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After a disappointing result in Liverpool on the opening day of the season, LUMFC 2s were out to exorcise some demons on the Merseyside turf. The eye-opening loss in the second week also fuelled the fire of the Lancaster players heading into this match. The journey had an air of anticipation as the coach pulled up, yet there was a tang of vengeance-fuelled determination dissipating across the dressing room.
The whistle blew and from the off the game had an energy to it that felt different to the two previous games. Once again, Lancaster showed their proficiency down the right wing with Broderick Jordan breaking past the full back and whipping in a low teasing cross – this forced a good collection by the keeper, but acted as an early warning sign for this lacklustre Liverpool 3s side. Lancaster retained control of possession and it was not long before the ball broke once more, this time for centre-forward Mohie Khalil.
In a tight decision, Khalil was adjudged to be onside, yet the call even caught him by surprise, leaving him flat-footed and allowing the ball to trundle through to the goalkeeper’s grateful grasp. The attacks were endless, yet there was evidently a spark of creativity lacking in the final third. It wasn’t long before the ball broke down the right wing again. In a spontaneous role reversal, Khalil skipped down the right wing, sending in a cross that found the head of Jordan in the centre who watched his effort drop agonisingly wide of the far post.
Coming up to the end of the first half, Liverpool instigated their first meaningful attack. A lapse in concentration saw a driven cross into the box from the right-hand side parried by Lancaster goalkeeper Ben Tongue. The ball was set to fall for the Liverpool striker to tap in, but a last ditch covering clearance from Sam Gray spared Lancaster’s blushes and returned the coach’s heart rate to a somewhat normal level. HT 0-0.
After a dominant first half there was a worry that the cliché of having to score while on top might return to haunt us. However, Lancaster resumed their dominance with shots from Matham Alhemyari and Ore Adeyemo forcing a double save from the Liverpool keeper and instigating a crescendo of near celebrations from the Lancaster bench.
However, then came a feeling of Deja-vu. A free-kick was crossed in from the left, and the lack of concentration left a Liverpool player unmarked in the box, as he headed home. 1-0.
There was a worry that heads would go down after this conceded goal, yet chances kept on coming for Lancaster and the dominance remained.
Gray had been showing great promise with enticing deliveries from corners all afternoon and five minutes after conceding he delivered once again. A delicious in-swinging ball to the back-post saw Adeyemo poke the ball home and deservedly level the scores. 1-1.
After conceding straight after scoring in the opening game of the season, there was a dogged desire for this to not be repeated – instead it was the antithesis that occurred. Substitute Joe Speakman broke down the left and squared the ball across goal and it was tapped into a gaping goal by Kai Jackson, who wheeled away in celebration.
The final 10 minutes were tense, with a Liverpool team with nothing to lose finally shedding the shackles and galloping forward. However, the clear-cut chances continued to fall to Lancaster. Great work from Adeyemo on the left wing caused the ball to be cut back for Jordan who curled a peach of a shot, that just brushed the left post.
The main difference in this performance from Lancaster was the sheer intensity and desire on display. This was epitomised by the pressure on the Liverpool back line – even in the final 10 minutes – that led to a blocked clearance placing the ball at Jordan’s feet who rolled the ball under the keeper to give Lancaster some well-deserved breathing space. FT 3-1.
Despite the football on show from Lancaster being of a hugely improved quality, it was the attitude and desire that superseded any physical factors. The players had rid the monkey from their back and go into the two-week break period with their first win under their belt. The Lancaster lads march on.