Bootle 3-3 AFC Liverpool

AFC Liverpool made the short trip to the TDS Solicitors Stadium for a midweek local derby against Bootle. The match started at a lively tempo, and there was an early chance for the Reds from a corner in the 4th minute. There was a scramble in the box and Mason Nevitt tested Ryan Jones who punched the ball clear.

The visitors continued their early dominance, pressing the Bootle midfield and it led to an early goal in the 11th minute. Elliot Nevitt closed down a poor clearance from Jones, and he took the ball away from the approaching keeper and slotted it home.

The Bucks began to find a foothold in the game following the opener. Mason Nevitt went in the book for a late challenge in the centre circle in the 21st minute. The resulting free kick saw Bootle break down the right side, and a cross-field ball picked out Ryan Cox in space. The former AFC striker cut in from the edge of the box and curled the ball perfectly around Jack Cookson for the equaliser.

There was another chance for AFC involving the Nevitt brothers on 26 minutes, as Elliot was put through on goal again but his shot was blocked by an outstretched leg. Mason then came in with the follow up strike but the retreating defenders managed to put it out of play. On the half hour mark, Cox had a similar attempt to his goal from a narrow angle, but this time it sailed over the bar.

As the half drew to a close, the Reds were holding firm whilst causing problems on the break. Mason Nevitt tried a cheeky back heel following a goalmouth scramble, but the flag was raised for offside. From the free kick, Bootle broke forward and a cross from former Red Danny Boden beat everyone at the back post and went out of play.

A weak clearance ensured the Bucks maintained pressure but Chris Brady made a vital clearance off the goal-line. Immediately Elliot Nevitt was released on another run, but his shot at the other end was just off-target. Bootle had time to retaliate however, and Jack Cookson produced a spectacular save on the stroke of half-time to keep the score at 1-1.

Anthony Lyons replaced Calum Woods as a half time substitute for the Reds, and the game quickly settled into a tit-for-tat series of attacks at each end, and it became clear the teams were well matched.

In the 56th minute it was the home side who edged in front with another goal from Cox who stabbed the ball home on the rebound after Cookson had blocked a strike from Andy Gillespie. The Reds seemed to be struggling and needed some fresh legs and they got it from Rhys Hardacre who came on replacing Mason Nevitt, and Harry Avis replaced Bradley Owens.

On 72 minutes, the Reds worked their way back into the game after a Sonny Parr corner caused panic in the Bootle defence. The ball was knocked on across the six-yard box, eventually reaching Elliot Nevitt who tapped in at the back post to claim his second of the game.

The game seemed to be heading for a draw as time ticked on, but the visiting support was sent into rapture in the 90th minute as Rhys Hardacre picked up the ball in his own half following a clearance, and suddenly he was powering forward into space. His pass found Anthony Lyons on the edge of the area, and the forward shook his marker and sent a composed shot beyond Jones to make it 2-3

There was an amount of time added on to be played however, and it was heartbreak for the visitors as another goalmouth scramble on 90+4 minutes saw the ball fall to Bootle substitute Kevin Edgar, and he stabbed it home to make it 3-3.

Once the whistle was blown and the dust had settled, however, the disappointment of the late equaliser was tempered by the excellent performance and could still be seen as an important point gained in the battle for Premier Division survival.

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