Smicer and Le Tallec return as reserves lose 4-0

Posted by parr on January 29, 2005, 07:56:56 PM

Liverpool Reserves went to Villa Park looking for revenge after their 6-1 defeat against Villa at Wrexham in November, but were given another hiding.

John Welsh captained the side and played the deepest in a five-man midfield with Anthony Le Tallec on his own upfront. Vladimir Smicer was named among the substitutes, while the Villa side featured Martin Laursen and Thomas Hitzlsperger.

The home side should have scored on six minutes when Draclav Drobny put a free header over the bar from a corner, and almost did ten minutes later when Peter Whittingham shot just over from the edge of the area.

Liverpool’s best efforts in the first half-hour came when Le Tallec fired over after a good ball from Potter, and when Potter himself narrowly missed from twenty yards out after Otsemobor’s lay-off.

The Reds were very lucky to survive in the thirty-third minute when Stefan Moore was played in behind and between Raven and O’Donnell. His shot was saved point-blank by Carson, and after a little goalmouth scramble, Luke Moore’s follow up shot was deflected just over.

In the thirty-seventh minute Liverpool could have taken the lead. Jon Otsemobor – playing right wing – cut inside beating a couple of men and then slid the ball across the box, but though Mark Smyth’s touch directed it goalwards, the ball rolled weakly into Postma’s arms.

A minute later Villa did go in front. Luke Moore got a touch of the ball ahead of Danny O’Donnell in the middle of the park then sprinted clear of the Reds’ back line and slid the ball past Scott Carson when one-on-one with Liverpool’s new ‘keeper.

In the forty-second minute Stefan Moore almost got a goal. Raven and Semmy allowed Villa in on the left, the ball was squared for Moore and Whitbread stood off him allowing him to shoot, but he put it just wide of the near post. Villa were finishing the half strongly, and the two Moores combined well to get Whittingham into space, but Warnock recovered superbly and got a tackle in.

Warnock was replaced at half-time with James Smith taking his place at left back.

In the fourth minute of the second half Hitzlsperger missed a great chance after a clever dummy by Stefan Moore. The German is a specialist from long distance but blasted this close-range opportunity over the bar. In the sixty-second minute Smicer made his return from injury replacing David Mannix. Smicer went upfront/just behind Le Tallec as Liverpool switched to 4-4-2/4-4-1-1, and he started very brightly indeed. No sooner had he come on than he had turned, breezed past a man and shot from range – his effort being deflected just wide for a corner.

In the sixty-seventh minute Villa extended their lead. Luke Moore turned away from Zak Whitbread and shot past Carson from a narrow angle. It was one-way traffic from then on, and it could have been three just two minutes later when Luke Moore again got away from Whitbread and set up substitute Craig Gardner. Carson blocked Gardner’s shot, but only as far as Stefan Moore, who managed to sky it with the goal gaping.

Villa made it three in the seventy-third minute with the theme of Whitbread struggling to cope with Luke Moore continuing. Moore used his skill to get away from the centre half before squaring to Whittingham. His shot was blocked but the follow-up from Jamie Ward went straight in.

Two minutes later the home side completed the battering with Luke Moore grabbing his hat-trick. James O’Connor started the move by bringing the ball out of defence, before Hitzlsperger chipped over the defence and Moore lobbed the onrushing Carson.

With eight minutes to go it could have been five when Stefan Moore headed down to Shane Paul but Paul shot straight at Carson. In the eighty-fourth minute Villa did put the ball in the net again, but it was ruled out for offside. It was a good run, one-two and finish from Hitzlsperger, but when he received the ball the second time he was clearly offside.

Liverpool finally threatened to get something back towards the end. First Raven overlapped and crossed for Le Tallec, who had a header blocked before shooting wide from an impossible angle, then a good cut inside from Semmy led to Smicer pulling the ball back for Potter, who shot weakly over the bar.

There was still time for another Villa effort before the end, with Carson tipping the ball over with Dudek-style over-dramatics.

It finished 4-0 to leave our aggregate results against Villa this season as 1-10!

Player Ratings:

Carson – 6 – Couldn’t really fault him for any of the goals and he made some decent saves.

Raven – 6 – Generally solid and got forward to support the attack quite well.

Warnock – 7 – A pretty faultless half defensively.

O’Donnell – 4 – Made a few errors and was half of a central defensive partnership that on the day was poor.

Whitbread – 3 – Completely unable to cope with Luke Moore and made other mistakes, including one occasion when he was embarrassingly caught the wrong side of his man.

Potter – 6 – Passed the ball well and managed to get some efforts in on goal.

Otsemobor – 7 – Struggled to make an impact early on, but as the game went on he managed to take players on and was our biggest threat.

Welsh – 6 – Did his defensive duties well, but his distribution wasn’t great.

Le Tallec – 6 – A couple of nice touches, and was useful as target man, but also blew one very promising counter-attack with a terrible pass. His main problem was lack of service.

Mannix – 3 – Got caught in possession and misplaced passes far too often. A poor display.

Smyth – 4 – Never got the better of opposing right back O’Connor and made little impact at all.

Smicer – 6 – Started with a bang but sadly saw too little of the ball as Villa dominated the second half. There was a worrying moment near the end where he slipped with both legs going in different directions, but after gingerly getting to his feet he seemed to be OK.

Foy – Had little opportunity to show what he can do.

Smith – 6 – Was solid though barely tested.

Villa: Postma, O’Connor, Foley (Gardner 56), Laursen, Drobny (capt.), Whittingham, Ward (Agbonlahor 78), S. Moore, L. Moore (Paul 78), Green, Hitzlsperger.

Unused subs: Olejnik, Kabeya.

Booked: Drobny

Goals: L. Moore (38, 67, 75) Ward (73)

Liverpool: Carson, Raven, Warnock (Smith 46), O’Donnell, Whitbread, Potter, Otsemobor, Welsh (capt.), Le Tallec, Mannix (Smicer 62), Smyth (Foy 74).

Unused subs: Luzi, Wilkie.

Booked: Raven, Welsh.

© parr 2005

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