Daisy Hill 0-6 AFC Liverpool

AFC Liverpool travelled to Daisy Hill’s New Sirs ground on Monday evening and put in a dominant performance from start to finish.

The Reds set out their stall early with two attempts from Jay McGrane and Rhys Hardacre going just wide. In the 8th minute, Harry Avis let loose a shot that had the keeper beaten but it pinged straight back off the post, and was eventually cleared. The Reds had another chance two minutes later as Jay McGrane fizzed a dangerous ball across goal, but it was put out by a Daisy Hill boot before it could reach Jay Howell at the far post.

It seemed only a matter of time before AFC Liverpool scored and it came in the 11th minute with a free kick from Rhys Hardacre. The ball was whipped in low towards the penalty spot and it found Jon Croasdale who took a touch and tapped it past the keeper.

Rhys Hardacre took another free kick minutes later, hitting the ball sweetly, but it rattled the crossbar, flew up straight in the air and eventually landed behind the line.

The Reds soon doubled their lead on 26 minutes as Jordan Foster scored on his full debut. The pacy forward made a fantastic effort to beat his man and slot under the keeper from a tight angle.

In the 35th minute, Foster turned provider as he made a deft chip through to Jay Howell who finished neatly at the near post to make the Reds three goals to the good. To cap an excellent twenty minute spell, Foster then got his head on to a deep cross, but the spin of the ball took the effort just wide of the post. The Reds went in three nil up at half time.

Five minutes into the second half Jay McGrane was brought down in the box, the referee pointed to the spot and Rhys Hardacre stepped up to the penalty, sending keeper Ryan Walker the wrong way.

Jordan Foster saw a yellow for what appeared to be a fair challenge, and the game began to see some more physical challenges from the hosts, but the Reds remained undeterred as Callum Ruttledge fired in a powerful long-range strike from the left wing to sting the palms of Walker

The goals kept coming for the Reds as Jon Croasdale got his second of the evening in the 64th minute, getting a clean header from a corner. There was an attempted clearance on the line, but the bounce beat the defender and it sneaked in to ripple the side netting.

Anthony Lyons replaced Foster and gave the Reds an added dimension with a hard-working physical performance that the Daisy Hill defence struggled to handle. The Reds were advancing at will now and they soon got their sixth goal on 68 minutes. Jay McGrane broke free of his marker and powered forward, slotting the ball under the advancing keeper.

Sonny Parr made way for Mike Jones, and Jay McGrane was replaced by Jamie Sproule making his Reds debut.

With ten minutes left,  Lyons continued his towering display as he swept his marker aside on the halfway line, played a superb ball to Hardacre, who in turn made an excellent through-ball to Sproule. The young forward fired past Walker only to see the shot rebound back off the post and was unlucky not to make it 7 (seven).

Another chance for Hardacre as another free kick was curled in, only to hit the side netting, and the referee blew the whistle soon after to end Daisy Hill’s miserable evening. For the Reds however, it was the kick-start needed for the league campaign as they leapt into the top half of the table.

Man of the Match: Jonathan Croasdale.

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