City of Liverpool returned to winning ways on Saturday courtesy of a second half brace from in-form forward Elliott Morris.
Manager Paul McNally was without the services of winger Xenon Bahula through injury, whilst Ismail Sonko served the first of a three match ban incurred by hIs sending off against Prescot Cables.
Macca was boosted by a welcome return from Michael Simpson at right back, whilst Kenny Strickland continued at centre back.
The Purps started brightly and could have been three goals to-the-good early on.
Firstly Elliott Morris received the ball from a woefully short 1874 backpass, but uncharacteristically blazed over the bar as the ball spat up on a boggy and uneven pitch.
Next up, Danny Mitchley burst in behind the 1874 defence, but was denied by a fine block from on-rushing goalkeeper Matthew Wonnacott who had a great starting position to smother the City of Liverpool skipper’s effort.
A quick counter-attack saw the Purps again dissect the home side and but as the ball was worked to the right for the marauding Morris to have a clear strike at an exposed goal, the ball again bounced up and beyond his touch and the chance was gone!
After the early pressure, 1874 Northwich grew in confidence and asserted more composure on the ball.
They looked threatening from set pieces courtesy of the excellent delivery of midfielder Chris McCann, whilst former Purps Tinashe Chakwana’s tireless running and holdup play offered a focal point up top.
A counter-attack of their own saw ’74’s sole effort on goal for the half, as Isaac Noble played a dangerous ball across goal which just needed a tap-in from close range.
Thankfully for Paul McNally’s side, a last-gasp intervention from Jack Hont hooked the ball clear near the goal-line and prevented a certain opener.
HALF TIME: 1874 NORTHWICH 0-0 CITY OF LIVERPOOL
The Purps came out with more attacking purpose after the half time interval and immediately re-asserted their dominance in midfield, courtesy of the combative Simon Wills and progressive Max Allen.
A driving run from Morris caused confusion in the home defence and almost presented an opening as Wonnacott came rushing out and was left exposed out of his goal.
Before Morris could take advantage he was crowded out by back-tracking defenders and player-manager Mark Jones cleared his lines, to the relief of the home supporters.
The Purps continued to press for the opener and it almost came on 55 minutes when right-back Michael Simpson bombed forward, beating his man before curling a lovely ball in which caused confusion in the home backline.
The devilish cross took an unconvincing touch as a defender attempted to thrash a clearance away, but only saw the ball flash across the face of goal and inches past Wonnacott’s post for a corner.
It felt like wave after wave of City of Liverpool attacks but at times they were left frustrated by a determined and resolute home side, whose performance was typified by the commitment of player-managers Mark Jones and Matt Woolley.
The home side defended set pieces well and were organised out of possession, giving Paul McNally’s side plenty to think about as they looked to unlock a committed rearguard.
Macca looked to his bench for reinforcements and handed a debut to Kyle Schorah, brother of departed hero Callum, who joined from AFC Liverpool recently.
Schorah replaced Jawad Jebrin and instantly made an impression on the game as he drifted into pockets of space off the left and carried the ball at Michael Ibeto and Isaac Noble, who looked to protect their right flank.
Schorah had a real hand in the Purps finally breaking 1874’s resolve, holding the ball up down the left before finding Quarless, whose delightful flick released Max Allen to the byline.
Maxi’s ball across the face of goal was pushed out by Wonnacott only for Elliot Morris to take full advantage by slamming home from close range to the delight of his team mates.
The Purps made it two in quick succession and Allen was again the architect, sending Isaac Noble for the Northwich Guardian as he flicked the ball through his legs and cut the ball back.
Morris was again the recipient of Allen’s creativity and took a gorgeous touch out of his feet before hammering an unstoppable effort into the roof of the net.
It was no more than City of Liverpool deserved.
City of Liverpool went up a gear and grew in confidence with the victory looking assured courtesy of Morris’ goals.
Kyle Schorah almost capped an excellent debut off the bench as he cut in from the left but was denied by a good save from Wonnacott, who gathered the ball at the second attempt.
FULL TIME: 1874 NORTHWICH 0-2 CITY OF LIVERPOOL
CITY OF LIVERPOOL: Calvin Hare, Michael Simpson, Jack Hont, Kenny Strickland, Michael Grogan, Simon Wills, Elliott Morris, Max Allen (Adam Rooney 88′), Danny Mitchley, Josh Quarless (Luke Byron 83′), Jawad Jebrin (Kyle Schorah 62′).
Subs not used: Jack Morton, Thomas McNally.
MAN OF THE MATCH:
Notable mentions go to the excellent Kenny Strickland and Simon Wills who relished the battle and provided the foundations for those in front of them, as well as the creativity of Max Allen, who was the architect of both goals.
However, Saturdays MOTM goes to our match winner Elliott Morris, who was a constant thorn in the side of 1874’s defence and bagged an all-important brace to ensure the Purps grabbed a deserved three points.
Paul McNally was pleased to see his side come away with three points from a scrappy game and praised the dogged determination of Simon Wills in the midfield engine room.
Macca also praised the contributions of Kyle Schorah off the bench as the forward made his Purps debut with a bright and lively cameo.
(Apologies for the wind noise on the video – the conditions were frankly awful for doing any media on Saturday).
City of Liverpool are back in action TONIGHT in the Liverpool Senior Cup.
Supporters should note as per club communications that THE FIXTURE HAS BEEN REVERSED and will be played at Runcorn Linnets APEC TAXIS STADIUM.
Kick off tonight will be 7:45pm.