Vauxhall Motors 1 Liverpool XI 2: match report

Posted by smicer07 on July 31, 2004, 12:29:19 AM

Vauxhall Motors 1 Liverpool XI 2

A beautiful summerís evening, a girl by your side and a football match taking place before your very eyes- who could ask for more? Although this was a pretty meaningless friendly, a few hundred Reds were present at the Rivacre Club in Ellesmere Port this evening.

Two young teams were warming up as we approached the pitch, having paid our 6 pounds entry fee - a bit steep for a pre-season friendly on what is basically the local park pitch. Taking our place right by the dugouts of both teams, I spotted Le Tallec and Welsh straight away, as well as some of the younger lads including Guthrie and Raven. One player notable by his absence was a certain El Hadji Diouf. Having been named in the squad for the game, perhaps he refused to play at such a poor venue, or maybe he is in talks with another side? Rumours of a loan move being imminent are perhaps closer to the truth.

Standing by the dugouts does have its advantages - being able to find out information about certain players is one of them. Hughie McAuley was chatting to people about the fact that Le Tallec was due for trials with St Etienne tomorrow (31st) and that he would cement a 1 year loan deal very soon. This certainly pleased Neil Mellor, who was standing right next to us on the half way line - surprisingly he called Anthony ďLe TallecĒ, hardly a personal name for the lad.

Well, on to the game. The first half started with two apparently very even teams passing the ball around nicely, but with very little end product. The first chance actually fell to Vauxhall, but a shot from distance nearly cleared the clubhouse. Liverpool really should have taken the lead after just 5 minutes, but were denied by a superb save from Vauxhall's Dittmer. The ball was crossed in from the left, but the goalkeeper came out and saved a point blank header from Le Tallec.

Liverpool though then took their foot off the gas, with Welsh particularly ineffective in midfield - I really expected him to be bossing this type of game, but he hardly had a sniff. Vauxhall Motors, buoyed by the recent signing of the ex-Liverpool trainee Tim Dittmer in goal, started the stronger, but Luzi was relatively untroubled in the Liverpool net. Vauxhall were physically a lot stronger than Liverpool, and with two tall and bulky centre backs they were proving tricky to get past. Just as the crowd were beginning to tire of the lack of goal scoring chances, a brilliant Liverpool goal was created.

Taking the ball into midfield, Raven played an excellent through ball down the right side of the Vauxhall defence. This was laid on a plate for Mark Smyth, who tapped in from close range. 1-0 to the Reds.

Following the opening goal, Liverpool came on strongly, but found it hard to create any real openings. Le Tallec was becoming particularly annoyed by the linesmanís flag, and took an age to get back onside - he certainly didnít seem to be giving 100% effort to get back and chase the ball (something which McAuley didnít seem entirely impressed about either). Vauxhall had a great chance with 10 minutes of the half to go as the ball was whipped in from the left, but nobody was in the middle to finish the move off.

As the young autograph hunters surrounded Neil Mellor, Liverpool had a few half chances, with Le Tallec firing well wide and Otsemobor failing to find a decent cross from a good position on the right side of the pitch.

Half time, Vauxhall Motors 0 Liverpool XI 1

After a sausage roll and bar of chocolate, we regained our position behind the dugouts. With the sun slowly setting the floodlights were turned on but the action was once again coming in fits and starts. Vauxhall, as in the first half, started the brighter and had the better attacking play, but seemed weak up front, unable to make the most of their possession in the Liverpool final third.

Luzi was looking impressive taking crosses from corners, and his distribution on the whole was good. His kicking is still a little suspect, and he takes a bit too long to clear back passes, but the rest of his game is excellent.

Liverpool then had a superb chance to make it 2-0. Smyth was put through the middle of the Vauxhall defence, but was denied by an excellent stop from Dittmer when one-on-one. Most of the ground thought it was a certain goal but it was an excellent save yet again. However it wouldn't be long before Liverpool did take the lead following an error by the ex-Liverpool stopper.

The ball was threaded through the Vauxhall defence, and the keeper looked certain to take it comfortably but one of the Vauxhall defenders got in his way, and the ball landed at Smythís feet. He somehow contrived to hit the post from 2 yards out, however the ball landed to Le Tallec who slotted home from 5 yards out. Vauxhall Motors 0 Liverpool XI 2.

The game again went into a lull, with little action at either end and it looked certain to end in a comfortable 2-0 victory for the Reds. However with the Reds changing their backline with a few subs coming on (indeed Otsemobor found himself at left back, where he looked particularly uncomfortable), problems ensued.

Having lost the ball already a few times in dangerous positions, Raven miskicked, leaving the Vauxhall striker clear on goal. Luzi came out to narrow the angle but was beaten by a nice lob into the back of the net. The home fans cheered, but I donít think Hughie was too impressed with the kamikaze defending in the Liverpool defence.

The game then hell into an ebb and flow with Vauxhall having the best chance to score. Luckily the Vauxhall striker fired the ball just wide, and Luzi looked relieved in the Liverpool goal.

Full time, Vauxhall Motors 1 Liverpool XI 2, and just enough time to get back and watch the Geordie get kicked out of Big Bore. A nice end to a nice evening.

Liverpool XI
Luzi 7
Otsemobor 6
Butler (Smith) 6
Raven 5
O'Donnell 6
Guthrie 7
Potter 6
Welsh 6
Smyth 8 (Man of the match)
Le Tallec 7
Foy 6

© Simon Clark 2004

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