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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