AFC Liverpool 2-2 Hanley Town

AFC Liverpool welcomed Hanley Town from The Potteries to Crosby for their final game of the season.

Both teams found themselves mid-table going into the game, with the Reds having opted for youth over experience in several recent fixtures, but there was definite desire to finish the season with a win.

The opening exchanges saw a midfield battle with neither side gaining a clear advantage, but the Reds came close to breaking the deadlock on fifteen minutes as Freddie Champion connected with an audacious overhead kick that hit the inside of the post and rebounded out.

Five minutes later the spell of pressure paid off as Connor Grainger slipped his marker and let loose a twenty yard strike that easily beat Michael Morton in the Hanley goal, and the Reds had the lead.

A glancing header nearly produced a second for the home side, but AFC began to repeat mistakes that had been made too often of late, giving the ball away too cheaply and inviting pressure from the visitors, with keeper Dominic Garner just managing to save a Theo Stair shot.

On thirty-two minutes Hanley had their equaliser as Jonathan Sheldon went unchallenged to send a cross goalwards, and Joshua Thorpe was first to the ball sending a looping header over Garner which nestled in the side netting.

Just two minutes later the visitors took the lead as the Reds failed to clear the halfway line and were bullied off the ball. Another unchallenged run to the byline produced another cross leaving Hanley’s Daniel Cope with a simple tap in, and the score remained 1-2 at the break.

AFC Liverpool came out of the dressing room with more purpose, and were unlucky not to be given a penalty as Emini Adegbenro was tripped in the box, but without a clear view, it was not given by the referee.

The Reds kept up the pressure and Champion went close again with a header just going wide from Francis Smith’s corner kick.

On sixty minutes, after a concerted spell of pressure, Reds captain Jonathon Swatton was fouled in the area and after consulting his assistant, the referee pointed to the spot, and sent off Thorpe for his second bookable offence.

Mikey White stepped up for the penalty and fired coolly into the bottom corner to equalise for the Reds.

With the numerical advantage AFC Liverpool pressed for a winner. The ball was blocked by a last ditch tackle as Adegbenro was about to pull the trigger, and Jack Leamey’s tame effort was well saved.

With two minutes to go Hanley won a free kick on the edge of the area, but Stair’s cross was headed skyward by Martin Stanyer. The Reds broke forward and Champion’s cross in injury time saw Adegbenro rise unchallenged for a free header that sailed inches over the bar and the chance to take all three points was lost.

Full match report to follow:

AFC Liverpool 2-2 Hanley Town
Grainger 20’                      Thorpe 32’
White 63’ pen                    Cope 34’

Att: 128

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