AFC Liverpool 0-2 City of Liverpool – FA Vase 2nd Qualifying Round

On Merseyside, we do rivalry well. Here, there are opposing factions that exist to argue over the correlation between Scouseness and colour of wheely bin, after all.

For all the talk of the “friendly” Merseyside Derby of Liverpool and Everton within the Skysphere, those within the city know better. Although both sets of fans coexist within workplaces and even families across the city, there is always needle. On the pitch, the fixture is notorious for having the most red cards of any Premier League game.

To the Reds and the Purples then, there may not be over a century of needle there but this is a Merseyside Derby and with progression in the FA Vase at stake, a big game.

The Reds started with 3 at the back and looked to pack the midfield. Forward George Lomax hoped to continue his goal scoring form and debutant James Howell would look to make an impact from the bench.

The Purples, today in yellow, kicked off towards the main stand and didn’t take long to create something. A decent free kick was swung into a dangerous area but striker Thomas Peterson just headed wide.

City of Liverpool came again and again, as John McGrath used his pace to great effect to create a chance inside the box for Peterson and looked unlucky not to open the scoring himself after a tricky run.

Karl Noon too looked a bright spark for the Purples, quick and skillful down the Reds right hand side, he was a constant thorn in the side in a frantic opening 15 minutes.

A dominant opening to the game for City of Liverpool was eventually rewarded with Noon again a nuisance and the fastest to react. He pounced on an aerial ball and improvised well with an accurate overhead flick to a grateful Danny Dalton who nodded in from 6 yards and left Dom Garner with no chance, 1-0 to the visitors.

The Reds started uncharacteristically slow and nervy but the goal appeared to jolt them into life. They gained confidence and kept the ball better with good link up play between Kev Edgar and Danny Boden, the Purples defended Boden’s effort well though.

AFC attacked in twos and threes and looked wary of exposing themselves to City of Liverpool’s pace on the break but began to test the keeper at least. Boden forced a stop and Adam Weston’s free kick kept Steven James busy between the sticks for a brief spell.

The Purples remained a threat however and Peterson was again unlucky not to score as he came painfully close with a good diving header just before half time. As it was though, City of Liverpool led 1-0 at the break.

AFC Liverpool got the second half underway and now attacking the main stand, looked to improve on a flat opening 45. In this regard, they did not disappoint. The Reds enjoyed a 10-15 minute spell were they played better and fashioned more chances than in the whole first half.

Winger Danny Boden used his pace to break well again and again. Boden played through Lomax who just over hit his cross to Edgar in the middle. Lomax again did good work in and around the City of Liverpool box, just unable to convert his effort and quickly after created a great chance for Joe Whittington who should score.

Football is of course a game of moments and moments decide games.

The Reds had their moments and failed to make them count, at the other end though Thomas Peterson’s persistence was rewarded. McGrath, again involved, worked hard in and around the AFC box and gave Peterson a virtual tap in to double his sides lead, 2-0 City of Liverpool just on the hour mark.

The Reds substitutes were all made within a 15 minute period and were among the few remaining positives for the home supporters. James Howell made his debut in unfortunate circumstances but looked comfortable. Stephen Wilson and Jamie Heron also put in good cameo performances. Although Chris Stammers made positive changes and the lads did well, they were just unable to provide AFC with the break through needed to grab a goal back.

The final quarter of an hour wound down with a sense of inevitability to the result. City of Liverpool continued to probe for a third but AFC defended well and sprung a couple of chances for themselves against the run of play, with Kev Edgar unlucky not to create a goal from nothing.

Tired legs and weary minds saw the foul count increase in the closing minutes of the match. Reds captain Allen Weston was booked against his former side for a hefty and late tackle on McGrath who would have been through on goal. Edgar also saw yellow just before the full time whistle for a clumsy challenge.

The full time whistle was met by a roar from the visiting fans, who as always traveled in vocal numbers to support their team. 2-0 then to City of Liverpool who for my money were the best side to come the Marine Travel Arena this season. Thanks for your contribution to a great event for the City, best of luck in the next round and for the rest of the season.

Commiserations to Chris and the lads. The youthful exuberance, the energy and the skill that has blown a number of teams away so far this season will be back, the side with the steel to come back from 3 down and scrap for points is still there, we will have better days of that I’m sure.

We look now to Hanley Town on Saturday 30th September. We learn, we grow and we go again.

Up the (didn’t want to go to Wembley anyway) Reds.

Match Attendance: 492

AFC Liverpool Line-up:

Dom Garner, Deklan Hill, Allen Weston (c), Christopher Anderson, Jack Fleming, Adam Weston, Oscar Billington, Daniel Boden, Joseph Whittington, Kevin Edgar, George Lomax. Subs: Jack Cookson, Stephen Wilson (Used), Jamie Heron (Used), James Howell (Used), Daniel Dillon.

City of Liverpool Line-up:

Steven James, Luke Denson, Francis Foy, Matthew German, Daniel Dalton, Craig Robinson, Joseph Camozzi, Kevin McEllin, Thomas Peterson, Karl Noon, John McGrath. Subs: John Connolly (Used), Dean Shacklock (Used), Elliott Nevitt, Alexander Meechan (Used), Christopher Lester.

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