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Man City Res 2 Liverpool Res 0 (May 2 2006)

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Man City Res 2 LIVERPOOL RES 0

Report by Dave Usher at the Regional Athletics Stadium



Scorer(s) -

Half Time - 2-0

Venue - Regional Athletics Stadium

Date - Tue 2 May 2006

Star Man - James Smith









A promising season for the reserves ended on a disappointing note as they were beaten 2-0 away at Manchester City on Tuesday night. The game was played in a strong wind, and City used it to their advantage in a first half in which they pinned the reds back in their own half for long periods and established a two goal lead. Liverpool dominated the 2nd half, but couldn’t find a breakthrough.


Daniel Agger started the game at centre back alongside Danny O’Donnell, as Miki Roque and Godwin Antwi dropped to the bench. Danny Guthrie and Paul Anderson were also left on the bench as Adam Hammill and Ramon Calliste returned to the side.


The wind was really strong and keeper David Martin was struggling to reach the centre circle with his clearances. It eased off as the game wore on, but City made the most of it whilst they could and we good value for the lead at the interval.


Sun Jihai and Bradley Wright-Phillips were the reds chief tormentors in the opening 45 minutes. With ten minutes gone the excellent Jihai split open the reds defence and snet Wright-Phillips through to face Martin, but the reds’ keeper saved well at his feet.


Antonio Barragan then made a terrific last ditch tackle to rob the giant Ishmael Miller just as he shaped to shoot, and then City centre half Matthew Mills saw a 25 yard shot just clear the bar as the home side applied the pressure. All Liverpool offered in response was a shot by Foy which was blocked following good work on the right by Hammill.


The pressure eventually became too much for the reds backline, and O’Donnell conceded a penalty for holding back Miller. The defender can have few complaints at the award of the spot kick, and he had an unusually wobbly half. Miller picked himself up and scored from the spot.


O’Donnell almost made amends for his error five minutes before half time when he struck a sweet half volley from 25 yards, but it was straight down the throat of Nicky Weaver.


Star of the show Sun Jihai made it 2-0 shortly before the break with a cool finish after playing a one two with Wright-Phillips. Agger came close to pulling one back for the reds with a blistering 35 yard free kick which stung the palms of Weaver in first half stoppage time.


Guthrie was introduced for Agger at the interval with Hobbs dropping back into central defence, and that combined with the changing of ends helped Paco Herrera’s side to dominate the second half.


Calliste was denied by Weaver, and then Guthrie sent a curling shot inches wide from just outside the box. It looked a goal all the way from the moment in left his boot, and a scrambling Weaver clearly thought it was going to find the far corner of his net. Somehow it stayed out though.


Hammill produced a similar effort from just outside the box but once more the ball was just wide, and Foy sent a 40 yard chip just over the bar with Weaver beaten.


Anderson came on for the ineffective Calliste, and Peltier hobbled off to be replaced by Roque as Liverpool tried everything to get back into the game. Austrian teenager Besian Idrizaj went closest to pulling a goal back, but he was denied by the crossbar late on when he met Hammill’s left wing cross with a flying header.


It was a shame for Paco Herrera to lose his last game in charge, as he’s done a fine job with the reserves this season. He’s assembled a very good squad of players, and the addition of a couple of young strikers to rotate with Craig Lindfield should see them challenging for the title next season.


It’s up front where the problem has been this season. Calliste has scored some good goals and has done ok, but he hasn’t really fitted into the style of play as he plays with his head down quite a bit. Idrizaj has been largely disappointing, and although he’s not started a game yet, Lindfield has looked the reserves’ most accomplished striker when he’s been brought off the bench.


There’s a nucleus of very good players in the reserve squad, and they will be boosted further as other members of the FA Youth Cup winning side force their way in next season. If the striker situation is addressed, next year should be a very good one for the ressies.


I really didn’t know who to go for as the star man, as no-one stood out. Peltier was decent in midfield, but I’m giving it James Smith for another steady display at left back. He was up against the dangerous Lee Croft, but I don’t remember the City player getting the better of Jay all game.


It looked for a long time as though Smith would be released at the end of this season, but his performances have been so good that he’s just been rewarded with a two year contract. If ever a player has earned a new contract it’s Jay, who has never let his performances drop despite not always being a regular and often being used out of position. He had some problems when he was at the Academy (he left twice only to come back again), but he’s worked hard and has been rewarded. He’s a great example for others to follow.



Team: Martin; Barragan, O’Donnell, Agger (Guthrie 46), Smith; Hammill, Peltier (Roque 60), Hobbs, Foy; Calliste (Anderson 58 ), Idrizaj:

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