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Lancaster 4 – 1 Liverpool John Moores
A great all-round team display from Lancaster men’s seconds saw them safely cruise to an impressive 4-1 victory over a disappointing Liverpool John Moores (LJMU).
However, the early instances of the match suggested otherwise as LJMU started brightly, applying gradual pressure down the flanks, but Lancaster soon settled and took command of the game.
It took little over 15 minutes before LJMU’s lax defending allowed Lancaster winger Neil Brown through on goal, only to be recklessly challenged and awarded a free-kick in a threatening position. The attempt successfully beat the wall but not the keeper.
This pressure continued as on the 20 minute mark, Lancaster had LJMU on the back foot and successfully won a corner. The set piece was taken by new boy Callum Douglas whose right-footed effort bypassed all of the opposition and found the top corner courtesy of the far post.
Despite only making the score-line 1.0, the heads of LJMU dropped, a point that Lancaster immediately capitalised upon as instant pressure from the re-start resulted in the winning of a throw-in deep into the opposition half.
LJMU remained disorganised as the throw came in and a miss-hit clearance saw the ball land at the feet of Lancaster’s Chris Sissling on the edge of the box, who expertly hit the ball on the half volley, catching the sweet spot and sending the shot into the top right corner past a helpless LJMU goalkeeper.
Two goals in quick succession had visibly come as a blow to LJMU who sought to quickly regroup their formation to stay in the game.
The match then turned into a battle of the midfields with possession being kept firmly central. LJMU appeared to have gathered themselves as a well placed through ball one-on-one with the keeper saw an anxious moment for Lancaster but the attacker’s lack of pace let him down as the man between the sticks was able to emerge with a powerful clearance.
However, Lancaster did not sit back and release pressure. This tactic paid off as on the 36th minute mark a great goal kick distribution straight to the feet of winger Neil Brown saw him easily beat his marker and with a quick injection of pace got to the by-line to put in a low, undefendable cross that was consequently turned straight into the back of the net by an unfortunate LJMU centre-back.
Despite not having much time left on the clock, Lancaster were reluctant to see the 3-0 into half-time and sought to apply further damage by attacking frequently down the right wing. LJMU initially began to crumble once more, however, a visible change of tactics to a more defensive formation made the game much more levelled out.
Lancaster’s attacking style continued up until the end of extra time and was rewarded as a disguised through-ball saw Neil Brown defeat the offside trap, sending a powerful shot into the bottom left corner.
As the team’s celebration of the fourth goal subsided, the referee blew his whistle drawing a close to a great first half of football that saw Lancaster set up firmly in the driving seat for the 45 minutes that to follow.
The second half kicked off with a revitalised LJMU who started brightly again, applying instant pressure onto Lancaster with frequent audacious long range efforts.
Lancaster hadn’t even the time to settle when LJMU won a free-kick 25 yards out, playing it quickly down the right flank to an energetic winger in acres of space, however, his feeble shot was easily dealt with by Lancaster’s goalkeeper.
The home side had time to regroup following this and were soon looking calm and collected. LJMU’s brief attacking stint seemed to be over and apart from a controversial penalty claim, their presence in the Lancaster half was scarce.
This came at the detriment of Lancaster who began to let complacency appear and on the 66th minute allowed the opposition to manoeuvre down the right wing and put in a well flighted cross that was met with a diving header from the LJMU centre forward, making the score 4-1.
Lancaster responded well to the goal and, unlike their counterparts, maintained to be first to every ball following the re-start.
LJMU kept pushing but couldn’t unlock the Lancaster defence. Their best effort within the dying stages came in the form of a free-kick; a whipped right-footed effort saw the wall easily beaten with the top corner in sight, only for the Lancaster keeper to pull off a save, maintaining a consistent performance between the sticks.
Extra time arrived without any further scares from a lacklustre LJMU, with Lancaster playing an admirable passing game right up until the final whistle.
The victory means Lancaster will be able to take great confidence into their next game and hopefully produce another similar impressive performance to again take maximum points.