Reds in Reserve: Liverpool 0 Boro 2

Posted by liverweb on March 29, 2006, 11:47:47 AM

Liverweb Reserves Match Report

Liverpool 0 Middlesboro 2

Liverpool: Martin, Barragan, Woods, Roque, Antwi, O'Donnell, Peltier, Hobbs (capt.), Foy, Anderson, Guthrie

Subs: Calliste for Anderson(HT), Lindfield for Woods(69), Flynn for Hobbs(85)

Unused subs: Lancaster, Threlfall

Liverpool reserves slumped to a 2-0 win at home to Middlesboro last night. A very youthful Reds side played in the cold, rain and wind that is typical of the academy. The game was switched from Wrexham and a couple of hundred fans braved the elements to watch this one. The loss was cruel on the balance of the whole game which saw a dull and uninteresting first half spark into more life come the second.

The Reds got the game underway defending the academy end in the first half and played with three at the back. O'Donnell, Antwi and Roque forged a back line with Calum Woods and Antonio Barragan making up the wing back positions. The first chance for the Reds came on three minutes when Paul Anderson chased down a long ball. Having hassled the defender his clearance bounced off him and Anderson went clear only to blaze his shot high and wide of the goal.

Boro's first real threat came on eight minutes when Adam Johnson attacked down the left. He left Barragan on the seat of his pants only to then cross too deep for Craddock. Six minutes later and from the opposite flank Boro attacked but Calum Woods was back well to clear the danger when the cross was put in. Woods was again in defensive action four minutes later when he was needed to clear a ball from Craddock who had cut in from their right hand side.

The Reds were looking quite ordinary up front but with no recognised striker on the pitch its hardly a wonder. Guthrie played a superb ball round the back of the defence midway through the half for Anderson but his shot from fifteen yards was easily saved by the keeper. The half was a dull affair though from now on and there was nothing to note down. The good thing about that was it did at least mean I could get me hands in my pockets to stay warm.

Boro were out first for the second half and ready for the action. The Reds came out and made a change, bring on Ramon Calliste for Paul Anderson. The one other change was that the referee had changed as well. The lino from my side of the pitch had now become ref and the fourth official was forced to run the line.

The Reds had the first chance of the half and they both fell to Calum Woods. First of all he headed goalwards only to see it cleared. Calliste then played the ball back in and Woods, who hadn't moved then volleyed at goal only to see David Knight save well.

Four minutes in to the half and the Reds were cruelly behind. Adam Johnson had a shot on goal which Martin would have had covered but it deflected away off Roque to the opposite side of the goal and Martin slipped in his attempt to change his direction. It was a cruel blow but at least the Reds had plenty of time to rally and at least now had a forward on the pitch as well.

A minute after the goal and Lee Peltier strode forward but his shot from distance went side of the goal. Antonio Barragan had an impressive second half and on fifty four minutes he tried to take on every Boro player in his attempt to score. After weaving his way past them all he finished his routine with a woeful shot. It was encouraging though at least. On fifty eight minutes the Reds should have been back in the game and if Danny O'Donnell can explain his miss I'd be very interested. Robbie Foy played a corner ball in and it fell to the defender just three yards from goal, unmarked. Somehow he managed to head the ball over the bar when it looked easier to score.

Just after the hour mark Calliste held the ball up well before playing Robbie Foy in but his shot went straight at the keeper. The Reds made a second switch on sixty nine minutes when Craig Lindfield arrived for Calum Woods and the Reds went back to a normal 442 style. It actually helped the Reds quite a bit to have the shape like this. Within a minute of coming on Lindfield should have equalised. He was played in round the back and with the flag rightly down he was through on goal. He was pulled back which had he gone down would surely have been a red card. However Lindfield stayed up and as he reached the area shaped to go around him but saw his shot saved by Knight. The big defender also got away with his earlier tug on Lindfield although a yellow card or at least a talking to was merited.

The Reds were by far the better side now and surely a goal would come. On seventy three minutes they very nearly did as well. Barragan again found space down the right hand side. His cross was deflected up and towards the goal only for Knight to tip on to his bar. The ball fell two yards out to Calliste who tapped the ball to the keeper when he should have been bursting the net.

With the clock ticking down Ryan Flynn was sent on for the final five minutes in place of Jack Hobbs. O'Donnell took the captains armband and the Reds went in search again of the equalising goal. With the Reds pushing forward the were hit by the sucker punch with a minute to go. Peltier lost the ball in midfield and Boro raced forward. The Reds seemed to be all over the pace at the back at this point and Graeme Owens shot home past Martin off the leg of O'Donnell.

With just a couple of added minutes the final whistle went and the Reds had lost 2-0. This was a very cruel defeat given all the effort from the Reds. Half of me looks back at the game now and wonders why we never started with at least one true striker in the first half. Anderson and Foy are not strikers but being asked to fill that void which isn't fair, especially when you have two strikers on the bench.

Man of the Match: Lee Peltier had a sterling game in the centre of midfield. The vote certainly wasn't swayed by the fact I was stood next to his dad either. Danny Guthrie and Antonio Barragan also had excellent second halves to the game but Peltier swings the vote for his performance over the full ninety.

© Andy Philip, Liverweb 2006

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