally muster an attack of their own, but never looked like scoring. Michael Girvan and Jack Sinnott worked hard to keep St. Helens at bay, and Ryan Jones in the Reds’ goal only had simple saves to make from a couple of weak long-range shots.

Francis Barry scored AFC Liverpool’s fourth on fifty-one minutes, as he received the ball from wide right on the edge of the area. He was allowed to turn and shoot in one flowing movement, finding the space between Crowther and the right post.

Cox got his second of the game on sixty-three minutes after a poor clearance by Crowther following another Robinson attempt. Cox intercepted midway into the Saints half, avoided a challenge and struck from distance beyond the keeper.

The result secured, Paul Moore could afford to rest players, and Sean Calland was introduced to replace Robinson. Cox clearly wanted a hat-trick for the second Saturday running, but his long range strike was saved by Crowther. On seventy-three minutes, another scuffed clearance from St. Helens came out to Joshua Purcell, already well inside the area, and the winger finished clinically to make it six.

Nathan Valentine was replaced by Elvis Banyihwabe, and Mahama was replaced by the returning Darren Torpey, and it would have been more than acceptable for the Reds to see out the game with the six goal advantage, but Paul Moores’ side were not done with scoring. Calland showed great composure as he received a through-ball to the right of goal, and beat the advancing keeper on eighty-four minutes to score his first for the club.

Cox completed his hat-trick two minutes later with an almost identical goal, with the Town defence non-existent by this stage. The only question was could the Reds beat their previous record scoreline of eight goals, and it was Francis Barry who answered, scoring his second in the ninetieth minute to complete the rout.

AFC Liverpool fans were jubilant, celebrating their record nine goal haul. The Reds rise to second in the league, reducing the gap to six points between themselves and leaders Runcorn Linnets, who could only manage a draw at Bootle.

St Helens Town 0-9 (nine) AFC Liverpool
.                                            Peers 44
.                                            Cox 45+3,  63, 86
.                                            Robinson 50
.                                            Barry 52, 90
.                                            Purcell 73
.                                            Calland 84

St. Helens Town: 1.Rory Crowther, 2.Lewis Saunders 3.Edward Richardson (12.Joseph Peers 45’) 4.Hamish Falconer 5.Aaron Morris 6.Jack McKay (15.Paul Cook-Hannah 80’) 7.Andrew Gillespie (C) 8.Christopher Cottington 9.Chad Whyte 10.James Rushton-Woods 11.Marcus Perry

Unused Subs: 14.Alexander Gillespie

AFC Liverpool: 1.Ryan Jones 2.Michael Girvan 3.Muktar Mahama (15. Darren Torpey 79’) 4.Jack Sinnott (C) 5.Ionut Curciova 6.Carl Peers 7.Joshua Purcell 8.Nathan Valentine (16. Elvis Banyihwabe 72’) 9.James Robinson (12.Sean Calland 65’) 10.Francis Barry 11.Ryan Cox

Unused Subs: 14.Ryan Dobney 17.Declan Morgan

Photo courtesy of Dave Williams

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