Reds in Reserve: Liverpool 2-0 Wigan

Posted by AdamS on March 20, 2006, 10:03:50 PM

I was accompanied to The Racecourse ground for tonight's reserve fixture by a Finnish Red and the weather must have made him feel at home. It was bitterly cold. Also making an appearance was Robbie Fowler who can't be involved for the first team tomorrow as he's cup tied. The other notable name in the line up was Micky Roque, notable because he was playing in centre midfield. He was outstanding though and turned in a man of the match performance as the Reds ran out deserved 2-0 winners.

As is often the case at this level there was a slow start to the game. The first twenty minutes saw only one decent opportunity. Hobbs won the ball in midfield in the fourth minute and played in Foy, he cut inside his man and shot low and with power. Despite Roque cheering "Yeah" Foy's shot was just wide of the keeper's upright.

Twenty minutes later and Wigan should have taken the lead. Johannson was provided with a great opportunity to score but managed to somehow shoot over from three yards. The game was beginning to develop and Liverpool should really have created a goal scoring opportunity as they broke with three men against two. Foy slipped in Guthrie who was having a quiet night so far. Guthrie checked back when he may have been better advised to run in on goal and the momentum was lost.

Robbie Fowler who had spent much of the evening practising energy conservation burst into life on the half hour mark. He broke in from the left wing, beat his man and was unlucky not to find the orange tanned Foy with a low cross.

Towards the later stages of the half Wigan started to take control. Godwin was booked on 35 minutes for a foul just outside the box and five minutes later the hapless Johannson managed to miss one of the easiest headers you are ever likely to see. This time he was all of two yards out.

In the last minute of the half Liverpool were unlucky not to take the lead. Guthrie fed Foy who turned brilliantly and shot low to the keeper's left. Walsh managed to tip the ball around the post for a corner. Liverpool didn't have to wait long though. From the corner Hobbs leapt high above the Wigan defence and headed on goal. His effort should have been easily gathered but ex-manc Walsh dropped onto Robbie Fowler's toe and unlike Johannson, Fowler doesn't miss from there.

It to be was Fowler's last kick as he was replaced at half time by Calliste. Liverpool dominated the second half. Roque and Hobbs were excellent in their midfield battle against Matt Jackson and Damien Francis. Hobbs' whole demeanour on the pitch belies his age. He has a real presence and is clearly a leader of men. He's justifying the decision to make him captain.

Guthrie started the second half much better. He was involved in everything that was good. He nearly got on the score sheet after a great move down the left he cut in on his right foot and beat the keeper but he also managed to just beat the post as his shot flew wide.

Three minutes later and Guthrie was involved again. This time he sprayed a great crossfield pass to Foy. Foy took it down brilliantly before firing in from a tricky angle. 2-0.

With twenty minutes to go Roque displayed a tremendous piece of skill. After initially slightly miscontrolling it he turned two men at once. That was enough to draw gasps from the frozen crowd but he added to it by spraying a cross field ball with the outside of his right foot which Foy again nearly capitalised on, this time not managing to hit the target.

Martin was called upon to make the first save he's had to for weeks when Mahon and Connoly exchanged passes. From only a few yards out Mahon shot and Martin did brilliantly flinging himself down to his left.

Ryan Flynn was introduced with ten minutes remaining and in the short space of time he had he really impressed. Just moments after coming on he made a great run beyond the strikers and cut in teeing Calliste up. Calliste dug the ball out from under his feet but smashed over.

Flynn was the provider not the runner in the next move. He played out a great ball to Anderson who beat his man and found the unmarked Calliste in the area. Calliste displaying what he'd recently learned at the Andreas Johannson school of finishing calmly smashed the ball into row Z.

The whistle soon blew on what was another impressive night. Although Wigan had chances Liverpool's youngsters are really growing as a unit. Roll on Villa on Thursday.

Final Score: Liverpool 2-0 Wigan

Man of the Match: Miguel Roque Absolutely tremendous in midfield. Always looking for the ball and very comfortable in an advanced position.

Liverpool Team: Martin, Barragan, Smith, Antwi, O'Donnell, Roque (81, Flynn), Anderson, Hobbs, Fowler (45, Calliste), Guthrie (Lindfield 84), Foy.

© AdamS 2006

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