AFC Liverpool 0-5 City of Liverpool

One step forward and two steps back for AFC Liverpool this week. After earning a point with a determined, battling performance away at a good Charnock Richard side on Tuesday, The Reds didn’t turn up today and handed City of Liverpool one of their easiest wins of the campaign.

The match looked a contest for only the first 10 minutes as both sides looked to get in behind and a number of strong but fair tackles set the correct tone for a local derby. Beyond the opening minutes however, AFC looked nervous and appeared to play within themselves, not too dissimilar to when the sides met in the FA Vase back in September.

Conversely, City of Liverpool looked confident and moved the ball quickly between the lines and with purpose towards their forward line. The visitors broke the deadlock after 16 minutes through Francis Smith after John Connolly cut in from the left flank and provided the assist.

The Reds struggled to respond, ceding possession far too easily, making it difficult to build any sort of momentum. When AFC Liverpool did probe in behind, their forward line were kept quiet by the City of Liverpool defence, with Craig Robinson and Anthony Brown in particular winning most of what came near them. At the other end, skipper Lee McConchie and Callum Edgar stood out defensively for AFC, though they had far more to do than their opposite numbers.

City of Liverpool were gifted a second goal shortly before half time after Jack Hazelhurst pounced on a loose pass, took a touch on the edge of the area and struck it hard and low into the corner beyond Dom Garner.

AFC Liverpool trailed 2-0 at the break and a change in mentality and intensity was desperately needed for the second 45. Unfortunately, The Reds were to serve up more of the same.

The second half started and things remained far too comfortable for City of Liverpool. With little urgency or coordination in the press, passes were pinged over and around The Reds with ease and when possession was regained there was a swarm of purple shirts hungry to snuff out any threat at the source.

Just after the hour mark, the visitors extended their lead further through John Connolly and then David Forbes made it 4 for City of Liverpool with 20 minutes to go. The Reds far too soft, too easy to get at down the wings and City of Liverpool much too ruthless and pounced on any and all mistakes.

Substitute Dean Shacklock made it 5 for the visitors in the 90th minute after The Reds lost possession in their own half. A well weighted through ball and a calm one-on-one finish from Shacklock capped off an abject display and miserable afternoon for AFC Liverpool.

Performances have certainly improved of late but there were worrying signs of old habits creeping back in and so a strong response is essential over the next two games. A Macron Cup third round tie at home to Ashton Athletic on Wednesday is the perfect opportunity for these lads to purge all memory of today’s defeat and also to provide the supporters with the cup run they deserve. Our third successive home game against Congleton Town will then follow next Saturday in the league and with points up for grabs, a positive response is vital.

While our desire and ambition is to have more cup games beyond Wednesday to play, this is never guaranteed and we have to prove we want it. The league picture is crystal clear though, we know how many league games remain. 14 games remain. Each one our biggest of the season.

AFC Liverpool Line-up:

Dominic Garner, Christopher Brady, Bradley Owens, Dylan Fitzsimmons, Callum Edgar, Lee McConchie (c), James Howell, Calum Woods, Callum Schorah, Leon Arnasalam, Harry Avis. Subs: Deklan Hill (Used), Jack Cookson (GK), Christopher Anderson (Used), Callum Ruttledge, Ellis Wrench (Used).

City of Liverpool Line-up:

Ben Ascroft, Luke Denson, Francis Foy, Kevin McEllin, Anthony Brown, Craig Robinson, Joseph Camozzi (c), Francis Smith, David Forbes, John Connolly, Jack Hazelhurst. Subs: Jack Kelleher (Used), Dean Shacklock (Used), Dermot McVeigh (Used), Jack Irlam, Alex Davies.

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