Reds in Reserve: Liverpool 3 Blackburn 3

Posted by -Adam- on April 18, 2005, 09:42:33 PM

This could be my last match report *pause for collective sigh of relief from RAWKites*. This was the reserves last "home" game of the season and Wrexham as a football club might not exist next season (you can help here ). Even if they do survive, our reserves could be playing somewhere else next season as it seems to be the club's policy to rotate each season (Chester, Southport, St Helens etc).

The visitors were Blackburn tonight and the final score was 3-3, it was one of the strangest, but probably the most entertaining games I've seen at The Racecourse this season.

Due to somebody's inability to find a stop or mute button the match started to the sound of Sabrina's 80s classic "Boys Boys Boys" blaring across the pitch. John Welsh certainly found it funny & one player (possibly Darren Potter) carried on singing after the music had stopped.

Liverpool started with some very sloppy possessional play. First Potter, then Mannix gave the ball away, the third player to do so was not to be so lucky. Whitbread was challenged by Blackburn's captain, he won the ball and slipped in the speedy number 9 who slotted calmly passed Harrison into the bottom left corner. 1-0 with barely two minutes on the clock.

Liverpool just couldn't seem to keep the ball. Whitbread again gave it away but they somehow scrambled the ball clear. Again though they found it impossible to keep the ball. Mannix gave the ball away and Liverpool were clinically punished  by the number 9 (again) into the bottom left corner. With only five minutes on the clock we were 2-0 down. Now no offence ladies, but these boys, boys, boys were playing like girls!

Our first attack was on ten minutes. Le Tallec beat his man and squared to Welsh who was in a great position. First he hit an air shot and, amazingly, as he completed his 360 degree pivot he managed to connect at the second time of asking but hit the ball straight at the keeper. Thirty seconds later and Welsh was once more involved; he played a one two and went to roll the ball to the side of the keeper but hit it too close and it was comfortably saved.

The Reds midfield was working hard, if still being quite ineffective going forward. This closing down though allowed Le Tallec to pinch the ball from the Blackburn centre half, he bared down on goal but shot straight at the keeper.

On 28 minutes the hatrick was nearly completed, No 9 for Blackburn again found space coming in from the angle but Harrison came round quickly and tipped the well hit shot over the bar. Five minutes later and Mannix, who seemed intent on trying to hit Hollywood passes all night gave the ball away. Blackburn broke and it fell to the same player again aiming for the same corner but Harrison got a hand to the ball and just tapped it onto the post.

On the stroke of half time Mannix was lucky to stay on the pitch. After being outplayed by the David Batty-like No4 for Blackburn he had a kick at him while he was on the floor and then pushed him in the face when he got up. He was lucky to escape with just a yellow.

As the second half got underway this time we had the sounds of We've Got a Good Thing Going - I couldn't help thinking someone was taking the piss. But apparently not.  Within two minutes of the restart Liverpool were back in the game. The new arrival Phil Townley won a header which fell to Le Tallec. He teed up Partidge who shot for tonight's favourite corner from twenty yards  2-1!

Thirty seconds later and Liverpool were certainly back in it. Barratt crossed from the left wing and it was easy for Le Tallec to tap home from 2 yards out. This was unbelievable enough, but when in the 58th minute Le Tallec glanced a Potter freekick in with a header I was beginning to think my half time pie had been spiked with LSD. 3-2.

What had actually made the difference though, wasn't hallucinogenic drugs, it was the changes made at half time. Hitchin went off and Mannix moved to right back and this really seemed to compose the back four. In midfield Potter dropped deep and really began to dominate proceedings, this made Welsh seem much more comfortable too. Up front Le Tallec was joined by the industrious Townley and he looked much more comfortable with support.

Liverpool really could have extended their lead over the next ten minutes. Townley who was very impressive tonight played a lovely ball across the box, a touch from a defender or an attacker would have been dangerous, but it somehow evaded everyone.

Just after the seventy minute mark Welsh gave the ball away poorly. Blackburn broke and their number 10 made great contact with a cross which beat Harrison all ends up, but failed to beat the upright, bouncing back into the grateful Harrison's hands.

I thought it might just be Liverpool's night, but with less than five minutes of normal time left we failed to clear our lines and the Blackburn number 14 made us pay as he coolly slotted home hard and low from fifteen yards.

Liverpool nearly did seal a victory with seconds remaining. After a corner the ball fell out to Potter who hit a screamer, which unfortunately just lifted over the bar.

At half time I was thinking that I might need to put abject into thesaurus.com but in the end I have to say it was a thoroughly enjoyable game. I don't for a second imply that there is not a lot wrong with our reserves. We are still in danger of relegation and a thirty minute performance with three goals won't paper over the cracks... what it does do for me is show that this team isn't often playing to the level it should and it isn't playing to the sum of its parts.

Tonight I was most disappointed by the apparent lack of desire. Nobody really seemed to talk and I thought Welsh should have done more in his role of captain.

MotM: I'd like to give it to Potter and Le Tallec for their second half performances.

1. Paul Harrison
2. Adam Hitchen / 14. Phil Townley (45)
3. David Raven
4. Daniel O'Donnell
5. Zak Whitbread
6. David Mannix
7. Richie Partridge
8. John Welsh
9. Anthony Le Tallec
10. Darren Potter
11. Paul Barratt

Unused Subs from:-

12. Karl Noon
13. Paul Willis
15. James Frayne


(Sorry for the lack of Blackburn players names, I didn't get a team sheet!)

© AdamS 2005

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