City of Liverpool claimed the bragging rights from the first derby of the season, defeating Bootle 2-0 at the Berry Street Garage Stadium on Boxing Day.

Paul McNally welcomed back right back Michael Simpson following the completion of the one match ban incurred by his sending off against Runcorn Linnets.

Midfield lynchpin Simon Wills was rewarded for an excellent display off the bench against Clitheroe with a return to the starting XI, as did the fit-again Adam Rooney.

The Purps followed up an excellent win over Clitheroe three days earlier by continuing very much on the front foot and denying the Bucks any foothold in the game during a somewhat punishing opening to the match.

This was personified by the relentless Simon Wills who relished the intensity of a derby midfield battle against his old side as he flew into challenges and looked a dominant force against his opposite numbers.

A bright start to the match saw the Purps ahead with 16 minutes on the clock, as Michael Simpson strode into midfield before releasing Elliott Morris into acres of space down the right.

Morris played a devilish ball across the face of goal which expertly picked out skipper Danny Mitchley, whose intelligent movement saw him skip away from former Purp Anthony Miley and flick home a first-time finish beyond Tony Thompson in goal.


The Purps made it two shortly before half time when Danny Mitchley went from scorer to provider to pick out Callum Schorah with a brilliant deep cross.

Schorah benefitted from Jay Cooper switching off at right back to find space on the left of the area, delivering a brilliantly delicate finish from a narrow angle across Thompson and into the net.



The Purps continued on the front foot in the early stages of the second period and were unfortunate not to get a penalty when Xenon Bahula skipped beyond Anthony Miley and was upended in the box.

Referee Kavan Hurn was unmoved.

Bootle stepped it up somewhat having utilised all three of their available substitutions at the interval, and went close when a move down the left saw former City of Liverpool striker Connor Harwood fire straight at Calvin Hare.

Another move down the left saw the dangerous Michael Burkey skip inside only to be denied by a fine save by Hare down to his right.

The loose ball then broke to Ben Hodkinson with the goal at his mercy, whose fierce left footed effort was deflected over by a heroic block from Mike Grogan.

City of Liverpool almost put the icing on the cake in the closing stages when a lovely chest from substitute Connor Rankin saw the forward find Callum Schorah.

Schorah’s majestic driving run from just inside Bootle’s half saw him leave four players in his wake before being denied by a fine save by Tony Thompson.

The Purps deservedly took all three points courtesy of their first half double salvo, making it three wins from three against Runcorn Linnets, Clitheroe and Bootle respectively.

The result and performance underlined a growing confidence amongst the squad which has grown throughout the recent FA Trophy run and reaped rewards with these victories over strong NPL West Division opponents.

Boxing Day’s fixtures saw the Purps ascend to 10th in the table and they were applauded off the park by a delighted “away” faithful.


City of Liverpool: Calvin Hare, Michael Simpson, Jack Hont, Adam Rooney, Mike Grogan, Simon Wills, Callum Schorah, Max Allen (Kenny Strickland 81′), Danny Mitchley (Connor Rankin 86′), Elliott Morris (Jawad Jebrin 89′), Xenon Bahula.

Subs not used: Baba Conteh, Callum Lees.


It was another afternoon where you could easily make a case for any of Paul McNally’s starting XI to take the man of the match award.

The excellent Danny Mitchley, Elliott Morris and Xenon Bahula where particularly outstanding, as was Mike Grogan whose heroic block preserved the clean sheet and ensured there were no nervy moments late on.

The MOTM award however goes to the brilliant Simon Wills who was at his destructive best, relishing a lively derby day midfield battle.


Paul McNally was effusive in his praise of his side, describing them as “immense from the very first whistle”.

Macca also dedicated the win to first team coach Adam James’ daughter Penelope who is in hospital at the moment – we of course send the best wishes of everyone at the club to Adam and his family.


A busy festive schedule concludes with a home fixture against Vauxhall Motors on New Years Day.

As usual, tickets can be purchased in advance on Fanbase, and there will be a cash/card turnstile for walk-ups.

Let’s start 2024 in the best possible way by getting right behind Paul McNally’s Purps in another important match – bring your family and friends!


City of Liverpool FC’s brilliant FA Trophy run came to an end against National League Hartlepool United on Saturday, but Paul McNallys Purps gave their storied opponents a real scare for 60 minutes at the Berry Street Garage Stadium.

Macca was without the services of goalkeeper Calvin Hare, whose heroics between the sticks bad been a significant part of his side’s journey so far.

A debut was handed to former Bury #1 Jack Atkinson, whilst skipper Danny Mitchley returned to the starting XI to partner Josh Quarless and Elliot Morris in attack.

A bumper home crowd arrived at the Berry Street Garage Stadium early in anticipation of this fixture, with supporters packing out stand behind the goal and showing their appreciation for a squad which has given them some of our greatest days out during this season’s FA Trophy campaign.

A boisterous and loud support marked the first whistle of the match and the purple faithful wouldn’t have to wait for this to reach a real crescendo.

A neat ball forward into the edge of Hartlepool’s box sat Mitchley felled as he turned the ball away from a visiting defender – a free kick was awarded and immediately every home supporter knew this was right in the zone affectionately known as “Josh Quarless territory”.

Quarless stepped up to curl a low effort around a poor Hartlepool wall, seeing the ball nestle in the corner of the net beyond Joel Dixon’s reach.

Josh wheeled away in celebration, running straight for an embrace with Paul McNally in the home dugout.

The Purps had the lead against their fully professional opposition after only three minutes!

Debutant Purps goalkeeper Jack Atkinson then denied a close-range effort from Hartlepool’s Callum Cooke, pushing his stinging strike away for a corner with a strong hand down to his right.

Hartlepool grew into the game and Atkinson was again called upon to claw out a strong effort from Nicky Featherstone, after the experienced midfielder was picked out by a tidy cut-back from David Ferguson.

Ferguson was then the man to be denied, as Atkinson again produced another brilliant low stop to prevent his close-range finish from restoring parity on the stroke of half time.

The Purps had weathered the storm that Hartlepool slowly brought as the half progressed and were relentless in their pressing, snapping into challenges to defend their slender lead.

They were indebted to the multiple saves by Atkinson as they went in at the break ahead, knowing there’d be plenty of work to do to preserve their lead in the second period.


After the break the Purps had a good spell of possession with the torrential rain and wind in their favour, but Pools equalised after 52 minutes when Ferguson’s excellent cross was planted home by a firm header from Mani Dieseruvwe.

The game became somewhat frantic and end-to-end in nature, with both sides struggling with the conditions but the match as a contest ended when Josh Quarless was controversially sent off for a sliding challenge on defender Manny Onariase with an hour played.

Replays showed minimal to no contact, with Quarless making a genuine attempt to win the ball after a heavy touch from the Hartlepool centre back.

However the referee was immediately swarmed by Hartlepool players and appeared to be swayed by a disproportionate reaction to the Purps #10’s attempt to win back possession.

Hartlepool took full advantage of the extra man, taking the lead five minutes later courtesy of Nicky Featherstone, who met Hastie’s cross with a firm header beyond Atkinson.

The visitors extended their advantage with 10 minutes to play when Dieseruvwe turned in the box before side-footing a composed finish home in front of the Hartlepool fans. 

Hartlepool added two close range strikes in injury time through Callum Cooke and Louis Stephenson, adding a harsh margin of victory which didn’t reflect the performance of the home side, three leagues below the fully professional visitors – for the first hour at least.

The farcical nature of the referee’s performance was exemplified in injury time when skipper Danny Mitchley received a straight red card for being headbutted by a Hartlepool defender – who only received a yellow card.

Full time arrived shortly after, the home side left the pitch to a standing ovation from the loyal Purps who had been there every step of the way during this memorable FA Trophy campaign.

An early strike from Quarless allowed the home faithful to dream, but in the end the controversial red card and strength of their professional opponents made victory a step too far.

Nevertheless, the home supporters made sure their players left the pitch knowing in no uncertain terms just how much they appreciated the moments they had shared since this run started at home to 1874 Northwich back in September.


CITY OF LIVERPOOL: Jack Atkinson, Michael Simpson, Jack Hont, Adam Rooney, Michael Grogan, Simon Wills (Xenon Bahula 81′), Callum Schorah, Max Allen (Baba Conteh 68′), Danny Mitchley, Josh Quarless, Elliot Morris (Jawad Jebrin 81′).

Subs not used: Ismail Sonko, Ethan Jones, Luke Byron.


Simon Wills was a key figure in midfield, pressing relentlessly and taking the fight to an experienced Hartlepool United midfield.


Macca was understandably disappointed to go out of the FA Trophy with the referee’s controversial decisions playing such a role in how the match was decided, but he expressed his pride for his side.

The manager also thanked the supporters for turning out and supporting the Purps in such a manner, as well as throughout such a memorable FA Trophy run.


City of Liverpool FC play the biggest game in our history on Saturday afternoon in front of what promises to be a bumper crowd at the Berry Street Garage Stadium.

The Purps, who overcame a two-tier deficit to defeat National League North side Buxton in the previous round, will look to eclipse the feat against the National League giants who are three leagues above Paul McNally’s side.

It has been a brilliant FA Trophy campaign for the Purps so far, which started by eliminating fellow NPL West Division sides 1874 Northwich and Witton Albion.

Next up was a penalty shoot out victory over NPL Premier Lancaster City after a 0-0 draw in regulation time.

Goalkeeper Calvin Hare was the hero for saving one penalty during normal play, before also stopping the first THREE of Lancaster’s spot-kicks in the shoot out.

City of Liverpool then faced step 3 side Stamford AFC at home and overcame The Daniels 1-0, courtesy of Callum Schorah’s first half strike.

The reward was a tough trip to Step 2 Buxton, who beat the Purps 1-6 when we last faced each other in 2021!

There was only one winner this time too, as Paul McNally’s side came away with a brilliant 3-1 victory thanks to strikes from Schorah, Josh Quarless and a brilliant Danny Mitchley finish in injury time.

City of Liverpool FC go into this FA Trophy Third Round fixture on the back of three good training sessions since the last match, having seen last Saturday’s planned trip to Hanley Town beaten by the winter weather.

The mood in the camp is one of anticipation, with Macca’s boys excited to test themselves against a professional, Step One outfit in Hartlepool United.

Having enjoyed some great moments with the Purps home and away this season, particularly on this FA Trophy run, the players and staff have expressed their gratitude for the support they have received so far.

We caught up with top scorer Josh Quarless at training on Thursday, who talked us through the atmosphere amongst the squad and discussed the importance of the home support in such a big game.

We also spoke with manager Paul McNally, who talked us through his side’s preparations, the optimism and happiness throughout the squad, describing the club’s supporters as “the twelfth, thirteenth and fourteenth man” ahead of Saturday’s match.


Hartlepool United were a Football League side last season when they were relegated for only the second time in their 115 year history, finishing 23rd in League Two.

Based in Hartlepool, County Durham, “Pools” play at the 7865 capacity Suit Direct Stadium, more commonly known as Victoria Park.

They are managed by former Shrewsbury Town, Port Vale and Macclesfield Town gaffer John Askey, who also had a successful spell at York City which saw the Minstermen gain promotion from the National League North in his first season in charge.

Hartlepool United manager John Askey.

This will be City of Liverpool’s first competitive appearance against a fully professional side.


Hartlepool United have had a mixed season so far and currently occupy 12th place in the Vanarama National League Table with 27 points won from 22 games played.

This is Hartlepool United’s first game in this season’s FA Trophy, as they enter the competition at this Third Round stage.


Towering forward Mani Dieseruvwe leads Pools’ goalscoring charts with 13 strikes to his name from 21 appearances so far.

The marksman was also top scorer for Halifax Town last season and has represented a wealth of clubs across his career, including Sheffield Wednesday, Fleetwood Town, Chesterfield, Mansfield, Kidderminster, Salford City, Oldham Athletic, Tranmere Rovers, and Grimsby.

Dieseruvwe won the FA Trophy last season with Halifax.

Hartlepool United forward Mani Dieseruvwe photographed with the Vanarama National League POTM award he won for August 2023.

Midfielder Nicky Featherstone previously represented Hull City and has also spent time at Walsall and Hereford.

Featherstone possesses plenty of experience and is currently 7th on the all-time Hartlepool United appearance list.

Hartlepool United midfielder Nicky Featherstone.

Winger Jake Hastie was signed from Scottish Premiership giant Rangers in 2022 and has been capped twice by Scotland at Under 21 level.

A dangerous and tricky operator on his day, Hastie has also previously represented Motherwell and Rotherham United.

Jake Hastie (right) playing for Rotherham United.

David Ferguson is a rock at the back who was handed the captaincy ahead of the 2023-24 campaign by manager John Askey.

Ferguson counts Sunderland, Darlington, York City and Blackpool on his list of previous clubs.

Hartlepool United captain David Ferguson


As communicated on our club channels, this is an ALL TICKET match which means City of Liverpool and Hartlepool fans will need to purchase their ticket in advance.

Tickets are available via the below Fanbase link and supporters are encouraged to get their ticket sorted ASAP, which not only avoids disappointment of missing out, but also helps our volunteers to plan for this fixture accordingly.

City of Liverpool manager Paul McNally has stressed the importance of the Purple faithful throughout this brilliant FA Trophy run, so we’re calling on all Purps fans to come along and show your support to Macca and the lads.