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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.