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City of Liverpool and Runcorn Linnets played out an entertaining six goal thriller at the APEX Taxis Stadium on Tuesday night, which ended in a 3-3 draw with both sides good value for their point apiece.
Michael Ellison’s side went into the fixture fresh from a penalty shoot out victory over Stockton Town in the FA Trophy on Saturday.
The Purps manager though, had to face somewhat of an injury crisis going into the match, with various key players still out and several playing through injuries in recent weeks.
Ellison was boosted by the arrival of highly-rated forward Djavan Pedro on loan from Salford City, who would take his place straight in the starting XI.
After an end to end opening saw Linnets have a couple of close range-half chances, the match was brought to life when the hosts were awarded a penalty after Kai Shorrock was adjudged to have handled in the area.
Purps skipper Nathan Burke complained to the referee that Shorrock was pushed in the back, prompting the handball, but the referee was unmoved and the hosts would have a golden opportunity to open the scoring.
Jacques Walsh stepped up to fire the spot-kick home with aplomb down the middle, and Linnets had the lead after 32 minutes.
The hosts made it a quick-fire double to extend their advantage six minutes later, when Iwan Murray’s dangerous free kick from the right was met by a bullet header from Ryan Brooke, straight into the top corner of Theo Roberts’ goal.
Michael Ellison’s Purps rallied and reduced the arrears less than a minute later following a flowing team move.
An eight-pass move from the restart dissected Linnets and culminated in a fine ball from Zac Aley releasing Jay Edgar down the left.
The former Prescot Cables star played an inch-perfect ball into the feet of Djavan Pedro who expertly held off the Linnets defender before laying off for Freddie Potter to side-foot home a delightful first-time finish across keeper Joe Young.
That’s 6 goals in Potter’s last 7 games for the Purps and a crucial strike to halve the deficit going into half time.
HALF TIME: Runcorn Linnets 1-2 City of Liverpool
The Purps came out for the second half with the bit between their teeth following the interval and immediately looked a different side, with Linnets struggling initially to get much time on the ball.
Within eight minutes of the restart a sustained period of purple pressure told and parity was restored.
A whipped cross from deep by the dangerous left peg of Zac Aley was flicked across the box by a Linnets defender under pressure from Djavan Pedro.
The loose ball was met by a fine first-time strike from former Linnets winger Ryan Gibson, who fired across Young low into the back of the net for his first Purps goal.
The visitors weren’t finished there however and moments later completed a two-minute salvo which saw Michael Ellison’s side take the lead.
Again, it was a dangerous ball in from out wide which caused the damage to Linnets, as a brilliant cross from Kai Shorrock was deftly flicked goalwards by debutant Djavan Pedro, beyond the despairing dive of Young.
The delighted Pedro wheeled away into a celebratory knee-slide in front of the travelling Purps.
A keenly-contested and even encounter turned once again when Linnets were awarded a free kick in a dangerous position, following a foul on the edge of the area.
Iwan Murray stepped up to curl a frankly majestic free kick right into the top corner of the net and restore parity for the home side.
The final stages of the match saw either sides pushing for a winner in a prolonged period of injury time, but in truth both City of Liverpool and Linnets were good value for their point after a brilliant game.
FINAL SCORE: Runcorn Linnets 3-3 City of Liverpool
Man of the Match: Jay Edgar. The in-form midfielder is proving to be a stellar signing for the Purps and this was the latest in a string of impressive displays from Jay, who had a hand in Potter’s goal and was a constant driving force throughout the match. A special mention goes to Djavan Pedro who was outstanding on his debut, grabbing a goal and an assist
City of Liverpool: Theo Roberts, Zac Aley, Kai Shorrock (Ethan Devine 77’), Ryan Schofield, Adam Hughes, Ryan Gibson, Nathan Burke (c), Jay Edgar, Freddie Potter (Xenon Bahula 72’), Jack Hazlehurst, Djavan Pedro.
Subs not used: Louis Corrigan, Jay Salkeld, Jack Hinnigan.