Reds Lose out in Senior Cup

Posted by liverweb on March 16, 2005, 12:56:21 PM

Liverweb Senior Cup Match Report

Marine 2 Liverpool 0

Liverpool : Willis, J.Smith, D.Smith, Hitchen, O'Donnell(C), F.Smith, Hammill, Barratt, Wilkie, Noon, Townley

Subs Used : Spearing for F.Smith (61)

Subs Unused : Lancaster, Barnett, Platt

Ref : P. Dunn

Match photos at

The Reds were sent crashing out of the Liverpool Senior Cup last night at Marine's Rossett Park.  Marine won the game 2-0 and that scoreline sadly flattered the Reds.  With some more clinical finishing Marine could easily have won this by four or five goals.
This was first visit to Marine's ground at College Road, Crosby and despite the game it was very enjoyable.  I took up my stance just to the left of the goal as I saw it at the College Road end of the ground.  As I arrived the two sides were out warming up and the Reds were noticeable that they were playing their academy side.  All of the players on show could have played at the U18 level with just a couple of over age players.  They were captain Danny O'Donnell and Paul Willis.
As the sides ran out to what was a sizeable crowd the cheer went up from the Marine faithful.  Marine got the game underway attacking the College Road end in the first half and this was were most of the action took place.  The Reds simply never got going and as is normal for the Reds coaching staff they were silent.  None of this coaching from the sidelines to help the players but lets sit down and hope we don't get to cold sitting in the dugout.  This lack of noise from the bench is really starting to wind me up now as the Reds who take to the field at this level very rarely look like a team who train together all week.
Marine had their first real effort on goal after just three minutes and it was as a result of Paul Willis.  Willis fluffed his clearance forward.  It went straight to McNally who shot on target.  Thankfully Willis had got back and saved the ball at the second attempt.  Marine then went close three minutes later but Ben Kay sent his header just over the bar.  The play was all Marine at this stage with the Reds struggling to get the ball down and pass to their own man.  You really wouldn't have guessed that Marine are struggling in the Unibond league this season on this performance.
Willis was again sharp to cut out a headed cross by Michael Ellison as the Reds seemed to sink further and further back.  On fourteen minutes Liam McGuire hit a shot he would probably want to forget as it sailed high wide and out of the ground.  The noticeable thing with such a compact ground was the number of times the ball sailed over the perimeter fence and into someone's back garden.
Midway through the half a deep cross to McNally was headed back across the area but Kay could only head wide of the goal when he perhaps should have done better.  Within a minute and Marine were rightly awarded a penalty.  Adam Hitchen who hadn't settled all night grabbed his man in the box and was wrestling with him in order to get possession.  The linesman instantly put his flag across his chest and despite Hitch's protests the spot kick was given.  Ben Kay stepped up and sent it to Willis right but a great dive saw Willis save the kick and Marine then missed with the follow up shot.  Willis is certainly a quality keeper when it comes to spot kicks and kept the Reds in it at this point.
On twenty five minutes and much to the shock of the whole crowd the Reds actually had a shot on goal.  Franny Smith had the shot which went very wide of the target.  Marine finally too a deserved lead on twenty seven minutes and it came from a much debated penalty.  Well debated from Jamie Smith at least who was so incensed by the referee's decision that he clearly told the ref where to go should we say.  Smith handled the ball in the area with the referee about two yards away from him and after he calmed down the referee booked Smith and Lee Mullin spotted the ball up.  He sent Willis the wrong way as Marine went one up.
Surely at this point a reaction would come from the Reds but it didn't as Marine continued to press forward.  They certainly wanted that spot in the final and a chance to win the trophy again in Roly Howard's final season.  Roly has been at the club now for 33 years and is finally stepping down so it would be nice if Marine could send him off with some silverware in the cabinet.
Marine captain James Connolly got the games second booking as he chopped down Adam Hammill who was one of the few players working to do something going forward for the Reds.  After treatment on the pitch and off it he was allowed back on for the Reds.  On thirty four minutes the Reds were almost two down.  First Willis was out well to save from McNally and then in the very next attack he came racing from his goal and collided with Jamie Smith in trying to clear the ball.  Thankfully for the Reds the ball fell aimlessly out but Willis did need treatment for a knock in the incident.
Willis was forced in to a reaction save at his near post on forty minutes as Marine looked like they could carve the Reds open at will.  McNally probably should have scored just a minute before the interval when he managed to get through past Hitchen who for some reason switched off.  Willis though came out and narrowed the angle and McNally shot across the keeper but also across the goal and it went just wide.  Then shock of all horrors the Reds had an effort on goal.  Ryan Wilkie did well to follow up on a Reds attack that broke down and he crossed for Noon but his shot went straight at the keeper.
The Reds traipsed off at half time a goal down and with everything to play for still.  Marine must have wandered off wondering how long they could keep going for and if they would be forced to pay for their missed chances.  The Reds came out for the second half and did play slightly better but Marine coped easily enough with the pressure.  Liverpool kicked off and with a couple of minutes had a shot on goal again.  This one came from Danny Smith but it took a deflection on the way to goal and the keeper saved easily.
Ryan Wilkie then did well to get the ball down and feed Karl Noon but the striker shot early.  His shot went wide of goal when the better option would have been to close in on goal but there were odd signs that the Reds might be improving.  That didn't last long though and the impressive Darren Brookfield shot just wide for Marine a minute later.  Just eight minutes into the second half and it was game over as Marine grabbed a second goal.  Paul McNally headed home from close range after Kay had crossed the ball back in.
This really signalled the end of the game for the Reds really.  They returned quickly to their poor play and style and of course got no encouragement from the bench.  None of the players on the pitch were talking much to one another and you'd have though this team had just got together for the first time in their career.  Jay Spearing came on after sixty one minutes and the first things you saw was him trying to encourage the side.  This is nothing unusual for Spearing but it certainly stuck out last night and in a sense was embarrassing that it took a 16 year old to try and get the team ethic going.
Goal attempts dried up at this point with Marine content with a 2-0 win but trying to go forward were possible whilst the Reds were simply useless going forward.  Karl Noon made so many good runs but could do little when the balls played to him tended to be lamped up to him.  Danny Smith picked up a booking with a minute to go as tempers threatened to boil over at one point.  After a minute of added time the referee blew for time and the Reds were out with little more than turning up.
Marine were up for this game and won this with ease.  They march on to play Everton in the final of the trophy later this season and best of luck to them.  They won by two goals but had it been by four or five it would have been equally deserved.  The Reds were very poor on the night and the numerous comments around the ground from Marine fans I spoke to were about how the Reds simply didn't look like a team.  There was no togetherness or anything and they deserved everything they got.  Marine fielded a few young kids in their lineup and it was very noticeable how having played at non league level they were more up to the physical demands of the game.
MotM: Karl Noon - very hard choice given no player really shone on the night for the Reds but Noon played as he always des.  He can match the physical battle and his pace is good.  With decent service he might have had some rewards on the night.  Ryan Wilkie and Adam Hammill were the only other lads who looked like they might get something from the game

© Andy Philip, Liverweb 2005

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