Reds in Reserve: Liverpool 1-0 Birmingham

Posted by AdamS on April 3, 2006, 09:47:33 PM

Tonight saw a game at The Racecourse where the visiting team Birmingham failed to have a single shot on target. However it still took Liverpool until the dying moments to force the victory.

This game exposed the shortcomings of what, on the whole, is a very impressive reserve team. The two errant areas that were patently clear for all to see tonight was the lack of a proper finisher and the lack of creativity from central midfield. With Lee Peltier and Hobbs in midfield mainly concentrating on defensive duties, it puts a lot of pressure on Guthrie to provide the spark and if he is marked out of the game or just not on top form we really lack fluency.

On the bench for The Reds tonight was 17 year old Lee Tomlin who is on a trial for Rushden and Diamonds. Also coming back from injury Adam Hammill was back among the substitutes.

The first chance of the game fell to Birmingham. It was the only chance they were able to muster all night and even that one was more down to a Liverpool defensive error. With ten minutes gone the industrious Foy was clearing up at the back but tried to do a little too much. The ball fell the path of McPike but he could only blast over from 18 yards.

After this scrappy start Liverpool started to dominate possession and control the game. The first shot on goal in the match was from Calliste. He turned twenty five yards out and let fly. It was a powerful dipping effort and the impressive Legzdins in goal for Birmingham could only tip over.

On twenty minutes as the ball left the field of play one fan saw his chance and took it. Jumping up from his front row seat he headed the ball back over the advertising hoardings and on to the pitch. Unfortunately for him his shades followed the ball onto the field. Roque, tonight occupying the left back position tried his best to pass them back, but play restarted and he had to rush off.

When the sun had gone down on that brief interlude Liverpool captain Jack Hobbs was again asserting himself in midfield. This time he won the ball with a brilliant tackle, jumped to his feet and slid Anderson in on goal. The youngster was heading away from goal but his first touch set the ball up nicely to be hit right footed on the half volley. He hit it well and got plenty of power but the shot went just wide.

Liverpool's best chances of the half came just before half time. On 43 minutes Roque was the man to win the tackle this time and he opted for a short pass to Foy who looked up and slipped a pass through the defence to Anderson. The defender managed to get a touch forcing Anderson to cut back, before steadying himself and this time shooting with his left. Again he made good contact, but once more failed to hit the target.

A minute later and the lively Anderson was again the protagonist. He chased down a long Martin kick. When all seemed lost he managed to beat City left back Blake to the ball. He cut back inside and as he ran on goal he slipped the ball back to Calliste. The Welsh U21 international shot first time but a diving block from Painter saw the ball ricochet away for a corner.

Half Time: 0-0

Liverpool started the second half as they had finshed the first. Again Blake was beaten, this time by Guthrie. He played a hard and low cross inside the six yard box which Painter did well to intercept, his sliced clearance looping over the crossbar.

Foy had again been looking dangerous tonight and on 54 minutes he produced a lovely piece of skill to beat two men. He then slipped it into Guthrie. He hit a cross field ball to Anderson who beat his man by taking the ball over his head. The young winger the ball on the volley but the end result engendered a sense of deja vu, with probably too good a contact seeing the ball frustratingly fly over the bar.

Tomlin came on for Calliste with twenty five minutes to go. There was plenty of running in him and he was certainly doing his best to make a good impression. Ten minutes after coming on he had a chance. Barragan took a huge throw in from the right wing and Tomlin was first to it. The trialist rose and nodded the ball down toward the bottom corner only to see an alert Legzdins diving to his left to turn the ball behind for a corner.

With just over quarter of an hour to go Hammill came on. He was lively from the minute he got on and nearly scored in the 85th minute. He curled a shot from twenty five yards but again Legzdins was well positioned to turn the ball behind. Liverpool had an impressive corner count but were still yet to register a digit where it counts.

Just when it seemed the game had petered out to a stalemate Tomlin chased down a long and hopeful through ball. He did enough to make the keeper rush his clearance and miskick from just outside the box. Tomlin chased the ball down, turned and fed Hammill. Hammill took a touch, set himself and shot low to the keeper's right hand side but Legzdins made a good save tipping the ball onto the post. Anderson's eyes lit up as he saw the ball bouncing along the goal line and he knew he wasn't going to miss from two yards out. 1-0.

There was an audible sigh of relief from Liverpool fans and players on the final whistle. To have gone away from this game with anything other than a win would have been a huge disappointment.

Full Time: 1-0

Man of the Match: Not an easy choice as there were no real stand out performances. Hobbs was again very strong and a calming influence in midfield, but I'll go for Peltier as he is trying to adapt his game to get forward more to drive the team on. He grew in stature as the game progressed today.

Liverpool: Martin, Barragan, Roque (83, Smith), Antwi, O'Donnell, Hobbs (capt.), Anderson, Peltier, Calliste (65, Tomlin), Guthrie (74, Hammill), Foy

© AdamS 2006

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