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City of Liverpool’s pre-season fixture against Northwich Victoria was abandoned with 51 minutes played after the referee correctly deemed the pitch to be unplayable.
A torrential downpour at Wincham Park saw the pitch become sodden early in the second half and with the ball no longer running “true” the sensible decision was made to end the match.
The Purps were leading 1-0 at the time, after a goal late in the first half from forward Mitch Bryant. The number 9 met a fine cross from Zac Aley with a fierce effort which Vics keeper Chris Cheetham appeared to stop, however he spilled the ball through his legs allowing Bryant’s effort to trickle over the line.
The Purps started the match well and Trialist could have opened the scoring with barely two minutes on the clock, only for his firm strike to cannon back off the upright with Cheetham well beaten.
Vics rallied after the Purps chance and could have opened the scoring themselves. A whipped corner from the right was met by the head of defender Rudy Misambo, who was denied only by a breath-taking stop from Theo Roberts. The Purps custodian dived full stretch to push the ball around the post when the crowd expected the net to bulge.
In what was becoming an end to end affair, it was a case of déjà vu for Trialist, who had a second effort cannon back of the upright for the Purps, again with Cheetham well beaten.
Vics new signing Brad Lynch should have opened the scoring for the hosts at the other end, but after appearing to round Roberts, he was denied by a heroic last-ditch block from Purps defender Shaun Kelly.
The first half was marred by an injury suffered by Purps star Nathan Burke who was assisted off the field and taken to hospital following a horrific challenge by Vics defender Brandon Barski. The left back was extremely fortuitous to remain on the pitch following his lunge, which incensed the away dugout. Thankfully, initial fears of a serious leg injury have been allayed and Burkey left hospital late last night on crutches, having had a number of stitches in his shin.
After 37 minutes the Purps opened the scoring through the aforementioned Bryant who capitalised on Zac Aley’s excellent delivery, and a goalkeeping mishap to give the visitors a deserved advantage.
Indeed, the Purps should have increased their lead on the stroke of half time but the mercurial Trialist, who had already hit the woodwork twice, flashed a header across the goal when he looked destined to score.
HALF TIME: Northwich Victoria 0-1 City of Liverpool
After the interval it was more of an Olympic swimming event than a summer pre-season football match, as both sides struggled to retain possession and passes held up on a comically waterlogged pitch. At one point it appeared more likely for an ark to appear in midfield than a successful pass to feet, such were the almost biblical conditions.
After previous discussions with both benches, the referee sensibly called time on the match with 51 minutes on the clock as the weather only worsened.
City of Liverpool completed a sterling late fightback at Atherton Collieries to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat in our latest pre-season outing.
Michael Ellison’s Purps travelled to Skuna Park with another week of training behind them following last Saturday’s defeat at Vauxhall Motors, and the cancellation of a planned midweek friendly against Warrington Town.
The manager gave opportunities to several new faces on trial, as his side continued their preparation for the fast-approaching 2021-22 campaign, with a step up in opposition to the NPL Premier Division’s Colls.
Skuna Park will have fond memories for the Purps, as Simon Burton’s 9 man side won an entertaining Reusch Champions Cup on penalties after a 3-3 draw in 2017. Fast forward to last season of course and Ello’s Purps completed a resounding 0-3 win against their higher-tier opponents in the FA Trophy.
In the opening exchanges the hosts looked lively and particularly effective on the counter-attack with Marcus Cusani, Elliott Rokka and Ben Conway linking up well. The Purps were indebted to brave defending by new signing Shaun Kelly on a number of occasions, whilst former Colls custodian Theo Roberts also made a good stop down low.
The hosts also went close courtesy of former FC United of Manchester midfielder Jack Lenehan, but his effort rebounded off the upright to safety, much to the relief of the visitors.
At the other end, forward Mitch Bryant went close with a header after good work down the right from Trialist, but the number nine’s effort was rather tame, and Colls keeper Danny Taberner held with ease.
On the stroke of half time Colls took the lead as Marcus Cusani released the lively Ben Conway down the right and he made no mistake, lifting a composed finish above the advancing Roberts and into the net. It was a disappointing lapse from the Purps to concede so late in the half, but in truth the hosts were good value for their lead.
HALF TIME: Atherton Collieries 1-0 City of Liverpool
Michael Ellison made several changes at the break as he looked to freshen the side up and give opportunities to a number of new players.
The hosts also made changes but started the second period as they had ended the first, confident in possession and looking to extend their advantage. They did just that as Ben Conway again beat the offside trap and confidently rounded Roberts before tucking home a composed finish to make it two-nil.
Colls looked almost certain to end their Purps hoodoo. Almost.
After the goal, the Purps looked to find a way back into the game and were considerably buoyed by the introduction of the pacey young Trialist down the right side, who had the beating of the Colls back line for speed despite his tender years.
Trialist was unlucky not to reduce the arrears when he robbed the hosts of possession and cut inside the area, beating a couple of challenges, but was crowded out as he attempted to shoot.
Not down-heartened by the missed opportunity, late-on Trialist was again released in behind off the right, this time courtesy of a fine ball from Zac Aley. He cut inside and went down under a challenge from Luca Defreitas Hansen resulting in the referee awarding what looked like a generous penalty.
Jack Hazlehurst stepped up to tuck the penalty away under the dive of Danny Taberner and the Purps had reduced the arrears. Game on!
The visitors continued in their quest to restore parity and were handed another opportunity from the spot in injury time.
A neat one-two between Tony Rialist and Terry Rialist, practiced for years in the Rialist back-garden, saw the former surging into the box. Luca Defreitas Hansen completed a difficult end to the match by gifting the Purps a second penalty with a somewhat lazy challenge.
If there had been any debate about the first award, this was clear-cut and the referee had no choice but to point to the spot.
Having won the spot-kick, the confident T Rialist took the penalty himself, scoring low beyond Taberner who again guessed correctly but couldn’t keep it out.
Parity, but hold on…
It was already deep into injury time but the Purple tail was wagging furiously and out of nowhere the visitors stole an unlikely victory in the most eye-catching of manners.
The hosts strode into the Purps half only to be stopped by a brilliant sliding challenge from Aley. Kieran Nolan then played the loose ball to man of the moment T Rialist who carried it a couple of steps into the home half before firing an audacious lob over Taberner from fully 45 yards.
An incredible goal to end an incredible ending to the match!
Full Time: Atherton Collieries 2-3 City of Liverpool.
City of Liverpool continued their winning start to the 2021 pre-season campaign thanks to a second half comeback at Burscough.
Purps manager Michael Ellison once again fielded a side mixed with new signings, returning players and trialists, as he shapes his side ahead of the forthcoming Northern Premier League season.
It was another opportunity to see Mitch Bryant and James Kirby up front, whilst Ello also went with a back three formation which saw new recruits Scott Lycett, Shaun Kelly and Adam Hughes playing together for the first time.
It was the Purps who were the busiest early on, particularly down the left side as Adam Hughes looked to release Zac Aley and James Kirby with quick balls into the channel.
Neat build up play saw Nathan Burke set up with the opportunity to shoot from range after good work from Trialist. Burke fizzed a fierce shot from fully 25 yards which Linnets goalkeeper Waugh did well to fingertip over.
Burke was writhing on the deck moments later as a poor lunging challenge from Linnets midfielder Smith sent his Purps counterpart airborne. Referee Jacob Viera managed the handbags well and wielded a yellow card which could very well have been a different colour had it not been a friendly.
Linnets started to grow in the game and high pressing saw the hosts score with their first opportunity. Forward Declan Daniels robbed the Purps of possession on the half-way line and the home number nine drove forward before firing an excellent finish across Theo Roberts and into the net.
The Purps rallied after the opener and Nathan Burke almost restored parity but his long range free kick drifted narrowly wide of goal.
HALF TIME: Burscough 1-0 City of Liverpool
Michael Ellison made a number of changes at the interval which saw Kieran Nolan replaced by Trialist, Jack Hinnigan on for Scott Lycett and a change in formation to 4-4-2.
The visitors were much the better side after the break and Mitch Bryant almost put the Purps on level terms early in the half. The big number nine rose well to meet a high ball into the Linnets box, beating the keeper and directing a header which was cleared agonisingly off the line.
It was more of the same moments later when a surging run down the left from Trialist left the home right back in his wake. The winger then delivered a fantastic ball in which James Kirby headed narrowly over.
Michael Ellison introduced Stephen Rigby from the bench, fresh from scoring the winner at Cammell Laird on Tuesday night. The midfielder made an immediate impact, receiving the ball in an advanced right-wing position and curling an inch perfect cross for James Kirby to rise like a salmon and power home a firm header. It was no more than Ellison’s side deserved.
The Purps had their tails up and were seeing plenty of joy with the pacey Trialist and Adam Hughes raiding down the left with ease, and Nathan Burke looking his creative best.
It was Burke who made the most telling contribution, as the midfield maestro carried the ball into the Burscough half before releasing Kirby in behind with a perfectly weighted pass. The forward made no mistake, once again dispatching the perfect finish beyond the home goalkeeper to put the visitors in front.
The impressive Kirby now has four goals in his first week with the club.
The hosts had a chance late on as Warren Sung’s cross was fired wide by Chris Lomax, but the Purps were good value for their win after an impressive second half performance.
FINAL SCORE: Burscough 1-2 City of Liverpool
The draws for the FA Cup, FA Trophy and FA Youth Cup where made earlier today.
City of Liverpool’s pre-season campaign continued on Tuesday night with a trip to NWCFL Division 1 South side Cammell Laird.
Michael Ellison’s side made the short trip to Kirklands fresh from Saturday’s 3-2 win at Euxton Villa, and bolstered by the return of new signing Shaun Kelly, who made his first appearance in Purps colours.
Jack Hinnigan also returned after missing Saturday’s pre-season opener, whilst Ello also handed opportunities to a number of trialists as he looks to shape his squad ahead of the Northern Premier League season.
The Purps started the game well, with quick forward passing and movement on both flanks seeing a number of opportunities to overload out wide. The visitors saw a lot of joy through the Trialist combination down the left in particular.
The Purps were keen to play on the shoulder of the last man, and were unlucky to see Mitch Bryant let down by heavy final passes and debatable offside calls as the fan-favourite forward sought to capitalise on a high Lairds defensive line.
Lairds were committed in the challenge and breaking up play when necessary, with their defence doing everything asked of them in the opening exchanges. Home skipper Colm Lynch was an ever-present figure in midfield protecting the backline, whilst former Purps trialist Regan Rubin was a constant option looking to counter-attack down the right side.
The Purps pressure told eventually however, as the ball broke loose from Jack Hazlehurst’s drive forward and fell to the feet of Stephen Rigby. The midfielder surged past a couple of challenges before arrowing a left footed effort beyond the dive of the goalkeeper and into the back of the net.
Rigby, one of Michael Ellison’s best performers last season, looks in fine form ahead of the new season.
Lairds rallied and looked to counter as the first half drew to a close, but the central defensive combination of Jack Hinnigan and new signing Shaun Kelly proved solid and impenetrable, with Kieran Nolan and Ethan Devine providing good cover in front of them.
HALF TIME: Cammell Laird 0-1 City of Liverpool
Michael Ellison made a number of changes at the interval with Kelly, Nolan, Bryant, and three trialists replaced by Aley, Burke, Kirby, Hughes and two trialists. Louis Corrigan also replaced Ethan Devine early in the second period after the midfielder picked up a knock.
The second half was much of the same with the visitors dominating the ball and looking to add to their lead.
Nathan Burke stung the palms of the home goalkeeper with a fierce 25-yard free kick, whilst Louis Corrigan also brought the best out of the custodian with a left footed effort from a similar range.
Despite dominating the ball and limiting the hosts’ forays forward, the Purps were indebted to goalkeeper Theo Roberts who produced a truly magnificent point-blank range stop to ensure the victory. The former Wigan Athletic and Chester stopper pushed the ball onto the crossbar as a fierce effort from a Lairds player arriving late in the box looked destined to restore parity.
FULL TIME: Cammell Laird 0-1 City of Liverpool.
Next up, the Purps travel to Burscough on Saturday 10th July for a 3pm kick off against the NWCFL Premier Division side.
City of Liverpool began their pre-season campaign with an entertaining 3-2 victory over West Lancashire league side Euxton Villa.
Michael Ellison’s Purps made the short trip to the Jim Fowler Memorial Ground boasting a number of new faces and triallists. Ello gave debuts to centre-back Adam Hughes and forward James Kirby who recently signed from TNS and Leek Town respectively.
It was a familiar face in the opposition dugout for Ellison too, as Euxton Villa are managed by Runcorn Linnets legend Matt Atherton, who played under the Purps gaffer for a number of years.
The Purps started well and the opening exchanges saw James Kirby, Nathan Burke and Jack Hazlehurst finding space in behind, only to be denied by a combination of fine last-ditch challenges and tame finishes.
The hosts took the lead slightly against the run of play when good pressing high up the pitch saw Ethan Devine robbed of possession on the edge of his own box. Forward Josh Briggs made the most of the opportunity, side footing into the unguarded net as Theo Roberts was out of his goal offering Devine a back pass.
Following the opener, Mitch Bryant and James Kirby both had the ball in the back of the net but were called back for contentious offside calls.
The Purps continued to rally and got a deserved equaliser in comical fashion when a deep cross by Zac Aley was shanked into his own net by an Euxton defender.
The hosts were undeterred however, Matt Atherton’s side regained their lead on the stoke of half time as a mis-control at the back from Trialist allowed Trialist to side-foot home from close range.
Mixed emotions for the Trialist family over dinner on Saturday night!
HALF TIME: Euxton Villa 2-1 City of Liverpool
At the interval Michael Ellison made a number of changes with Mitch Bryant, Trialist and Ethan Devine being replaced by Trialist, Trialist and Kieran Nolan.
The Purps equalised early in the second period, when a shot from Trialist hit Adam Hughes and deflected into the path of James Kirby who was in an offside position but slotted home from close range. To the amazement of everyone, the linesman did not flag and the goal stood, much to the justified consternation of the home bench.
The Purps continued to press for the lead and grabbed the goal of the day courtesy of the impressive Kirby. This time there was no debate about the validity of the goal, as the forward expertly brought down a fine lofted pass from Trialist with a gorgeous touch, before side footing beyond the advancing Villa keeper with a fine finish. It was an excellent goal to cap off an energetic display from Michael Ellison’s new signing.
FULL TIME: Euxton Villa 2-3 City of Liverpool
City of Liverpool: Theo Roberts, Louis Corrigan, Adam Hughes, Trialist, Trialist, Ethan Devine, Nathan Burke, Zac Aley, Mitch Bryant, Jack Hazlehurst, James Kirby. Subs: Kieran Nolan, Stephen Rigby, Trialist, Trialist, Trialist.
Before we get into the preview just a reminder that the membership renewal window is open with membership available from as little as £5 per month. Not only does being a member of our community club help us be competitive on the pitch but helps toward the fantastic work that volunteers and members do all year round in their communities across the city.
That is how long it has been since the Purps last played a game of football, a home fixture on Boxing Day 2020 against local rivals Marine. Whatever measurement of time you prefer to use to describe the lack of Purps in your life, I think we can all agree that Saturday can’t come soon enough.
With the raise in Covid infections over Christmas 2020, another national lockdown being implemented in January and no real end in sight this led to the season for 2020/2021 being curtailed. The second successive season to do so during this pandemic.
It has also left manager Michael Ellison in the curious position of being able to count on both hands the number of City of Liverpool games he has actually been able to manage! And still have a little pinky spare. Despite being the gaffer for 9 months he has only been able to actually manage 9 games, including a very impressive FA Trophy run beating higher ranked opposition in both Atherton Colls and Buxton away from home before an away loss at National League North side Darlington. But during that time he has not been idle and is working hard building our squad for the upcoming season with some players returning and plenty of new quality signings (which has certainly kept the media team busy, just as we like!).
Please be aware that there may be some Covid restrictions in place at the various grounds we are visiting so we ask that all Purps be respectful of that and to adhere to such guidelines to help make it easy as possible for the clubs hosting us. The club would also like to thank all fans for adhering to such guidelines last season and helping to ensure we could continue to host games in as safe an environment as possible.
Currently there are 6 pre-season games arranged as the much anticipated Isle of Man trip has beeen cancelled due to the extension of travel rstrictions. Every effort was made by the club and FC Isle of Man working with the Manx government to see if allowances could be made however it was not to be.
EUXTON VILLA (A)
Saturday 3rd July- 2pm KO
*PLEASE NOTE THE KO TIME IS NOW 2PM NOT 3PM AS PREVIOUSLY ADVERTISED*
We travel an hour up the motorway for our first ever visit to the Jim Fowler Memorial Ground (PR7 6HQ). Euxton Villa play in the West Lancashire League and currently have 40 teams playing at all age groups across boys and girls football. This phenomenal set up has produced ex-pros such as Andy Lonergan and David Unsworth and currently they have a former youth player as part of England’s Euro 2020 team in goalkeeper Sam Johnstone. Entry is £2, refreshments readily available and the weather is predicted to be 22°C so bring your Purple bucket hats!
CAMMELL LAIRD (A)
Tuesday 6th July-7.30pm KO
We travel to Kirklands (CH42 1PY) for a pre-season friendly against North West Counties First Division South side Cammell Laird. Although we haven’t faced them in a competitive fixture it is the second successive season we will face Lairds in pre-season and if last year is any indication of what to expect it will be another good test for the players against a tough side.
Saturday 10th July- 3pm KO
We travel to New Victoria Park (L40 0SW) to face North West Counties Premier Division side Burscough. We have played Burscough 5 times in competitive fixtures during our time in the NWCFL winning all 5 with the last meeting a 1-0 win thanks to a Karl Clair solo goal, which he picked the ball up on the half way line, beat a couple of defenders before placing past the keeper. Burscough is also the team of former Purps title lifting skipper Luke Denson. I’m sure all Purps will be looking forward to seeing Denno again.
VAUXHALL MOTORS (A)
Saturday 17th July- 3pm KO
Our hosts are newly promoted North West Counties Premier Division side and groundshare partners Vauxhall Motors. Although technically we are the “away” side for this fixture it will be the first time Purps fans can get a good look at our new home, Rivacre Park (CH66 1NJ), since our move from Vesty Road at the end of the null and void season. I’m sure all Purps fans will be eager to get down and see our new digs.
WARRINGTON TOWN (H)
Tuesday 20th July- 7.45pm KO
We host Northern Premier League side Warrington Town in our first Home fixture at Rivacre Park. We have faced Warrington before both in friendlies and in competitive fixtures including that Jack Hazlehurst brace in the 2-2 draw in the FA Cup. It’s always a great occasion whenever we face Warrington and will be another good test for Ello’s Purps. We hope to see as many Purps as possible attend for what I’m sure will be an entertaining encounter.
NORTHWICH VICTORIA (A)
Tuesday 27th July- 7.45pm KO
We travel to Wincham Park (CW9 6DA) to face North West Counties Premier Division side Northwich Victoria. Purps fans will be well versed with Vics from our time in the NWCFL having played them 5 times competitively and being really tough encounters with both sides playing open, attacking football. Managed by Steve Wilkes they also have a special place in Purps history as they held Bootle to a draw on Irlam Day when we clinched the League Title. They also have former Purps Treble winner and all round nice guy Joe Camozzi playing for them.
As always we shall keep you updated through the clubs social media platforms should there be any changes to fixtures and we look forward to seeing all Purps back at the match
City of Liverpool FC are delighted to announce the signing of Adam Hughes from Cymru Premier side The New Saints.
The 24-year-old defender came through the youth ranks at Tranmere Rovers, spending 10 years with the Prenton Park outfit up to the age of 16.
He then had spells at Cammell Laird, Marine, Warrington Town and also represented Vauxhall Motors who were at the time in the National League North.
In the summer of 2019 Hughes spent a period on trial with TNS, suitably impressing enough in a number of pre-season fixtures to earn a contract with the full-time club.
Adam picked up the August 2019 goal of the month award for TNS, for a fine right footed strike against Aberystwyth Town who he later went on to join on loan.
Hughes spent last season back at Marine on loan and featured in the Boxing Day fixture against Michael Ellison’s Purps.
Ellison is pleased to welcome Adam to the club, explaining, “Adam is a left sided defender, who brings with him NPL experience despite him only being 24.”
“He’s a big lad, he’s good in the air and really comfortable on the ball.”
“Again, it was an easy conversation on agreeing terms. I know he had a number of other options, so I’m glad he’s chose The Purps!”
City of Liverpool are pleased to confirm that defender Jack Hinnigan will be returning for the 2021-22 season.
The former Warrington Town centre-back originally signed from Runcorn Linnets in October 2020, having worked with manager Michael Ellison at his previous club.
Hinnigan made 5 appearances before the season ended prematurely, scoring a well taken header in the Boxing Day fixture against Marine.
Michael Ellison said, “Jack is a player I know really well. He’s a no-nonsense defender who’s decent on the ball and knows what we expect from him.”
“Again, it was an easy conversation to get him to commit and I’m delighted to have him on board”
Purps magician Jack Hazlehurst has won the Buildbase FA Trophy goal of the season award for his magnificent late winner against Buxton on 8th December 2020.
Jack scored a brace as City of Liverpool shocked the NPL Premier Division team in their own back yard, with Michael Ellison’s side claiming a deserved 2-1 win.
Hazlehurst opened the scoring with a close-range finish after good work from Mitch Bryant, before the hosts equalised late on courtesy of former Italy youth international Diego De Girolamo.
But, as they often are, the headlines were left for Hazlehurst to write as he despatched an 88th minute half volley from 25 yards beyond the Buxton goalkeeper to the delight of his team-mates.
The vote was overwhelmingly won by Hazlehurst, who was selected by supporters choosing from Buildbase’s finalists on Twitter.
Jack has recently committed his future to the Purps ahead of the 2021-22 season.