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MATCH REPORT: PURPS 0-0 TRAFFORD

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City of Liverpool and Trafford each took a deserved share of the points after an even 90 minutes of NPL West division action at the VanEupen Arena.

Following a disappointing run of results compounded by somewhat of an injury crisis, Michael Ellison was boosted by the return of influential midfielder Jay Edgar, whilst new signing James Murphy was awarded his first start, following a lively cameo off the bench during Tuesday night’s defeat to 1874 Northwich.

Ello also handed a start to new goalkeeper Danny Taberner, signed from Atherton Collieries on the eve of the match.

The former Rochdale and Salford City custodian would add experience and a commanding presence to a back line which has changed on a regular basis this season, such has been the size of the injury issues the Purps have faced.

The first half chance of the match saw Jay Edgar linking well with Elliot Johnston before dancing past a couple of challenges into the box, however just as the ball sat up invitingly for Edgar to pull the trigger, Trafford got a vital toe on the ball to clear.

Edgar went close again moments latter with a long range left footed effort which whistled past the post.

  

At the other end, Matty Morgan escaped the clutches of Zac Aley before firing a devilish ball in from the right which somehow evaded everyone in the box and away to safety.

Trafford’s first clear sight of came following a flowing move involving Matty Morgan, Max Hazeldine and Connor Hughes.

The latter raced clear down the left and was denied by a brilliant low save from Taberner.

A spate of corner kicks were well marshalled by a combination of Taberner, Hinnigan and Hughes, a fledgling rear-guard which looked commanding and composed at vital moments.

The Purps continued to offer a threat to Trafford in attacking areas, and were unfortunate not to threaten the score line following a passage of play which saw Nathan Burke bundle his way through in the box only to be denied by a smart block from visiting keeper Cooper.

The ball was cleared for a corner which then saw Jay Edgar head narrowly over from a fine delivery by Ryan Gibson.

Moments later, Edgar headed narrowly wide with a firm effort following an inventive dinked ball in from the lively James Murphy.

The pressure continued and Anton Smith was the next to create an opportunity after a marauding run down the right, before hanging an inviting cross in for Gibson to head over at the back post.

HALF TIME: City of Liverpool 0-0 Trafford

The second period began with both sides having spells of possession as they looked to create an impact on the score line.

City of Liverpool were indebted to the commanding presence of Taberner, who raced out to make a brilliant save to deny Connor Hughes, who was clean through once again.

Taberner stayed big for as long as possible before making a fine low save at the opportune moment as Hughes pulled the trigger.

Trafford should have opened the scoring moments later, as Hazeldine raced clear before firing wastefully over the bar.

The Purps rallied and looked to create chances of their own, which saw talismanic skipper Nathan Burke pick of James Murphy at the back post with a delightful cross, but Murphy was always stretching and headed a difficult chance wide.

For much of the match Murphy had been a real thorn in Trafford’s side with his neat footwork and devastating pace.

The Purps new signing had his moment of the match when he ran from his own half at the Trafford defence, leaving several players in his wake before being scythed down right on the very edge of the area.

The referee correctly awarded a free kick which saw Murphy hit the wall, but the ball was recycled and saw the winger loft a delightful ball to the back post for George Hassall to hammer a vicious left footed effort which Cooper clawed out.

The ball then sat up invitingly for Johnston, who looked for all the world as if he had an empty net to tap into, but Trafford somehow got a block in and cleared.

The Purps continued to defend resolutely with Taberner coming through a crowd to dispose of a couple of corners, whilst Adam Hughes read the play expertly to make a vital block as Trafford had moments of their own.

City of Liverpool had luck on their side when it mattered, as substitute Curtis Miller’s wonderful long range effort cannoned back off the inside of the post and into the grateful arms of Taberner.

The Purps keeper had to be alive to the loose ball hurtling towards him, which could easily have rebounded back into the net, but Taberner smothered the ball on the deck.

An end-to-end affair then saw the Purps momentarily look like stealing the points, as Murphy’s close range effort almost snuck under Cooper, only for the Trafford keeper to save with the bottom of his foot.

A fine block from Higgins then diverted Ryan Gibson’s header over the bar, leaving the Purps to wonder how they had not opened the scoring.

Taberner saved his best moment of the match for the closing moments, saving with his fingertips at full stretch to prevent a long range strike from sneaking in the bottom corner.

The referee pointed for a goal kick but it was an absolutely vital touch from the goalkeeper.

The Purps final chance fo the match saw a counter attack almost end in devastating fashion, as Ethan Devine won back possession deep in his own half before running at Trafford and feeding Djavan Pedro down the right hand channel.

The on-loan Salford City starlet picked out Freddie Potter with a lovely cut-back but the Purps forward hammered a first time effort over the bar from the edge of the area.

The match ended with the commanding Danny Taberner coming through a crowd right at the death to dominate a deep corner, before smothering the ball into his body on the deck.

It was a symbol of Taberner’s assured display on his City of Liverpool debut.

FULL TIME: City of Liverpool 0-0 Trafford

Man of the Match: Danny Taberner takes the accolade following an assured and commanding display on his Purps debut. The new signing was a calming presence throughout and produced a string of fine saves, as well as vital contributions in the air to prevent Trafford having any opportunities from set pieces.

City of Liverpool: Danny Taberner, Zac Aley (Ethan Devine 50’), Anton Smith, Adam Hughes,  Jack Hinnigan, Elliot Johnston. (Djavan Pedro 64’), Nathan Burke, Jay Edgar, George Hassall (Freddie Potter 84’), James Murphy, Ryan Gibson.

Subs not used: James Salkeld, Xenon Bahula.

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