U18s Academy Match Report: Liverpool 1 Bolton 0

Posted by liverweb on October 12, 2004, 09:37:12 AM

Liverpool : Lancaster, Peltier, D.Smith, J.Smith, O'Donnell (capt.), Barratt, Guthrie, Wilkie, Noon, Platt, Hamill

Subs Used : Mark Roberts for Conal Platt (83), Phil Townley for Karl Noon (86)
Subs Unused : Willis, F.Smith, Frayne

The game didn't start before a minute's silence was held for Ken Bigley. Bigley was a local man gruesomely murdered in Iraq and the silence was moving to say the least.

Bolton got the game underway attacking the academy building end of the pitch in the first half. However it was the Reds who were out of the traps quickest in this one and remained the better side throughout the match. The one nil scoreline was just about deserved and included a sending off for the Reds quickly followed by a penalty save by keeper Paul Lancaster.

The first real chance fell to the Reds on just four minutes as Conal Platt played a ball down the inside left channel. Karl Noon worked hard to win the ball and squared it across goal towards Hammill coming in but the ball was cut out for a corner and the chance went begging.

Although the Reds were the slightly better side they didn't look to have much cutting edge. The whole team in fact looked disjointed. Dale Whitehead of Bolton saw yellow when he cynically brought Barratt down from behind on sixteen minutes. Up at the other end a minute later Bolton should have done better as Kribib raced on to a through ball that split the Reds defence open but his shot went straight across the face of the goal.

On twenty five minutes tempers looked like they might just fly as one crunching tackle followed another. The one that started it was from Lee Peltier on Jamie Gibb of Bolton who stayed down as a result. The referee did allow play to continue though.

For me the big controversy came on twenty nine minutes play as Jaroslaw Fojut stayed on the pitch. Adam Hammill was racing through towards goal when Fojut brought him down just outside the area and as last man clearly should've walked. However the Reds won the free kick but saw the defender merely booked. It really was a scandalous decision and to make it worse Guthrie could only hit the bar from the free kick.

Adam Hammill has a shot across goal on thirty five minutes but it was only about this time that he was finally starting to move fully again after the earlier incident. Paul Lancaster was called into action just on the stroke of half time when he was out quickly to smother a through ball.

The Reds got the second half underway without changes being made in personnel or system shape. John Owens was a bit more vocal in the first half than usual but this side just doesn't look right. Whether things are happening off the pitch with the players or the coaching isn't right I don't know but the side just don't look right.

Two minutes into the half Danny Guthrie got a good ball across the six yard box but it was past everyone to the back and was cleared. The Reds pressed on as the ball fell to them again and this time Paul Barratt went through about three tackles but as he tried to pull the ball back for Hammill it was cleared.

Ryan Wilkie was the star on fifty five minutes as he headed a goalbound header off the line after Lancaster had misjudged the cross. Wilkie was well placed on the far post and his header was important. There was a follow up shot but Lancaster saved that one well.

The Reds broke the deadlock on sixty two minutes through Conal Platt. The move started down the left flank through Hammill and he put in a good cross but it evaded everyone to the back post. Noon however chased the ball down and won it back. He drilled the ball in towards the near post and managed to flick it into the net before the keeper could grab the ball.

Karl Noon headed off target a couple of minutes later as he tried to extend the lead. On seventy one minutes you really saw how the fact that so few people are around the academy that you hear everything the players shout. The Reds had been awarded a free kick on their own six yard box which Lancaster played out to O'Donnell. The defender picked the ball up just inside the area and strode forwards. The lino flagged complaining it hadn't got out of the area to which you could all hear Lancaster shouting that it was a free kick not a goal kick you Divvy. Thankfully the Reds keeper got away with it but it was funny all the same.

A minute later and Lancaster was required for action of a different kind. Bolton had a good move and crossed in from the left. Thach looked to be odds on to score but in a desperate chance to avoid the goal left back Danny Smith nudged him in the back at the same time as trying to head the ball away. The referee immediately pointed to the spot but also saw fit to send the Reds defender off. I have no arguments with the decision but it made a complete mockery of the referee's ineptness in the first half.

Bolton let Duong Thach step up for the spot kick. He sent it low left and Lancaster made an excellent save and then got up to save the rebound as well. A superb double save from the Reds keeper which in one sense balanced out the loss of a man.

The Reds gambled a bit at this point by not switching anyone on the pitch. Peltier moved to the left side of what was now just three centre backs. It was a bold decision given that defender Mark Roberts was ready and able on the bench but it wasn't until eighty three minutes that he arrived on the scene.

Bolton tried to push on with the one man advantage and did have a lot more of the ball but like the Reds had no killer instinct. Roberts came on for Platt after 83 minutes and then Phil Townley replaced Karl Noon three minutes later. The Reds were able to hold out though and deservedly went off victors.

MotM : Jamie Smith - commanded the back line really well and was dominant throughout. He was ably assisted by Danny O'Donnell who has come on an awful lot this season.

© Andy Phillip, Liverweb 2004

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