Reserves Report: Liverpool 0 Manchester United 1

Posted by AdamS on March 2, 2005, 12:33:40 PM

After leaving Cardiff on Sunday feeling down it was nice to get to another game again so quickly. There's few feelings better than beating the Mancs and that does extend to reserve team football. Unfortunately I didn't get the boost I was hoping for. In a scrappy game United left North Wales with a deserved 1-0 victory. Perhaps this season the magic on Liverpool in Wales has faded slightly?

Lacking in front men through injuries, Liverpool lined up with Le Tallec as the lone striker. Potter and to an extent Mannix got forward from centre midfield to support and Welsh sat back. Harrison was back in goal and again put in a very assured performance, which was handy because without that the winning margin would have been greater.

The biggest crowd of the season (I'd estimate as over 2000) saw the first chance of the night fall to Mannix on 5 minutes. Le Tallec turned his man and squared to Mannix, but his effort was weak and easily collected by Ricardo in goal.

United's first real chance came a couple of minutes later when on the break a good cross was whipped in from the right. Martin was first to it for United but blazed over the bar.

Welsh who was playing as solidly as usual, beat his man in midfield to win Liverpool's first corner of the night. He also got to the corner first, but his header was never a real danger and floated wide of goal.

From there on the Mancs started to dominate. Harrison was forced into a few saves and Bellion shot just wide when he might have done better on the half hour mark. Bellion was in the action again ten minutes later. He was played through, cut inside Smith and crashed a shot off the cross bar. As Liverpool scrambled the ball clear Josemi was somehow injured. It appeared to be something muscular as he limped off. The lads must be getting scared to put on the Red shirt with the amount of injuries we've sustained this season.

Josemi was replaced by O'Donnell which saw Smith move to right back and O'Donnell partner Whitbread in the middle.

On 44 minutes Liverpool did create another chance but again Mannix didn't connect too well and the ball was collected comfortably by Ricardo. At half time the Reds had managed to hold on, but I had a similar feeling to Sunday that it just couldn't last.

United came close to taking the lead two minutes into the second half but Harrison saved well with his feet. Liverpool broke and created an opening. Ostemobor's cross was met by Partridge who shot hard and low. Ricardo spilled the ball but managed to recover before Liverpool could take advantage.

After a few goal mouth scrambles and saves by Harrison Liam Miller lashed in a volley from the edge of the box. It was inevitable that the rearguard action would be broken down and at least this time it was a quality strike rather than a flukey own goal which did the damage.

The pattern of the match continued but United were thwarted by excellent goal keeping and strong performances by Whitbread and O'Donnell (although one of their best chances to extend their lead came after O'Donnell gave the ball away). Luckily Harrison stodd up well and then palmed a shot from an acute angle around the post.

Le Tallec and Heath could have been sent off on 80 minutes when they both aimed petulant head butts at each other. The referee took a common sense view that the head butts were very girly and after a brief lecture they were allowed to resume without so much as a yellow between them.

Moments later and Smith cleared off the line with a brilliant overhead kick after Harrison was beaten. The ball must have only been about a foot under the bar, but despite United's protests that the ball had crossed the line Smith still managed to reach it.

Bellion should have doubled his goal tally and their lead with moments to go but he met a bouncing ball in the area with a "Clinton Morrisonesque" airshot! That cheered me up ever so slightly.

Partidge, playing much better than recently nearly snatched an equaliser at the end. After more good work from Welsh he met a through ball with a first time shot but his effort was saved and so were Bellion's blushes.

Another disappointing result, another cold night, another over-priced cup of bovril ...  depressed!

Man of the Match: Paul Harrison. Good performances from Welsh (as usual) and Partridge, but Harrison was again excellent!

Liverpool Team:
Paul Harrison
Josemi (Daniel O'Donnell, 43)
David Raven
James Smith (Ryan Wilkie, 81)
Zak Whitbread
David Mannix
Jon Otsemobor
John Welsh
Anthony Le Tallec
Darren Potter
Ritchie Partridge

Unused Subs:
Patrice Luzi
Danny Guthrie
Adam Hammill

© AdamS 2005

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