U18s Academy Match Report: Liverpool 2 Ipswich Town 3

Posted by Rushian on August 29, 2005, 12:21:14 AM

Liverweb Academy Match Report

Liverpool: Roberts, Holmes, Darby, Spearing, Threlfall, Smith, Ryan, Flynn, Woodward, Lindfield, Barratt

Subs Used: Barnett for Smith, Frayne for Woodward, Nardiello for Lindfield

Subs Unused: Mimms, Behan

Match Photographs: http://www.liverweb.org.uk/ipsacad0506photos.htm

The Reds went down fighting to a 3-2 home defeat against a side further on in their development. Ipswich were a big side make no mistake about it and my first fears were that we'd struggle throughout in the air.

This was my first academy match of the season and although part of my mind was remembering how poor the last few sides have been under the current coach I also had half a mind on the fact that this side was a team that have come through known as Heighway's dream team. It ended up pretty much as a game of two halves as well. The first half saw players out of position and not playing as a team. Come the second half and Heighway himself wandered down to the touchline and seemed to take over. Players were switched around and we made a really good game of things.

Liverpool got the game underway defending the building end of the pitch. There's a new shed dugout this year as well. Ipswich as I expected were the team who settled quickest. It took them just six minutes as well to open the scoring. Danny Haynes capitalised on a loose ball from Threlfall and charged into the are before striking a shot across Roberts and into the bottom corner.

Ipswich continued to press forward and time and again they were creating openings at the back. Roberts was out well on nine and a half minutes to tip a shot over after the Tractor boys got in behind Holmes and Spearing. The Reds had the ball in the net on thirteen minutes and it came after their first decent move of the game. Lindfield picked the ball up wide right and sent in a deep cross to the back post. Woodward jumped but the keeper got himself in front of him and gathered the ball. As the keeper fell he let the ball fall into the net. It was disallowed though by the ref as is usual these days in the world of the over-protected keeper.

Ipswich were nearly two up on seventeen minutes and really should have been. Sheringham broke clear of the Reds back line but as he took one touch too many Roberts was out of his goal and blocked the first shot. As it fell Trotter hit he follow up shot but Franny Smith got in the way and the danger was cleared.

The Reds slowly started to settle down now and play better football without ever really looking dangerous. Much of their play was square and back forward square and back. With Jimmy Ryan naturally coming inside to the middle we had little width on the right hand side to use.

The scoreline was made worse on thirty five minutes when Ipswich scored again. Haynes laid a ball to Moore who crossed in from the right hand side. Liam Craig came in and slammed the ball home for the visitors to make it 2-0. It was nearly worse still on forty one minutes but Spearing was back superbly well to make a goal saving tackle in a one on one with Roberts.

The Reds pushed forward as half time approached and Lindfield had a chance on half time. He tried to stretch in the air just like Thierry Henry but just failed to get enough on the ball to push it goalwards. The ref blew his whistle but the Reds needed heir trainer to see to Lindfield before he walked off seemingly winded from the fall.

There was one thing on my mind at half time and that was changes. Jimmy Ryan is a good player but wasted on the right. He had to come inside and battle it out there and let Charlie Barnett play right side which is far more natural to him. The second half started though without any changes at all.

The Reds were nearly three down on fifty minutes when captain Francis Smith lost easy possession midway in his own half. The ball was pushed right but Sheringham blasted his shot over the bar as Roberts narrowed the angle a bit. A minute later and the Reds had the ball in the net. Ryan Flynn had a shot from the edge of the area but never got hold of it and it was deflected right side. Jimmy Ryan picked it up and drove in a dangerous cross/shot. Krause stuck a leg out or Ipswich to stop the cross but could only deflect it past Garnham in the Ipswich goal. 2-1 and something to build on now.

That would last just six minutes before Ipswich scored a third. Haverson came on to replace Sheringham and he was involved in the goal. Trotter crossed a ball in which Roberts and Haverson went for. Roberts dropped the cross though and Craig will never have an easier goal to tap in.

By this point Steve Heighway had been down on the touchline for a while talking to the team and advising on positions etc; Well it wasn't like our coach was saying much. On fifty eight minutes a triple switch was made - Barnett, Frayne and Nardiello came on for Woodward, Smith and Lindfield. Jay Spearing took over the captain's armband.

It would only take ten minutes to get one goal back. Before that though Nardiello found himself booked for what I can only describe as a poor challenge. He dragged his studs down his man in a challenge that didn't need to be made. Cards are a rare sight at this level so this should tell you how poor this was.

On sixty eight minutes it was 2-3. James Frayne his a great shot that looped over the keeper thanks to a deflection and bounced over the line. Nardiello made doubly sure with a headed tap in from a yard but from my vantage point it was Frayne's goal.

The Reds with only a goal to get back now really started to play well. Ryan was now in the middle and able to influence the play more. Barnett gave natural width to the right hand side and the Reds were making a good Ipswich side look ordinary.

The disappointing thing was that in the final minutes despite pressure the best chances came as headers which although on target were too easy for the keeper. Nardiello twice had close range headers that went straight to the keeper. So after three minutes of added on time the Reds were left in defeat but not disgrace.

The fight in this side must be developed, as they showed with that grit they can be a match for most sides despite the majority of the players being in their first year. There is certainly hope here for the Reds and with the right nurturing of players we can hopefully produce a decent season.

MotM: Jay Spearing - consistent performer throughout the game and with our without the armband on is the most vocal player getting the players going throughout.

© Andy Philip, Liverweb 2005

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